You may have never have heard of maltodextrin before, but you most likely have ingested it several times throughout your life. You find it in salad dressings, frozen yoghurt, spice mixes, candy, baked goods, fat-free and sugar free products. You’ll even find it in meats, nutrition bars, splenda, mass gainers, and many meal replacement shakes.
What Is Maltodextrin?
Maltodextrin is an artificial carbohydrate made from starch.
Most maltodextrin is made from corn, potato starch, rice or wheat starch. The starch goes through a process called partial hydrolysis, where water and enzymes are added to partly digest the starch. It’s then refined and dried to produce a fine white powder with a neutral or slightly sweet taste. The difference between maltodextrin and corn syrup solids is that maltodextrin is hydrolyzed to have less than 20 percent sugar content, whereas corn syrup solids have more than 20 percent sugar content.
Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide, which is a type of carbohydrate. It’s commonly used as a thickener or filler to increase the volume of processed foods, like instant puddings and gelatins, sauces and salad dressings, baked goods, potato chips, jerky, yogurts, nutrition bars, meal replacement shakes, and sugar-free sweeteners (like Splenda). Tapioca maltodextrin is used to make powders because it absorbs and thickens fats. It encapsulates the oil and holds it within the powder until it comes into contact with water.
Bodybuilders sometimes use simple carbohydrates after hard workouts in order to restore the body’s glycogen (stored energy) and glucose (usable energy) levels. Post-workout, bodybuilders or athletes may choose to consume high glycemic foods (like maltodextrin and dextrose) that raise normal blood sugar and insulin levels in order to get carbohydrates to the muscle cells.
Dangers of Maltodextrin
Outside of the aforementioned time-frames, maltodextrin is just as bad, sometimes worse, as having sugar. Easily absorbed carbs like maltodextrin and sugar get into your bloodstream fast. If there is nothing for all that blood sugar to do (i.e. repair muscle-tissue, give energy), it will get stored as fat. Contrast that with real complex carbs from whole grains, which are broken down and absorbed slowly, and maltodextrin looks more and more like sugar.
- Spikes Blood Sugar.
- Suppresses the Growth of Probiotics.
- Gurgling sounds.