Do not confuse maltodextrin with dextrin!

With all the complicated names of additives and preservatives, it is truly difficult to understand ingredient lists on labels and to make right choices. Here, we present two compounds that have confusingly similar names but are not similar at all: maltodextrin and dextrin.

Maltodextrin is produced in the process of hydrolysis, which occurs when the long chain of starch is broken into shorter chains consisting of glucose molecules. It is produced from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat. It is used as a thickener or filler in foods such as desserts, snacks, salad dressings and sauces, powdered drinks, and sport drinks, as well as non-nutritive sweeteners.

It has a high glycemic index, between 85 and 105, so it will affect your blood sugar. Maltodextrin is also linked to bacteria-associated intestinal disorders and, consequently, Crohn’s disease.

Dextrins belong to a group of carbohydrates with low molecular weight. They are produced from starch and built of many molecules of glucose (different polymers of glucose). They are used in food processing and as fiber supplements. Since they act as fiber, consumption of dextrins is beneficial for:

  • Healthy intestinal flora, as they are prebiotic, so they help to maintain good bacteria in the intestines.
  • Lowering LDL level to support cardiovascular health. Lowering LDL level to support cardiovascular health.
  • Elimination of wastes out of the body through increased bowel movements (and, therefore, helpful in weight and constipation fight); supporting colon health.
  • Lowering the blood sugar level (as in the case of all fibers).

However, unlike probiotics, prebiotics can be overdosed and can cause intestinal bloating, pain, flatulence, and even diarrhea.