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What is Maltodextrin and is it bad for you?

Maltodextrin is a common ingredient found in many of your packaged food. It is artificially produced and can be found in a number of different foods such as yogurt and salad dressings. Maltodextrin is extremely bad for your metabolism as it lacks nutritional value and it can also spike your blood sugar. 

So it is important to take it's harmful effects into consideration before you stuff your face with that bag of chips. The good news is that there are healthier alternatives available that you can replace maltodextrin with. Best part? They might already be sitting on your kitchen shelf.

What is maltodextrin?

Maltodextrin helps fill, thicken, and preserve processed food. It is a white powder artificially produced that can be extracted from any starch. Corn, rice, potato starch and wheat are some of the things maltodextrin can be made from. Only because it comes from natural foods does not mean it is healthy. It is actually highly processed.

It can be found in a variety of food, starting from baked goods, to yogurt, to nutrition bars, as well as in sugar free sweeteners. As it helps absorb and thicken fat, a number of body builders might opt for foods that are high in maltodextrin after workouts. A number of athletes subscribe to it in their diet too.

5 dangers of maltodextrin

Spikes blood sugar


Maltodextrin has a high glycemic index, which can cause your blood sugar to spike and be highly dangerous for people with diabetes or insulin resistance. While the glycemic index of table sugar is 65, maltodextrin takes it up to 106 to 136. Maltodextrin gets absorbed into your bloodstream pretty quickly, but if the carbohydrates aren't burnt out, they instead get converted to fats and are stored around your body. Carbohydrates introduced into your body through whole grains are absorbed slowly and proceed to keep your energy levels up for a long period of time. Maltodextrin on the other hand fails to do so.


Lowers the growth of probiotics


Gut bacteria are important in the growth of beneficial probiotics. Maltodextrin hampers this growth. It is also known to cause intestinal disorders by aiding the bacteria that are known to hurt your intestine. It is also observed that the increase in Crohn’s disease in america during the late 20th century can be attributed to the increase in the consumption of polysaccharides in their food. Maltodextrin also helps the survival of salmonella leading to a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases. It also increased E. coli adhesions and bacterial adhesions to intestinal cells. Maltodextrin can aksi cause inflammatory bowel disease and various other conditions. 

Made from genetically modified corn


Testing for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is usually not enforced by the Food and Drug Administration. However research conducted has identified a number of health issues including cancer, alzheimers, kidney damage, reproduction difficulties and allergies that can be caused due to this. It could also affect a number of organs and systems, which includes renal, and reproductive organs. Maltodextrin is produced from enzymes in the corn that is processed, the united states department of agriculture found that 85% of the corn is immune to herbicides in the U.S. So it is quite possible that the maltodextrin that we ingest is a genetically modified food.


Allergic reaction or side effect


A higher dosage consumption of maltodextrin can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas and diarrhea. Cramping, bloating and skin irritations are some of the other allergic reactions that have been widely reported after eating maltodextrin foods. Maltodextrin is produced with wheat but it involves removing gluten from it completely which makes it safe to be ingested by people with celtic disease or gluten intolerance. The proteins are done away with when maltodextrin is processed, but here is a possibility that some amount of gluten still remains in the products containing maltodextrin. This can therefore be highly dangerous, if not downright lethal for the people that have celtic disease or are intolerant to gluten. While maltodextrin is usually mentioned with the ingredients, it is not mentioned if the source of it is wheat. So even though it is usually gluten free, ones who are allergic to gluten should strictly keep away from it.


No nutritional value


15 calories and 3.8 grams of carbohydrates are included in a teaspoon of maltodextrin. That's the entire nutritional value of maltodextrin. It is processed to such a high extent that it sucks all the nutritious value right out of it. It sure does spike blood sugar and also helps the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut, the benefits of including maltodextrin to your health are less than zero. It is therefore advisable that you avoid maltodextrin entirely. It can instead be replaced with a number of natural foods that actually have nutritional value which can benefit your body and your health. 

5 better substitutes for maltodextrin

Your consumption of maltodextrin is surely high if you opt for packaged foods or ones that are processed. Natural foods are recommended as they help your health immensely. It also helps to lose and maintain weight, as wella s deal with your blood sugar issues. 

Here are some of the natural alternatives you can opt for instead of maltodextrin- Stevia, Pectin, Honey, Guar Gum, and Dates. All of these alternatives have immense benefits for your health without the downfalls that come with maltodextrin. Plus being natural further adds to their benefits as they are not vigorously processed.

Maltodextrin is a potentially harmful ingredient that is found in most of the processed or packaged foods. It causes a spike in blood sugar and hampers the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut. You should opt for a variety for natural foods that do not have maltodextrin.