Is Maltodextrin Bad for You? The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

Posted By on Jun 7, 2012 | 104 comments


Maltodextrin. You may have never have heard of this food ingredient before, or you may have heard a lot. Either way, you most likely have ingested it several times throughout your life.

Pick up 5 things in your kitchen with a label and read the ingredients list. Chances are a couple of those labels have maltodextrin in them. You find it in salad dressings, frozen yoghurt, spice mixes, Cheetos, 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 like Ensure and Advocare. There's been a lot of hype about MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils, but maltodextrin is found in even more foods, yet going under the radar. So the question is: What exactly is maltodextrin, and is it healthy? Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of this starch-derived product.

First the facts:  Maltodextrin comes from treated grain starch, primarily corn or rice starch. It can also come from wheat and potatoes, but is less common in the U.S. Hydrolyze this starch by adding some enzymes and acids, filter and purify it some more and you get either Maltodextrin, or Corn Syrup Solids. The difference is that Maltodextrin is hydrolyzed to have less than 20% sugar content, whereas Corn Syrup Solids have more than 20%. It gives fat-like body to food products, increases their shelf life, and mixes quite well with other ingredients. It's also cheap to make and produce. Though not a sugar, it still has a glycemic index of 130 by itself (table sugar is only 65).

Update 03/06/2014: As some have inquired on this blog, Maltodextrin is not MSG: here's my blog on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for Monosodium Glutamate.

The Good: Though maltodextrin is technically a complex carbohydrate because of it's sugar content, it's  high glycemic index means it goes through the digestive system super fast. There are 2 instances where this is a good thing. 1) After a hard workout, maltodextrin will quickly get energy and protein (if accompanied) to your muscles. That's why the Results and Recovery drink has some in there along with Dextrose (a sugar that maltodextrin mimics).  2) During a long workout (aka marathons), maltodextrin's quick absorption by the body and low osmolality (It doesn't absorb much water) make it a good candidate to give energy while not dehydrating you.

The Bad: 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.

The Ugly: the ugly truth is that maltodextrin is hard to avoid. Even dieting companies overload their shakes and bars with the stuff because it's cheap, they don't have to label it as sugar, and it's fatty texture can replace real fats (both good and bad).

The moral of the story here is to stick to whole foods or whole-food derived products—like Shakeology. Check your labels, and if it has maltodextrin in the ingredients list, it better be a post-workout supplement.

[Update Jan 27th, 2014] Some commenters have also pointed out that Maltodextrin is associated with Celiac Disease  Chrohn's Disease. Also, one commenter also pointed out that most of the corn used to make Maltodextrin is GMO sourced (i.e. Genetically Modified). While the jury is out in the US, the EU recommends avoiding GMO products. So once again, be warned, Maltodextrin has very limited useful purposes.

Like this Blog or have any questions on Maltodextrin, health, or fitness? Let me know in the comments section below or sign up to subscribe to the blog or receive free health and fitness coaching. You can also check out more of my "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" posts on different ingredients. My latest ones are on MSGStevia, and Caffeine.

Jed Olson (24 Posts)

Jed is a fitness and travel enthusiast. A beachbody coach and A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer, Jed has a passion for staying healthy amidst a busy lifestyle. Having travelled to over 50 countries, he knows how rough travel can be on the body and has spent considerable time studying ways to "travel-proof" the body.


104 Comments

  1. novacek2@hotmail.com'

    I have health issues from a brain injury that keeps me in bed some days which I then eat almonds to get by. I like the blue diamond naural oven roasted with sea salt but noticed besides the sea salt corn maltodextrin is listed. Does this make it a bad alternative? Any suggestions…

    Post a Reply
    • Yeah, it’s kind of annoying that many companies use maltodextrin as part of their seasoning mixture. With the almonds, this could be fine, but check the nutrition label on the carbs and serving size. Personally, I would get raw or unseasoned roasted almonds and season it myself with Himalayan salt.

      Post a Reply
    • chocolatethun34@hotmail.com'

      Shakeology does not have malto

      Post a Reply
    • harlemfx@me.com'

      THEY PUT IT IN NAKED JUICE. I’m like, is there no food holy enough that they can’t find a way to get sugar in you? I’ve since moved beyond Naked brand juice, but I thought I’d buy a Blue Machine to round out my breakfast.

      Earlier this morning, I saw a commercial for Tropicana Farmstand, and the script says it contains “No added sugar.” How clever. Didn’t say “no sugar.” But the word “added” could mean they didn’t shove any more on top of what they process into it. Why say anything if you’re going to run a deception? They could add pear juice or any combination of juices to match flavor. This is a main reason I’m long since off the big corporate brands, but only wanted to say, “beware.”

      Peace and love. Have a great week.

