Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide (a carbohydrate) that is used as a food additive. It is produced from starch (usually corn in the United States, and wheat in Europe, and sometimes rice, potatoes and tapioca). It’s easily digestible, and may be moderately sweet or flavorless. It’s commonly used in the production of soft drinks and candy, and can be found in a variety of other processed foods. Maltodextrin is derived from plants, but it is highly processed.
Maltodextrin is also used in some snacks such as jerky and potato chips. It’s also used in “light” peanut butter to reduce fat content and keep its smooth texture. The additive is used as an inexpensive ingredient to thicken food products like infant formula and as a filler in sugar substitutes and other products.
Some other foods that often contain Maltodextrin:
- Canned fruits
- Instant puddings and gelatins
- Salad dressings
- Powdered Drinks
- Frozen entrees
It’s also found in personal care products like lotions and hair care products.
It’s also guaranteed to trigger an allergic reaction in those allergic to MSG.
Make no mistake that even though Maltodextrin is FDA approved, it isn’t good for you. But because it is created from natural sources, food companies will add it to a product, and still claim that it is all natural. Several studies have linked Maltodextrin to the suppression of “good bacteria” in the digestive tract. This may put people who consume a lot of the additive at risk for bacterial infections like salmonella and E.coli. Maltodextrin may also affect blood sugar (as a carbohydrate). Studies have also shown the consumption of Maltodextrin to cause unexplained weight gain, bloating, rash, asthma, itching and difficulty breathing — many of the symptoms associated with MSG allergy.
Athletes increasingly use Maltodextrin. One, because its in sports drinks and secondly, as a powdered supplement to help maintain anaerobic power during exercise.
Recently, food companies have developed an additive known as “Resistant Maltodextrin,” which is fermented by good bacteria in your large intestine and produces energy. While I could find studies that say that Resistant Maltodextrin is good for the body, I could find no study that did not link it to MSG allergy.
Use of Maltodextrin has increased in dairy products and in frozen foods, so it’s important to remain vigilant when it comes to checking your food labels.
Knowledge is power.
NEXT: You won’t believe what’s in your favorite Summer ice creams.