Maltodextrin: Essential Things You Need to Know

Maltodextrin can usually be found on a nutrition label. But the thing is that most people don’t even know what maltodextrin is. To make things clearer, Maltodextrin is a substance – powder – which is made from grains, corn, potato, and wheat.

It’s commonly added to food. It’s some sort of carbohydrate, which is made artificially and it’s often used to being the ingredients together and to thicken the food.

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Maltodextrin has 4 calories per gram, but other than that it does not have any nutritional value.

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Post-workout supplement; image source: pexels.com

What’s the role of maltodextrin?

Maltodextrin is a food additive that’s cheaper than most things on the market, and it increases the life of the products that get to sit on a shelf. It adds volume to processed foods, and it represents a replacement for sugar. On the list of products that include this ingredient there is beer, salad dressings, sauces and dairy products. Also, let’s not forget about foods with no sugar.

It’s also good to know that there’s more than one type of maltodextrin – some can be digested, some can’t. Those resistant produce the exact same effect as soluble fiber and are not digestible. The other ones just give you energy, just like carbohydrates do. This is one of the reasons why you’ll see maltodextrin in drinks made for athletes, to help them after a hard workout and to help muscles to recover.

Is maltodextrin safe for us?

FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) listed this product as a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) food additive. But this doesn’t mean that you have to get negligent. In big doses, you can get health issues.

We’re talking to all the athletes out there, who love to drink their sports drinks way too much. They won’t digest them at some point, so it’s best to avoid drinking things with maltodextrins. Our advice is to find something else as an alternative.

You can have the whole same effect thing by drinking water mixed with juice and then eating a piece of cheese or a bagel. The only difference is that the liquid is easier to transport and gets absorbed by the muscle in no time. We’re not saying you should give it up forever; we’re just saying you need to be careful about the amount you consume.

You’d also want to vary the sources from which you get maltodextrin – try to get them from foods, too.

What are the dangers of maltodextrin?

If you consume way too much maltodextrin, then you might experience some side effects. You can get high blood sugar – so people with diabetes or reactive hypoglycemia should be really careful with this one.

The glycemic index of maltodextrin is 106-136, so the glucose will be released faster and this means that your blood sugar will get high in no time. It’s also good to mention that it’s full of calories, which can make you gain unnecessary weight – another reason to be careful about consuming excessive amounts.

If we’re to talk about the type of maltodextrins that can be digested, there may be some changes to the gut bacteria. If you’re suffering from celiac disease, it can still be a problem, even if the proteins get removed as they’re processed. If you’re allergic, you can get an inflammatory response. People with IBS should also be careful – it can get you gas and bloat.

What can you do to limit the effects of maltodextrin?

There is something that you can do to get the effects of maltodextrin to a minimum, and that is by combining it with fiber or protein – this will help in slowing down the digestion.

It’s advisable that people avoid processed foods full of additives, as they can have a huge impact on the body. They can cause real problems to those people who have IBS and those people whose body finds it difficult to digest some sugars from plants.

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The best idea is to find alternatives for maltodextrin, for example, honey or stevia.

About author:
This article was contributed to healthiack.com by a guest author.

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