      Post a Reply
      • Yep, Naked juice really isn’t that good for you. It even has ingredients that are produced from formaldehyde

        Post a Reply
    • jrainspe@aol.com'

      With the protein and fat content of the almonds, it is possible that the maltodextrin absorption is slowed and doesn’t give you quite as quick or large a blood sugar spike as it would in a liquid drink.

      Post a Reply
  2. brnetta_j@yahoo.com'

    Corn maltodextrin is listed as the first ingredient in the formula I give to my infant to supplement my own milk. Should I be concerned?

    Post a Reply
    • Maltodextrin is not toxic to the body, but, as I mention, has a higher glycemic index than sugar. This means that this can cause blood sugar levels to spike, rather than giving a slower, more steady flow of blood sugar for energy. There are other formulas that do not have Maltodextrin, such as Nature’s One (they use Brown Rice Syrup, http://www.naturesone.com/dairy/nutrition-facts/).

      Post a Reply
        • Yes, a previous comentor, Jean, Pointed this out. Yet another reason to avoid it.

          Post a Reply
        • judy_bartholomew@yahoo.com'

          This article is about Chrohn’s Disease, which confusingly is shortened to CD. Chrohn’s Disease and Coeliac Disease are completely different diseases.

          Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide. Coeliac Disease is caused by auto-immune response to gluten, which is a complex protein and immunologically very distinct from a polysaccharide.

          I studied Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology to degree level, and I have Coeliac Disease so my ‘expertise’ for this answer is both scientific and personal.

          Post a Reply
          • Thanks for the expertise Judy!

      • johndee6@hotmail.com'

        I use splenda as it says it is suitable for diabetics as it contains maltodextrin that is reported to spike BS should they be allowed to say this?

        Post a Reply
        • They are able to say it because the packets are small enough. It would take quite a few packets to spike blood sugar, but it is definitely plausible. Most packets of different brands of stevia contain a gram of a “filler” ingredient, Maltodextrin being a popular one. A gram of Maltodextrin won’t spike BP, but 20 or more can (this is a guestimate, everyone’s body has different tolerances for what will spike BP).

          Post a Reply
    • kameliyav@yahoo.com'

      You should be very concerned. Formula has 2 times higher sugar content (from maltodextrin, dextrose, corn syrup, etc.) than mother’s milk. You are feeding your baby more sugar than it needs for development and as a result the baby has high likelihood of developing obesity, diabetes, ADD, ADHD, and Autism and cardiovascular diseases over time.

      Ideally, the baby should only consume mother’s milk and after 6 months of age- home-made purees of organic carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, apples and other organic fruits and vegetables.

      The statistics of childhood obesity and diabetes speak for themselves- 30%+ of all children less than 10 years old are obese or diabetic and have clogged-up arteries like a 45-year old adult. These are all scientific facts- with 1 root cause- formula feeding and processed foods from a very early age.

      Post a Reply
  3. libbylou2005@gmail.com'

    Hi I have lupus and sugar causes flares for me. in my search for a substitute, I’m finding stevia is best, but hard to find and expensive in its purest form. stevia in the raw has maltodextrin and stevia leaf extract. is this ok and if not, can you help me find a sweetener that is good for me! By the way, artificial sweeteners swell me up as well!

    Post a Reply
    • Check the brand of stevia. Maltodextrin comes from corn, Stevia is an Herb, so raw stevia cannot have maltodextrin. However, the best advise is to avoid sweeteners altogether!

      Post a Reply
      • lindajohnson_473@hotmail.com'

        I have a bag of Stevia in the raw sitting right in front of me here and it does say it has Maltodextrin in it so how can that be? Does that mean this label is false

        Post a Reply
        • No, the label isn’t false, the brand is. Labels are required by law from the FDA, but what the Brand advertised is not so closely scrutinized. I’ve seen many brands claim “All Natural” or “no Artificial Ingredients” and then read the nutrition label ingredients to prove otherwise. It’s a marketing scheme to make you think you have a healthy product when in actuality you are not.

          Post a Reply
      • katieroling@svtv.com'

        My Husband is Diabetic so I got Stevia “In the Raw” at Sam’s Club. I see on the back for ingredients it says Maltodextrin, Stevia Leaf Extract…and I was told the Maltodextrin was not good for him cause it spikes his sugar level.Just saying, read the ingredients! That goes for me too.

        Post a Reply
        • Yep, that’s right Kathleen, read your ingredients! Here’s another tip for diabetics: don’t get sweeteners of any kind. All sweeteners, even if they aren’t “sugar” and are natural, will almost assuredly spike blood sugar. Stick to whole food complex carbs and drink water instead of teas and coffee that you’ll want to sweeten up.

          Post a Reply
          • Shawnmorrow@me.com'

            Quick question, can you explain how stevia spikes blood sugar levels if the product has no caleries? I am missing something here I think. So if I have water with lemon and a tsp of stevia, that will affect blood sugar levels? Even if you could point me to a scientific study that explains how that process works that would be cool too.

