Home Medicines Maltodextrin: effect, areas of application, side effects

Maltodextrin: effect, areas of application, side effects

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 342 views

Maltodextrin is one of the most important substances used to increase calorie intake. It is obtained from starch and is absorbed from the intestine into the blood just as quickly as the simple sugar glucose. However, its sweetening power is very low. Maltodextrin is generally considered to be well tolerated, but in rare cases it can lead to gastrointestinal problems. Here you can read everything you need to know about maltodextrin.

What is maltodextrin?

Maltodextrin belongs to the group of carbohydrates . Carbohydrates usually make up the majority of our diet. They are mainly found in filling side dishes such as potatoes, pasta and rice as well as in bread.

The daily amount of food should consist of around 50 to 60 percent carbohydrates. The remaining 40 to 50 percent are ideally made up of proteins and fats.

In some cases, the nutrient and calorie requirements cannot be met through a normal diet. For example, the need for calories in competitive athletes is significantly higher, so that it may be necessary to take high-calorie food with added maltodextrin.

Even if the body weight is too low, this type of sugar is often used to support weight gain . Due to its high nutritional value, it is possible to gain weight faster with maltodextrin.

Maltodextrin is derived from starch. Normal starch is a so-called polysaccharide (multiple sugar), which means it consists of many sugar molecules lined up next to each other (like a string of pearls).

The starch is broken down into short pieces by treatment with enzymes. The resulting maltodextrin is a mixture of short-chain sugars (differently sized parts of the string of pearls). Due to the shortened chain length, it is absorbed from the intestine into the blood just as quickly as the simple sugar glucose ( grape sugar ) .

Because it hardly tastes sweet, a large amount can be used without the sports nutrition (sports drinks, gels or bars) becoming unpleasantly sweet, for example. Because of their lower viscosity, solutions are also easier to drink than pure glucose solutions.

Another advantage is that maltodextrin can be sterilized (killing the germs to preserve it). Therefore, it can also be used for tube feedings with an extended shelf life.

intake, degradation and excretion

The sugar compound is quickly and completely absorbed from the intestine into the blood. After splitting, it is distributed throughout the body and used by the body’s cells to generate energy.

After the “ combustion ” in the cells, only water and carbon dioxide remain as decomposition products. The latter is exhaled through the lungs .

When is maltodextrin used?

The following areas of application apply to the sugar compound:

  • If your body weight is too low due to insufficient calorie intake
  • For calorie fortification of baby food
  • As an additive in food (often as a fat substitute or extender in “light” products)
  • In dietary supplements for athletes

This is how maltodextrin is applied

The sugar compound is usually taken daily in addition to other foods. The dose depends on the individual calorie requirement.

There are 95 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams of maltodextrin, which contain about 380 kilocalories (kcal). A tablespoon of this type of sugar therefore corresponds to around 38 kcal.

Tube feeding is usually bought as a ready-made product with the correct composition.

What are the side effects of maltodextrin?

The substance is generally very well tolerated. At very high levels, maltodextrin can cause side effects such as gastrointestinal problems.

Like almost all types of sugar, maltodextrin can promote the development of tooth decay if taken frequently .

What should be considered when taking maltodextrin?

Various starches can be used to make maltodextrin, including wheat starch. Like all types of grain, wheat contains the gluten protein, which people with gluten intolerance (such as celiac disease ) must avoid.

Many fear that maltodextrin obtained from wheat starch also contains gluten and should therefore not be consumed. However, that is not true: maltodextrin obtained from wheat starch is unproblematic in the case of gluten intolerance.

It is therefore also excluded from the allergen labeling for foods containing gluten.

How to get maltodextrin

Although maltodextrin is used by the pharmaceutical industry as an excipient in the manufacture of tablets, for example, it is neither an approved drug nor an active ingredient.

The sugar compound is available over the counter in pharmacies and drugstores.

More interesting facts about maltodextrin

The name maltodextrin is derived from two terms: “Malto” stands for maltose, the malt sugar, which consists of two glucose units. “Dextrin” stands for dextrose, another name for glucose (grape sugar).

This word combination is intended to make it clear that maltodextrin is a mixture of different short-chain sugars.

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