You may have found a maltodextrin ingredient when reading food labels. It consists of an incredibly common additive, and science has found that about 60% of all packaged foods contain it to create volume, improve texture and extend the shelf life of food.
Maltrodestrin is an artificial carbohydrate made from starch, and in the United States, most are made from corn or potato starch, although some countries use rice or wheat starch. However, this is often a matter of debate since 90% of corn in the United States is genetically modified.
Although maltodextrin is considered safe, it is very controversial. Find out what the research says about the health effects of maltodextrin and its safety.
1.What products contain maltodextrin?
- Some products that include maltodextrin are:
- Instant desserts
- Low-fat yogurts
- Sport drinks.
- Children’s products
- Cosmetic products.
- Laundry detergents
- Yogurts can contain maltrodextrin
2.Why do manufacturers use maltodextrin?
The maltodextrin is versatile and inexpensive, which makes it attractive for manufacturers. Some uses include the following:
- Filling: adds volume without affecting the flavor.
- Thickening agent: in products such as low-fat yogurt, pudding, sauces, salad dressing and gelatin.
- Binding agent: it is commonly used in pharmaceutical products to form pills.
- Preservative: prolongs shelf life, especially in many infant formulas. It also dissolves easily without forming lumps.
- Creation of smooth texture: can be found in many lotions and creams.
3.What benefits do you have for athletes?
Supplements such as sports drinks are popular options to help athletes train longer and recover from sessions. In this sense, maltodextrin is a common source of carbohydrates in these supplements because it is easily digested and absorbed by the body.
During exercise, the body breaks down its stores of stored energy called glycogen in the form of glucose. Research suggests that taking a carbohydrate supplement such as maltodextrin during or after exercise may improve endurance exercise performance and aid recovery.
A study of eight healthy male cyclists compared the effects of taking a placebo versus a maltodextrin supplement. It was found that they improved performance when they took the supplement.
4.Does maltodextrin have nutritional value?
The maltodextrin is a poor source of nutrients. One teaspoon contains 12 calories and 3.8 grams of carbohydrates. It has no vitamins and minerals.
Starches are generally low in nutrients, and their processing further reduces their nutritional content. It can also lead to weight gain when consumed without getting enough exercise, since you can easily add empty calories.
Therefore, most foods with maltodextrin are highly processed, provide few nutrients and are associated with an increased risk of disease.
5.How is the glycemic index of maltodextrin?
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly foods increase blood sugar levels.
Foods with low GI have a value below 55, while a high GI has a value greater than 70. Those with high GI raise the blood sugar quickly because it is easily absorbed by the intestine. The maltodextrin has an exceptionally high GI ranging between 85 and 135, as processed and easily digested.
The athletes can tolerate high GI foods such as maltodextrin, because exercise makes the body use and remove excess blood sugar for storing easier. However, the frequent consumption of foods with high GI is related to an increased risk of obesity and many other diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
6.How does maltodextrin affect intestinal health?
The microbiota of the intestine is incredibly important for health. There are many different types of bacteria in the body that play a role in processes such as immunity, weight control, blood sugar and the metabolism of food.
The diet has a huge influence on intestinal microbiota, as some foods encourage the growth of good bacteria, while others hinder their growth.
Studies in animals and people with digestive diseases have found that a diet rich in maltodextrin can change the composition of intestinal bacteria, making the body more susceptible to infections and diseases.
Although several studies have found a link between maltodextrin and the increased risk of bacterial infection, more studies would be needed in healthy people to confirm its negative effect on intestinal health.
7.Does Maltodextrin have side effects?
Although there are no published studies that link maltodextrin with serious negative effects on health, some people report the following side effects:
8.Is maltodextrin safe for health?
For most people, maltodextrin is considered safe and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States agency responsible for regulating food and medicine in people and animals.
But, if you experience allergic reactions or side effects after eating foods that contain maltodextrin or taking supplements, you should stop using them immediately.