            Thanks

          • Let me rephrase. A lot of Sweetener Brands that promote having stevia in their product have more than stevia in it, such as maltodextrin. Maltodextrin has caloric value like any carb (about 4 kcals per gram), and thus the “Stevia, 0-cal product” can spike blood sugar levels if you guzzle the stuff. Stevia seems most ethically used right now in some health drinks (like Shakeology) and nutritional snacks (like Quest Bars). Stevia is great, but it’s the stuff that’s added in the sweeteners that concern me.

  4. charon2@msn.com'

    Yes, I eat the Blue Diamond Almonds too and noticed maltodextrin was an ingredient. Disappointing, since I like the dry roasted almonds to avoid the fats associated with cooking in oil. Started buying sprouted raw almonds and roasting/salting them myself

    Post a Reply
  5. crctlc10@hotmail.com'

    I got some blue diamond with sea salt , I’m getting a rash can this have side effects?

    Post a Reply
    • Are you allergic to nuts of any kind or just blue diamond brand with maltodextrin (md)? If md is the culprit, you’ll find yourself getting a rash on many occasions, as md is in everything almost

      Post a Reply
  6. naysinvegas@gmail.com'

    My 82yr old mother in law is having Chemotherapy sessions & the treatment center gives out all the free ‘Ensure’ that she can carry. She uses the stuff as a meal replacement, so I was concerned after reading ingredient list.. Water, Corn Maltodextrin, Sugar, Canola Oil, etc… Only 20g of sugar are listed, are you saying that her body thinks its consuming much, much more? (She also adds 2 tbsp of sugar to coffee 2x day, ‘I know we’ve all tried to teach her’) thanks! Renee’

    Post a Reply
    • My dad had esophageal cancer and was also put on Ensure. In general, I do not recommend Ensure to anyone, and refer to Shakeology instead. But I’m not a doctor or dietician, so if they recommend Ensure for your mother-in-law as she fights cancer, they probably know what they’re doing. Of course, other meal supplement drinks like Shake-O won’t hurt either. Hope that helps!

      Post a Reply
  7. brmonaco90@live.com'

    Thank you for this post, very helpful!! I was looking into getting Advocare Spark energy drink and Maltodextrin was listed in the ingredients, it is the 4th to the last listed. Does this mean there isn’t much of it in the drink mix? What are your thoughts on Advocare’s Spark drink? Thank you!

    Post a Reply
    • To be honest, most Advocare products are complete crap. Hardly anything about them is natural, and they try to compensate by advertising artificial highly processed ingredients as “Healthy.” Advocare Spark fits this bill as well. I wouldn’t touch the stuff, not just because of Maltodextrin, but also because is just has artificial vitamins/minerals and caffiene as ingredients. If you already drink tea or coffee, the caffeine won’t even phase you, and then your just paying for expensive vitamin pee. Unfortunately, vitamins are not absorbed well by artificial means. That’s why real food and whole-foods based supplements are so important for getting your vitamins. If you need more natural energy and micronutrients, go for Shakeology and/or eat a frick-load of veggies, quinoa, and super fruits. Sure it costs more, but at least what you pay for wont get flushed down the toilet!

      Post a Reply
  8. poketana@yahoo.com'

    i am a new mom breastfeeding. A friend of mine mentioned that my baby would sleep longer if i fead her formula at night. When reading the ingredients of the formula, the first ingredient is corn maltodextrin. I should probably go with my gut and just avoid the formula. Should I feel guilty giving my baby formula?

    Post a Reply
    • My wife and I had our first baby last year and came across the same scenario. We heard that too about formula, but it’s not really true. If your baby has good full feedings throughout the day and especially before putting him/her to sleep, they should be fine. That’s what we found at least, and our son was sleeping through the night from 6 weeks (though not consistently until 3 months). Generally, I’d say avoid formula, but if you must, go organic, sans Maltodextrin.

      Post a Reply
  9. viperfist@gmail.com'

    Thanks a bunch for this informative article on this substance. I have heard a lot of mixed information regarding it, and finally decided to read five seperate articles on maltodextrin. Yours is the best in my opinion. Your info on marathon training sessions, and post workout nutrition are great, because I thought this stuff was bad all the time. Thanks again, and great site.

    Al

    Post a Reply
  10. iztok.kocevar@gmail.com'

    Hello.
    Would just like to say, that the article is really educational. I’m training on all kinds of fields for the last 15 years and been doing intense workouts for the last 5 years + basketball training. Only before one week I bought myself pure carbs, maltodextrin, to mix it up with some whey protein. Took them like it was said, after the training and went to sleep. Woke up in superb condition. :-) ..not that I weren’t tired, but was much much less than usually. Would really recommend maltodextrine after intense workouts! ;-)

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Iztok, glad you liked the post! It is good post-workout for sure!

