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What Is Maltodextrin, Know its Dangers & Side Effects

Maltodextrin is actually a common ingredient found in a lot of packaged foods, such as the candies, pastries, as well as cold/soft drinks. Athletes may even make use of maltodextrin as a supplement of carbohydrate. However, many believe that this substance is harmful to human health. So, let us read on to know more about maltodextrin and also know about some of the dangers and side effects caused by it.

What Is Maltodextrin?

What Is Maltodextrin?

Maltodextrin is a starchy and white colored powder that is used to add into several foods so as to improve their thickness, flavor or their shelf life. It is a polysaccharide that is produced from starch by the process of partial hydrolysis and it is generally found as a white starchy powder. Maltodextrin can be digested easily and might be almost flavorless or be moderately sweet.

As we mentioned above, maltodextrin is most commonly used in production of candies and soft drinks. However, it can also be present as an ingredient in several other processed foods.(1)

Baked goods, salad dressings, meat substitutes, cooked rice and cereals, pasta, frozen meals, soups, sweets, sugars, energy drinks and sports drinks contain maltodextrin.

Maltodextrin can also be made from any type of starchy food, such as wheat, potato, corn, rice or tapioca. Maltodextrin contain no nutritional value. However, it is easy to digest and offers energy rapidly.

Dangers and Side Effects Of Maltodextrin:

As per the United States FDA or Food and Drug Administration, Maltodextrin is a GRAS or a Generally Recognized As Safe, food addictive. However, there is an increased risk of weight gain, diabetes, high cholesterol, allergic reactions, and few other dangers and side effects of maltodextrin when foods containing it are consumed in excess amount. Let us take a look about some of the dangers and side effects of maltodextrin.

Maltodextrin Is Dangerous For Patients With Diabetes:

Maltodextrin are known to have higher glycemic index than the table sugar. Thus, it can lead to a sharp increase in the blood sugar level of people right after they consume foods containing it. This increase in blood glucose can be serious dangerous for patients suffering from diabetes.

It Causes Allergies And Intolerance:

One more danger or side effect of maltodextrin is that it is known to result in allergies and intolerance. There are a lot of food additives which can result in allergies or intolerance. Some of the side effects of food additives might include allergic reactions, gas, weight gain, bloating, and flatulence.

Maltodextrin might also cause skin rash or skin irritation, cramping, asthma, or troubled breathing.

Corn, potato and rice are the primary sources of maltodextrin; though wheat may also be used sometimes. Those having celiac disease or who have gluten intolerance must be aware that though the process of production removes most of the protein components; those maltodextrin that has been derived from wheat might still have some content of gluten.

NOTE: In case you notice or experience any symptoms of allergy or intolerance after eating foods with maltodextrin, you need to immediately contact your doctor.

Maltodextrin Affects Gut Bacteria:

Another danger or side effect of maltodextrin is that it affects the gut bacteria. These gut bacteria are known to play crucial role in our health. There are evidence that maltodextrin might affect the balance of our gut bacteria. Though initial research on mice has suggested that those who consume maltodextrin might have a lower number of good bacteria and this can increase the number of harmful bacteria. This in turn can result in damage of intestine and also a higher risk of bowel diseases.

There is a study that showed that maltodextrin increased the activity of E.coli bacteria, which plays a fair role in the development of Crohn’s disease or an inflammatory bowel disease.(2)

One more study has suggested that maltodextrin is known to be linked with the survival of Salmonella, which might result in gastroenteritis and also a number of chronic inflammatory conditions.

There is also a new study that suggests that maltodextrin might also compromise the cell’s ability to respond to bacteria. This can also suppress the defense mechanism of the intestine against them and can cause several intestinal disorders.

Take Away:

Like sugar and several other simple carbohydrates, maltodextrin can also be included in your diet; however, it should never be the main course of your healthy diet, especially if you are diabetic or if you are trying to control weight.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 17, 2019

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