If you spend some time searching the labels of processed and packaged foods, there is chance that you may have seen maltodextrin. It is very commonly used in processed foods. For people who do not want to add sugar into foods, some food ingredients end in –ose will be great options. Dextrose, maltose, and fructose are some aliases given to sugar. But maltodextrin that we are talking about today is an exception. It is also a form or sugar that is often passed up on the food additive labels.
Let’s find out what maltodextrin really is, where to find it, and is it safe to use.
What is Maltodextrin
Maltodextrin is a food additive produced from starch by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a white hygroscopic spray-dried powder. It is mainly produced from corn, but it can also be produced from potatoes, wheat, and rice. Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose, and might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless.
Where to Find Maltodextrin
As a food additive, maltodextrin is categorized into a stabilizer, sweetener, and thickener in many packaged foods. It is usually found in foods like salad dressings, soups, bakery products, yogurt, nutrition bars, sugar-free sweet candies, spice mixes, etc. Maltodextrin is an inexpensive food additive to thicken food products such as infant formula, and used as a filler in sugar substitutes.
Is It Safe to Use Maltodextrin
While technically a complex carbohydrate because of it’s low-sugar content, maltodextrin has a glycemic index of 130 (table sugar is only 65). A high glycemic index means that it goes through the digestive system and into the bloodstream very quickly. This can be helpful to help muscles recover from hard workouts, if accompanied with protein, or to sustain you during a very intense workout like long distance running or biking.
However, the high glycemic index is a concern for us everyday folks looking for a healthy snack or quick bite to eat. Because of it’s high glycemic index, maltodextrin can spike blood sugar very quickly. If there is nothing for the blood sugar to do, such as repair muscles or provide energy for exercise, it will be stored as fat. Once the body experiences this process too many times, insulin resistance and diabetes can also result. The recommendation issued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (US) for this substance is – SAFE.
5 Facts about Maltodextrin
1. Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive. A polysaccharide is a type of carbohydrate.
2. Maltodextrin appears as a white powder.
3. The flavor of maltodextrin is slightly sweet or almost flavorless.
4. Maltodextrin is commonly used as a bulking base for artificial sweeteners, for example with Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium.
5. Maltodextrin is used as a thickener for soups, salad dressings, and gravies.