      Post a Reply
    • Thanks for the insight Jean, very informative article.

      Post a Reply
  11. shelbsyd@yahoo.com'

    Wow! I just read this and I am shocked! I have a box of stevia and it’s made with Maltodextrin. I exercise all of the time and eat pretty healthy, but I use stevia a lot!! I lost a lot of weight before discovering stevia and the past year I have gained 20lbs and I can’t lose it no matter how hard I try. I noticed it’s mostly belly fat and I was thinking maybe it was from avocados or peanut butter, but now I am wondering if it is from the stevia I use. I’m going to try to cut it out of my diet and see if that helps. What a great article you posted. Thank you for sharing!!

    Post a Reply
    • Glad you liked it Jennifer! Yeah, Avacados and Peanut Butter shouldn’t contribute to belly fat, though it’s still necessary to portion everything. In my research, products that use Stevia as a substitute for sugar are almost always just as processed as sugar. And like you pointed out, NOT the only ingredient! Stevia is used in some amazing products like Shakeology, but when advertised only as a “healthy” sweetener, beware.

      Post a Reply
    • cmbun@yahoo.com'

      The reason maltodextrin is in your sweetener packets (or sweetener blend) is that Stevia leaf extract is 400x as sweet as sugar. The amount you need to use to achieve the same sweetness is so small – that you wouldn’t be able to measure it without a special scale. The maltodextrin is used to “dilute” the stevia leaf extract to make it easier to use in the home. The calorie content should be very low if not zero. A gram of maltodextrin (4 cals) is a lot of powder and a single sweetener packet doesn’t weight that much.

      Post a Reply
      • Yes Marie that is true, however, it depends on how many packets someone uses to sweeten their food or beverage. Also, and more importantly, many people who buy Stevia products also want a more natural product, and maltodextrin does not fit into that category.

        Post a Reply
        • cmbun@yahoo.com'

          I disagree that maltodextrin doesn’t fit in a natural product. Maltodextrin is made from starch (naturally occuring in corn, tapioca, wheat, rice, etc) which is “broken down” by amylase – an enzyme. It is the same enzyme we have in our own saliva to digest starchy foods. Starches ultimately break down to sugar and maltodextrin is what you end up with if you stop that process in the middle.

          Post a Reply
          • Everything is technically natural. From plastic, to rubber, to high fructose corn syrup, they all have to start with a substance found in nature. But then refining, isolating, breaking down, and recombining through artificial processes makes such things artificial products. I consider Maltodextrin artificial because of the process taken to make it the way it is. Having a complex-carb “pre-digested” (even with a natural enzyme amylase) before it enters your body’s digestive system is not natural. One could also argue that White Bread is natural by a similar measure. In my definition, natural should be as close to the whole-food source as possible (i.e. rolled oats—they are steamed and rolled, that’s it!), and Maltodextrin is quite a processed product. The fact that is has to have a lab-made name speaks for itself.

  12. amandamartyn@yahoo.com'

    Hi, thank you for this information. I recently discovered i am gluten / sugar and dairy intolerant. i am guessing as it is derived from treated grain starch it’s not gluten free?

    As Maltodextrin is in most sports gels and drinks, I am looking into making my own (as i do endurance sports) any suggestions?

    Post a Reply
    • It depends on the kind of grain that a product uses to make Maltodextrin. Most American products usually use corn Maltodextrin (like the Recovery Drink I mentioned in the post), and corn is gluten free. So for endurance events, Maltodextrin could probably be included, bit you have to be absolutely sure it’s Maltodextrin derived from Corn. But since you’re Gluten and Sugar intolerant, I would talk to a certified dietician to be sure.

      Now if you’re sugar intolerant, I am really not sure how you can make or purchase an endurance drink that is truly sugar free. I wouldn’t recommend any complex carbs outside of Maltodextrin for during workouts and events, as they won’t actually get energy to you fast enough. Are you intolerant of all sugars (anything ending in “ose”), even ones found in whole foods? If you are, then best bet is to stick to water and maybe add some corn derived Maltodextrin.

      Post a Reply
      • capeel@legalshieldassociate.com'

        I have had similar issues with all ‘ose’ sugars and have bad reactions to maltodextrin. I found using coconut water on my long runs helped me. Good luck!

        Post a Reply
        • Coconut Water is awesome to use intra-workout. WAY better than artificial sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade.

          Post a Reply
  13. KellyFloress@bellsouth.net'

    My six year old son is not a water drinker, he is also lactose intolerant, but he loves soda and juices. Trying to get more water and less soda & juice in his diet we bought koolaid packets that I sweeten with Splenda, and he loves it! The dental hygenist warned me yesterday about childrens developing bodies and aspartame. I know about the bad rap of that and try to avoid it, but she said to researcb Splenda as well. I came across your article on Maltodextrine which is one of the two ingrediants in Splenda. Sucralose being the other one. Needless to say I am worried. Can you tell me what issupposed to be safe to sweeten Koolaid and recipes with?

