Maltodextrin is a food additive which exists as digestible or digestion-resistant forms. The digestible variety is most commonly used in the food industry. It is derived from starch, mostly from corn, rice, potato starch, wheat or barley which is further treated by acids or enzymes. It’s an artificially produced and highly processed white powder used as a thickener, filler or preservative in many processed foods. It also enhances the texture and flavour of foods. Maltodextrin is gluten-free, since its production process completely removes the gluten part of wheat or barley, resulting in gluten-free maltodextrin. They have a calorific value of 4 kcal/g. However, it has no nutritive value.
Maltodextrin is high in glycemic index (GI), hence it can cause a spike in the blood sugar levels. It’s best to consume it in very small amounts, while it should be avoided by diabetics.(1) Maltodextrin may cause allergic reactions like rash or skin irritation, asthma, cramping, or difficulty in breathing.(2) Maltodextrin tends to suppress probiotics which adversely affect the gut health and may lead to intestinal damage. Studies suggest that maltodextrin increases the activity of Escherichia coli bacteria, which causes inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease. It also aids the survival of Salmonella bacteria, which may result in gastroenteritis. Maltodextrin may also reduce the ability of cells to respond to bacteria, thus suppressing the intestine's defense mechanisms, leading to intestinal disorders.(3)
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