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What is Maltodextrin?

Maltodextrin is a highly processed powder carbohydrate made from mostly GMO corn but also rice, potato, and wheat, and is another form of sugar. it is used as a cheap thickener and filler.

The starch is cooked down and then combined with acid to make a powder with a neutral taste. It’s used as a cheap filler to thicken foods and drinks. It is also used to enhance flavor and texture in food as well as increase shelf life. You can also find it in some lotions and hair products.

How Is It Harmful?

Our gut microbiome is often referred to as our second brain. It is incredibly important not only to our digestion but to our immune system and overall health and wellbeing. Maltodextrin can change your gut bacteria composition in a way that makes you more susceptible to disease by decreasing the amount of good bacteria and increasing the amount of harmful bacteria. Maltodextrin also spikes blood sugar more than table sugar. This causes the extra sugar in your blood to be stored as fat. When you consistently eat maltodextrin, your body will secrete more and more insulin, which messes with our hormones and causes a whole host of problems in the body.

Potential Health Impacts and Studies

Maltodextrin is deemed safe by the FDA, however, researchers have found that it alters gut bacteria and can suppress the growth of probiotics. Additionally, it is linked to gas, diarrhea, and cramping.This study links maltodextrin to the development of colitis. A study published in 2019 showed that maltodextrin leads to the promotion of intestinal inflammation and can be a risk factor for chronic inflammatory disease. Maltodextrin is high on the glycemic index (higher than sugar) and can raise blood sugar levels significantly, which overtime can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.


Products with Maltodextrin & Substitutes

Big Food and diet companies love maltodextrin because they can use it in food products while claiming the product has “low” or “no sugar.” You can find maltodextrin in baked goods, cereals, and pasta dishes. You can also find it used as a thickener in puddings, gelatins, sauces, and salad dressings. Many products that are advertised as having “low” or “no sugar” contain maltodextrin. You can even find maltodextrin (and other scary ingredients) in PediaSure SideKicks for kids! Watch out for maltodextrin on food labels and avoid giving it to your kids.