    Post a Reply
    • I am always an advocate for whole foods derived products, but even when it comes to juices, it’s hard to find a brand that doesn’t add something artificial. Juicing your own fruit is the best option, but that can be time consuming. For a child, you obviously don’t want to give them too much sweet stuff. As I say in the post, Maltodextrin isn’t necessarily bad, just how it’s used and how much you use. Basically, adding sugar, splenda, or even Agave Nectar to Koolaid will pretty much have the same effect in raising blood sugar levels. So in this instance, you should watch out more for “how much” sugar you give your son rather than “what type” of sugar.

      Post a Reply
  14. bluecadillac2009@hotmail.com'

    hi my son is epileptic and seizures when he eats msg. Are you saying maltodextrine is a form of msg?

    Post a Reply
    • No, MSG and Maltodextrin are completely different. MSG is a very harmful artificial “salt” basically. Maltodextrin is sugar in complex carbohydrate form (again, basically). Hope that helps differentiate the two.

      Post a Reply
        • Technically, everything is naturally sourced. It’s the refining, extracting, and adding to natural ingredients that make them “artificial.” Also, natural does not mean it’s healthy. Arsenic is natural, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. There are several reasons MSG is bad to consume, but I’ll leave that for another post. Just to be clear to other readers, MSG & Maltodextrin are two very different substances.

          Post a Reply
        • cmbun@yahoo.com'

          Right on Wolfy,
          MSG is naturally occuring. It’s in yeast (that’s why a lot of products contain yeast extract for flavor), there is a significant amount in mushrooms and in hydrolyzed soy protein. Hydrolyzing the soy (breaking the soy protein into it’s amino acid consituents) releases the amino acid glutamine – the major component of msg. MSG occurs naturally in our bodies as well. Some people are just sensitive to it whether it is naturally derived or not.

          Post a Reply
  15. wtam@fau.edu'

    Hi, first of all, great article! Super educational.

    I have a question, recently I brought this unsweetened green tea powder to mix in my drinks, I am thinking of drinking this on a regular basis, but I found out it has maltodexin in it as a first ingredient, then the second ingredient is green tea powder. Since it is unsweetened, does it still act as a sugar? How bad would it be if I drink this on a regular basis?

    If it helps, the brand of this product is call Yamamotoyama unsweetened iced green tea powder.

    Post a Reply
    • Just as bad (maybe worse) as drinking Green Tea and adding sugar. Maltodextrin, since it is technically a complex carb, is allowed to not be listed as a sugar. Yet, it raises blood sugar faster than table sugar. Thus, as I said in the post, the only real reason to have Maltodextrin is after workouts. Otherwise it’s just something brands use to make you think you’re eating/drinking something sugar free. If you have to have some sweetness, opt for agave nectar or as natural of sugar as you can get to add to natural green tea.

      Post a Reply
      • biz22ta1@yahoo.com'

        you might do some research on agave – most of the products have corn syrup in them

        Post a Reply
        • I am not saying I’m an advocate of certain brands that advertise Agave, but are really corn syrup. Agave by itself is what I am ok with, in moderation, as it is still a sugar. As with any product, you should always read the ingredients to see if it matches up with their advertising. Often the two don’t coincide, like you are referencing with Agave. Some of my other favorites are Maple Syrup that has no maple, Dried Blueberries that are made with cranberries and artificial flavoring instead, and of course, who can forget to mention bacon bits that don’t even have a smidgen of pork in them! Read your labels people!

          Post a Reply
  16. briekbartow@gmail.com'

    Thanks for the info! So what are your thoughts on sensa ? I’ve been using it for a couple weeks and haven’t noticed any drastic changes, but I noticed the main ingredient is maltodextrin. I read this and was like oh great have I just been sprinkling more sugar on my good when that’s what I’ve been trying to stay away from!? Thanks! (:

    Post a Reply
    • Yeah, I’m not a fan of sensa, artificial sweeteners, or pretty much anything artificial. Almost always these companies just try to get away with technicalities, such as maltodextrin technically not being a sugar. Thus they can advertise their product as sugar-free but it will still cause spikes in blood sugar.

      Post a Reply
      • vlewis@ruralcap.com'

        Also, Sensa has Splenda (surculose) an artificial sugar in it. Splenda has chlorine in it. I am allergic to splenda, so I did some research.

        Post a Reply
  17. drpatsy@aspell.com'

    Great article Jed! I started checking my labels and was shocked to see the taboo ingredients! I was offered a nutrician drink called Vemma. Have you heard anything about it good or bad?

    Thank you!

