What is Maltodextrin in Food?

Published on Jan 06th, 2022

What is Maltodextrin in Food?

You should read the nutritional labels on the products you buy even if you are not a nutritionist.


Because you should know what you are eating and how it is going to affect your body. There are many additives in processed food that may or may not be beneficial for you.

One of the most used food additives is Maltodextrin.

You should know:

  • What is it?
  • How is going to affect me if I consume it?
  • How is it produced?
  • How is it used?
  • Why is it beneficial?
  • And most, what are its side effects?

And this is what is article is all about. Educating you about one of the most commonly used food additives.

What is Maltodextrin?

It is a food additive prepared from either wheat, rice, corn, or potato mash.

It is a yellowish or whitish powder. It is used in processed foods to increase their life, frosty, or taste.

You can find maltodextrin written on most processed foods such as:

  • Pasta
  • Cooked cereals
  • Rice
  • Salad dressings
  • Frozen meals
  • Soups

Maltodextrin is said to be beneficial for bodybuilders. That is why it is found in most energy bars and sports drinks.

From the nutritional point of view, it is beneficial for some, and harmful for some. It gets absorbed in the blood and raises blood sugar.

Which makes it an ideal source of energy drink for bodybuilders.

It’s prepared using a process called Hydrolysis. Hydrolysis is the process of transforming the starch into smaller pieces causing its powdery form.

Maltodextrin has a DE (Dextrose Equal) of 3-20.

What is Dextrose Equal?

It is a unit to measure the percentage of sugar in sugary products.

The glucose sparks are less if the organic maltodextrin has a higher DE value.

Uses of Maltodextrin

The application of maltodextrin is very wide. It ranges from food and energy drinks to the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry. And also some baby nutritional products.

The maltodextrin with DE value ranging between 3-5 is utilized as a fat substitute in different foods such as ice creams, and salads.

It is used as an organic sweetener and to increase the viscosity of products without increasing its sweetness.

It is easily digestible and gives an instant dose of energy. Which makes it an ideal ingredient for many products. Mostly for sportsmen, athletes, and bodybuilders. It is added to energy drinks, snacks, minerals, protein powders, and minerals.

Due to its non-irritable and soluble properties, it is used in many personal care products. As well as hair lotions and creams.

In the pharmaceutical industry, its main functions are that of coating agent, carb source, soluble agent, and binding agent.

Benefits of maltodextrin

There may be questions in your mind, such as

Why is it being used in so many products? Is it healthy for me? Should I take it or avoid it? What are its benefits?

Here is what makes rice maltodextrin and other such additives so special and common:

  • It raises blood sugar which makes it a good source of energy for sportsmen and athletes.
  • It is digestible.
  • It is beneficial for normal brain function.
  • It is used as an expanding agent without changing the taste of food.
  • It increases the viscosity of bakery products.
  • It is used to improve the taste and feel of food in your mouth.
  • It is a Nonirritable additive for cosmetics and hair care products.
  • It is used to decrease the temperature of dairy products. It helps with the crystal-forming of frozen dairy products.
  • It has many functions in the pharmaceutical industry such as a binding or soluble agent. It also acts as a coating agent and sometimes as a source of carb.

Side Effects of Maltodextrin

If you are allergic or intolerant to maltodextrin, you may experience the following problems:

  • Bloating
  • Either cramps or surges of pain in the stomach
  • Having rashes on your skin
  • Distress in stomach
  • Gut health might be affected due to maltodextrin.

Other than that you may also experience these things:

  1. Weight gain: Since maltodextrin is a carb, taking it or in large quantities leads to weight gain. Be sure to check the quantity of maltodextrin before buying any packed food.
  2. Prediabetes: Consuming maltodextrin leads to sudden spikes in blood sugar. So people with diabetes should not consume it. Or it can cause serious health problems for people suffering from prediabetes.
  3. Gut Health: Taking maltodextrin can lead to poor gut health. How? It promotes the growth of bacteria in your gut. And that kills the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. And your gut doesn’t function at its best.
  4. Digestion: Maltodextrin is very digestible but if you take it daily, it can lead to poor gut health. You may digest but it promotes harmful bacteria’s growth. Due to this, healthy bacteria are not able to perform.
  5. Gluten Sensitivity: If you are sensitive to gluten, you should avoid taking wheat-based maltodextrin. Especially if you have a gluten allergy or Celiac disease. You can take rice maltodextrin as they are gluten-free.

Let us know in the comments below, what maltodextrin products do you use daily?