What Is Maltodextrin And Is It Safe?

Maltodextrin has been showing up in lots of supplements, foods, drinks, etc. and I’ve always personally had a neutral opinion about it whenever it’s Certified Organic and Non-GMO.

Photo cred: Edibles Magazine

Maltodextrin is a thickener, filler, or preservative found in many packaged foods and supplements. You find it in dressings, spice mixes, soups and sauces, candy, baked goods, yogurt, nutrition/protein bars, sugar-free products (take a close look at your Stevia sweetener!), meal replacement shakes, vitamins, and supplements.

My policy on my blog is to share resources that I’ve personally found helpful and informing for you and other people to use as a starting point for your own research, and to make your own decisions with the care of your doctor.

Mostly in America, maltodextrin is made from corn, though I’ve also seen it derived from rice in some supplements. In Europe, it’s mostly made from wheat. From what I understand about European regulations is that mostly everything is NON-GMO.

Corn and wheat (and coffee and soy) are some of the most sprayed crops in America—which is why it’s critical to opt for organic and non-GMO. Certified organic automatically means there are no gmo’s used.

If you’re wondering why GMO’s are such a concern (and if they’re dangerous) then let me share really quickly what I’ve learned about them. There was a strong focus shedding light on this in nutrition school and that led me to watch a few more documentaries about it.

You see, a GMO is a Genetically Modified Organism. Which for our food means the plant or animal was given something to alter its DNA and make it less susceptible to insects, bacteria, viruses, etc. What makes this dangerous is that slight alteration that kills the insects or bacteria that are attacking the plant can also make us—humans—sick.

Sure GMOs can make things easier if you’re the one growing the crops (I grew up on a cattle and citrus farm and witnessed the struggle of a variety of insects, varmints, and viruses that can negatively effect the sales.) But, while altering the DNA of something to repel against its attacker may seem like a great idea when the insects and viruses are easier to manage—be forewarned it also can make the person who consumes it sick too.

Bugs and viruses are small, and that’s why the die. But us humans are much bigger, so most of the time instead of killing us, the GMO food makes us sick. From various digestive issues to autoimmune disorders to life-threatening disease.

We have entered an era of genetically modified foods, which are just that — genetically mutated foods that are not necessarily better for you. The health implications not only to humans but also to the environment is a hotly contested debate; the introduction of genetically altered food could have serious consequences, such as allergic reactions and increased resistance to certain antibiotics. Two of the prime targets for genetic engineering — soy and corn — are America’s cash crops. ~Brenda Watson and Leonard Smith

Your gut health is where 80% of your immune system resides—and 95% of your natural serotonin hormone is produced—so when consuming GMO’s that are attacking your digestive system (which includes your gut health) you could experience a variety of health issues.

The health of your gut could determine how sick you could get. Like with anything some people are more tolerant and some much less tolerant.

So consuming GMO’s is a personal decision. I do try to avoid them as often as possible. But I’m not perfect and surely they sneak in my diet when I’m eating out or craving a specific indulgence that isn’t organic.

That’s some of my thoughts on GMO’s…which is critical when considering “fillers” that are made from corn.

And since most maltodextrin in America is made from corn, I thought sharing a little of what I’ve learned about it would be a good thing to tie this all together.

So What Exactly Is Maltodextrin?

Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive. It is produced from starch by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a white hygroscopic spray-dried powder.[1] Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose and might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless (depending on the degree of polymerisation).

Over at Cumberlink, they share:
Maltodextrin is easy and cheap to produce making it very appealing to food manufacturers.

And then at Healthline, I found:
It is safe to assume that most maltodextrin used in food products is genetically modified since over 80 percent of the corn grown in the country is GMO. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are plant or meat products that have had their DNA altered in a lab by genes from other plants, animals, viruses or bacteria.

Maltodextrin is a white powder made from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat. Even though it comes from plants, it’s highly processed. To make it, first the starches are cooked, and then acids or enzymes such as heat-stable bacterial alpha-amylase are added to break it down further. The resulting white powder is water-soluble and has a neutral taste.

Maltodextrins are closely related to corn syrup solids, with the one difference being their sugar content. Both undergo hydrolysis, a chemical process involving the addition of water to further assist breakdown. However, after hydrolysis, corn syrup solids are at least 20 percent sugar, while maltodextrin is less than 20 percent sugar.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved maltodextrin as a safe food additive. It’s also included in the nutritional value of food as part of the total carbohydrate count.

Is Maltodextrin Safe In Food?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved maltodextrin as a safe food additive. This is a total gray area as the FDA has approved several things that are banned in other countries as toxic and dangerous.

It’s also included in the nutritional value of food as part of the total carbohydrate count. This is important to consider especially if you have diabetes, prediabetic, or have any type of insulin resistance. Another thing to be mindful of is if your doctor has recommended a low-carb diet. You should include any maltodextrin you consume in your total carb count for the day.

However, maltodextrin is usually only present in food in small amounts. So it shouldn’t have a significant effect on your overall carbohydrate intake.

“Some folks think ‘hydrolysis’ is an awful name, but it’s simply breaking up basic starch molecules with simple acids and enzymes — much like the process done naturally in one’s digestive system.” – Dan Putnam of GPC

Is Maltodextrin Safe In Supplements?

maltodextrinIt is very important to understand that maltodextrin is usually used in such small amounts that it doesn’t have a significant impact in terms of the amount of protein, fat, carbohydrate, or fiber that it adds to foods.

In some of the supplements that contain organic and GMO-Free maltodextrin, it is a minor addition having very little impact. It’s still better in the long run to watch your intake of this substance but in relation to the very small amounts you may find in these supplements, your intake will be negligible and likely to be insignificant compared to other sources you already consume.

I’ve shared about my supplement routine and which ones have worked best for me on here for many years. As I learn more and discover more products that truly work well for me, I update the list. Some of the products I share about have organic or Non-GMO maltodextrin in them. I highly encourage you to do your own research alongside your own healthcare provider when doing new regimens and supplements.

My Final View On Maltodextrin

As with anything, my motto is to opt organic and NON-GMO as often as possible. Sometimes my supplement routine changes because of budget and finding a less expensive probiotic or vitamin that still works well for my body is essential. I’m always experimenting to stay on top of the best products I find so I can share them with others.

Oftentimes budget is super important… and some of the lesser expensive products that I’ve benefited from contain organic or Non-GMO maltodextrin.

This has never been a problem for my body or health goals. And I made the decision not to worry about the trace amounts of maltodextrin that are in them.

Again, double check with your own health care provider and go over any medications you’re taking along with the ingredients in the supplements you want to add into your routine.

So what are your thoughts on Maltodextrin and GMO’s? Do any of the supplements and foods you like contain them?

PS: If you’ve been wanting to make some healthier changes in your diet and lifestyle and not sure where to start, then you should check out my 30-Day Challenge. I share lots of helpful tips along with step-by-step instructions that walk you through the entire 30 days. Plus there’s a meal plan with easy and delicious recipes and a next steps module so you know what to do after you finish the program. It’s on Sale Now!

Some of the links in this post are associated with an affiliate program and if you purchase through them I will get a small kickback. This compensation helps with expenses to keep this blog up and running! Thank you for all your support!


Dr. Axe
Fitness For Travel
Just Vitamins


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