    Post a Reply
    • Glad you liked the article Pat! Before getting on Shakeology, I did my research of many different health juices, shakes, and meal replacements. Shakeology beat all of them by a mile. Vemma is no exception. All Vemma has going for it is Mangosteen and Aloe Vera, 2 super foods. Shakeology has over 70. What is more, Vemma’s mangosteen is reconstituted juice, so it is more processed than Shakeology’s strictly whole food formula. Additionally, since all the Vitamins it comes with aren’t derived from Mangosteen or Aloe Vera, you will just pee most of those vitamins out unless accompanied by healthy fats that are preferably in the drink itself (which Vemma doesn’t have).

      Which leads me to my final point: Vemma is not a meal replacement, it’s just a glorified vitamin shot. I’d personally rather pay $120 to replace a month’s worth of breakfasts or lunches or dinners—which also has all your vitamins, phytonutrients, pre and probiotics, and antioxidants plus protein and healthy fats— than spend $40 on top of what I spend on meals. Not to mention the $40 you’re paying for is mostly expensive pee.

      Post a Reply
  18. sorenand000@students.wvsd.org'

    I like how you used the good the bad and the ugly I will use this sight more often

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Andrew, glad you liked the post!

      Post a Reply
  19. mmccabe27@verizon.net'

    I’m 89 and in good health – take no medications. 3 weeks ago an esophageal test revealed liquids half going down but the other half going into my lungs. Thick-It was prescribed for me to thicken all liquids to the consistency of honey and it has malodextrin in it. In two days I have used 1/2 of a 30 oz. jar of Thick-IT @26 dollars for the jar and am still so very thirsty. For 4 oz. of water I have to use 5 teaspoons of Thick-IT. Do you know of anything that I could use instead or of any thickened juice or whatever is available. Thank you for your reply.

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Mary, I found this youtube video that may help: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqhkOiHJgKg. If you don’t want to make your own thickener, the guy in the video mentions a different brand than the one you’re using, Simply Thick. you can find their website here: http://www.simplythick.com. I would in any case, talk to your doctor before making any changes though.

      Post a Reply
  20. getsmartz@oh.rr.com'

    you sound as though you are very informed as far as healthy foods are concerned. have you ever read up on JuicePlus+ ? check it out, and please give your comments on it. i will be very appreciative of them.
    thank you.
    marilyn smart

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Marilyn, thanks for the question. I am a little skeptical of JuicePlus, though not as much as some health supplements. A few friends have tried it and liked it, but it didn’t seem like it made any noticeable changes. JuicePlus is pretty much just a whole food multivitamin pill, except it doesn’t seem to have that many vitamins, and just a few antioxidants.

      Given that it is in pill form is what makes me most skeptical: there is simply not enough of the fruits/vegetables that can be crammed into a pill to make much of a healthy impact. Even if they dehydrate the fruits and powder them up (as their website purports), those dehydrates forms wouldn’t fit into one pill, much less over a dozen. If it was a bunch of super foods that have high and concentrated amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. that would be different, but many of the ingredients are not that exotic or “super.”

      Contrasted with my favorite supplement, Shakeology, JuicePlus is just a really expensive and not very potent multivitamin, whereas Shakeology has far more whole-food sources; is a meal replacement with protein, carbs, and healthy fat; and has much more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, plus prebiotics and probiotics. Personally, I’d rather replace the expense of a meal and a multivitamin than add an additional expense for an iffy whole food multivitamin.

      Post a Reply
  21. kraginator@aol.com'

    Thank you so much for this helpful information. I have been a type 2 diabetic for over 20 years now and have been cutting down and in some cases eliminating any type of artificial sweetener from my diet. I have also found that if I eat anything with maltodextrin in it I get lose stool and very bad smelling gas and stomach cramps within 1 to two hours after ingesting it. The information you added about elevated blood sugars is helpful and important. Another problem too about products that contain this ingredient is that with 90% of the corn/soybeans being produced today coming from GMO’s so is the by product from grains striped of their ethanol for gas additives being placed back into the food chain by processing the left overs back into what we eat. be smart buy organic whenever possible and eat whole foods.

    Post a Reply
  22. mlgeorge301@comcast.net'

    I was wondering when this article was published

    Post a Reply
    • As you should see on the “posted by…” section below the title, I wrote this blog on June 7th, 2012. Hope you liked it!

      Post a Reply
  23. VSANDIFO@GMAIL.COM'

    “Maltodextrin comes from treated grain starch, primarily corn or rice”. Since 85% (at least) of the corn in the US is genetically modified (and probably a higher percentage when used as an ingredient in manufacturing), how can you recommend it at all?

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for pointing that out Vicky. There are a few non-gmo Maltodextrin brands out there, so that would be my recommendation.

      Post a Reply
  24. dianaaguilar558@yahoo.com'

    I have a question for you. I have celiac diease and when I took my probotic pill or plant enzymes i got very bloated and my stomach got sick feeling. I look up the ingredients and it had maltodextrin. My friends doctor informed her not to take maltodextrin due to it being gluten. Is it true? Please give me your input

    Post a Reply
    • It depends on the grain that was used to make the Maltodextrin (mdx). Corn and rice mdx shouldn’t have gluten, while others can. Many times brands don’t say what type of mdx they use in the ingredients list, so you should prolly just avoid it.

      Post a Reply
  25. Mdspanbauer@gmail.com'

    I have severe Chronic Lyme Disease and sugar is an intense inflammatory problem for me. I am working at following a diet which helps to lower and repair the havoc caused by this hideous disease. I eat super fruits and lots of good vegetables but there are times I want to eat something that requires a sweetener. Outside of agave nectar, is there a sweetener to put on fruit,cereal or to bake with? I had heard Stevia in the Raw was much healthier than refined sugar so recently purchased a bag of it. First listed ingredient was maltodextrin. Your website indicates maltodextrin as a “no-no”. Do you have healthier suggestions as a substitute to use when I feel I absolutely need a sweetener? Or, did I misunderstand maltodextrin being “evil”?

    Post a Reply
    • If you take it sparingly, it may not be that bad. Agave nectar for me would be the go to. You should be able to find some stevia without Maltodextrin in it though. Try another brand.

      Post a Reply
  26. jonny161994@gmail.com'

    You said (md) can be made from corn, rice or wheat and soy (?)
    I just ate some rice thins that claimed that they are (CF) certified gluten-free but then the ingredient said contains 2% or less of Maltodextrin. How will this percentage affect me? I cannot have corn, soy or wheat so I’m confused as to what type of Maltodextrin this is. Any insight? GREAT blog btw!!!

    Post a Reply
    • It’s hard to say unless the brand specifically mentions the grain used to make the Maltodextrin. See how you react to it, but my opinion would be to avoid. Remember, md is only really good to have after a workout in a drink, not in a snack or food.

      Post a Reply
  27. s7@hush.com'

    The glycemix index while valuable has its flaws as people respond and digest different food differently, one flaw the author fails to point out is portion size, for instance carrots have a high GI but you’d have to eat a lot of carrots for it to raise your glucose, soda and ice cream have the same GI as whole grains, and the whole grains movement is often industry founded as a blacklash to carbs, while whole grains may have fiber , often times the carbs included don’t make it for the difference, and it will still get stored as fat at times. Lower GI foods such as agave, and table sugar often founds in muffins,sweets,cookies,and soda also have fructose which gets stored as fat initially.

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Kris, it seems a lot of your points are unfounded. First, carrots have a GI of 35, which is really low, not high. You also make it out to be that carbs of any kind, even whole food derived complex carbs, are bad. The body was designed to utilize carbs for energy. In our current lazy society, yes, we don’t need as many carbs as our forefathers, but that doesn’t make them bad. Whole grains have a lot more going for them than fiber, they have protein, vitimins, minerals, and antioxidants. Whole grains can still get stored as fat for someone not exercising, but not nearly as fast or as bad as fact acting sugars can.

      Furthermore, you are slightly mistaken that fructose get stored as fat initially. When fructose is digested, the liver has three options of what to do with it: 1) turn it to glucose 2) store it as glycogen (which isn’t fat) or 3) store it as fat. As long as you’re exercising and getting fructose from whole food sources (I.e. Strawberries), you will probably not store fructose as fat in most circumstances.

      I believe we both can agree on muffins not being a healthy eating choice though!

      Post a Reply
  28. Hannahleegillis@hotmail.com'

    Hi I’m pregnant with my second child. I had a lot of ensure and some sport drinks (powerade) with my last child. the midwife commented and was very surprised that I had the cleanest placenta she has seen (I smoke)I’m trying 2 find what I did so good. I was eating LOTS of food ensure and bananas being the main 2. Could this ingredient have anything 2do with it?

    Post a Reply
    • I’m not a doctor, but I doubt it.

      Post a Reply
      • blueskies65rk@gmail.com'

        Surprised that no one having systemic yeast infection has responded. But to finding a sweetener that isn’t “toxic.” What do you know/think about Xylitol? Even more expensive than pure Stevia but also available in health food stores. And I’m another who was fooled by Stevia in the Raw. I’ve been using it for months and gradually feeling worse. Which caused me to check the list of ingredients. Not legally wrong but do these companies have any morals? Or is it just greed? For many of us, taking in maltodextrin or other “forbidders” is damaging to our health.
        Thanks for the forum.

        Post a Reply
        • Xylitol is a sugar Alcohol, but that’s as much as I really know. The only sugar alcohol I trust is Erythritol because it’s easier on the stomach and has only .2 calories per gram. Also to note, Stevia (even by itself) in large quantities can be harmful.

          Post a Reply
  29. wingedshadowwolf@yahoo.com'

    I cam here to learn about maltodextrin because it’s sometimes used in homebrewing(yeah, we add it ourselves) at least beer is a sometimes drink! I also learned that people wanting to use stevia are being screwed by the companies selling it! It would take extra work, but the stevia plant can be bought and grown like a houseplant and used without the need for additives. I’ve never grown one but I’ll bet if you brewed some of the leaves like tea, you could add that tea to your other foods! I have no idea how strong that would be or how many plants you need.
    I hope the link works, also I’m sure other places sell them. http://www.eburgess.com/detail.asp?pid=1540&nav=hps

    Post a Reply
    • Yeah, that’s a good idea. It’s easier to know what your putting in your body if you grow it yourself!

      Post a Reply
  30. rickymiata@gmail.com'

    Maltodextrin is a real hazard to diabetics. My wife is a type 1, insulin dependent and she cannot use any product with maltodextrin in it.

    It cause a tremendous spike in her Blood Glucose levels. Not a nice product.

    Post a Reply
  31. shierposid@yahoo.com'

    Very interesting article! I was impressed by the viewpoint from all angles, and by the general attitude in the comments. This definitely seems to be one of the more level-headed health sites I’ve run into. It’s especially interesting to know that while this is something to generally avoid, for someone that does nearly daily crossfit, it can actually be beneficial over traditional sugar.

    I’ll definitely check out some more of your stuff.

    Since I’m here, this is was I was researching when I ended up here: Cascadian Farms Granola Any thoughts on it? Other than it being excessively sweet, I quite like it.

    Post a Reply
    • Glad you like the article Eric! Indeed, Maltodextrin does have it’s place in extreme fitness regimens. As for the Cascadian Farms Granola, I’m not a fan of the sugar and maltodextrin, and it’s pretty funny to me honey is one of the last ingredients despite the name. I personally love making my own granola from scratch with oats, macadamia oil, raw honey or raw maple syrup, and other stuff like different nuts, maybe some dried fruits, and even some flavorless whey protein. Make some in a big batch and it’ll last you weeks. Of course, even homemade granola is gonna have sugar, but at least it’s natural!

      Post a Reply
  32. noemipena303@gmail.com'

    Im trying to tell my mother in law to stop using herbal life products for te ingredients in there ae horrible here re some in her herbal tea concentrate supportsenergy and metabolism…
    maltodextrin, fructose, orange pekoe extract and other extracts
    now the other supplements a liftoff tablets by herbal life ready for this…
    citic acid, sodium BENZOATES, sodium bicarbonate yellow number #6 corn syrup solids and other interesing ingredients sigh how can i scare her more when i have already told her about the effects of these ingredients??? or can i even change her mind about this? so far i havent.

    Post a Reply
    • Just like trying to convince someone else to exercise or live a healthy lifestyle, it’s really nye impossible unless they themselves have an “aha” moment where they realize they are not doing good to themselves. Perhaps a documentary on such ingredients would help. It can be harder with “health” brands like Herbalife since they are supposed to be good for you. Also, familiarity breeds contempt, i.e. because she’s your mother-in-law, she won’t listen to you on such things as much as someone she knows less. Weird, but that’s what I’ve found in my own experience. Perhaps hearing it from someone else will give her a fresh perspective.

      Post a Reply
  33. Hilary1955@icloud.com'

    Thanks for the article Jed.
    I recently tried ‘Malt Salt’ (vinegar flavoured salt), on French fries. I really like it, but found when I took quite a lot of it, (I.e. cleaned the residue on the plate!), that it made me want to vomit all of a sudden.!
    I normally have no adverse reactions to food.
    The ingredients list a heavy inclusion of Maltodextrin. I wondered if it was this that made me I’ll, or is some other culprit more likely?
    Any thoughts greatly appreciated, thanks.

    Post a Reply
    • To be honest there are quite a few artificial and processed ingredients in Malt Salt, so it would be hard to pinpoint which ingredient/s are the culprits.

      Post a Reply
  34. sophiebrown879@gmail.com'

    What is maltodextrin made out of, and what are it’s relations to corn?

    Post a Reply
    • As mentioned in the article, Maltodextrin is derived primarily from corn starch or rice starch.

      Post a Reply
  35. B.miller1324@yahoo.com'

    Carbohydrates with high sugars are considered simple carbs, not complex carbs

    Post a Reply
    • Not sure I follow Brian. Maltodextrin is a complex carb because it is a long-chain saccharide (polysaccharide). Sugars like Dextrose, however, are short-chained, “simple” carbs. As I mention in the article though, Maltodextrin still has a high glycemic index despite the technicality of it being a complex carb.

      Post a Reply

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