Maltodextrin – what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports

Maltodextrin is known as a substitute for sugar and starch in foods. Carbohydrate is used as a component in children’s and sports nutrition, in nutrition and cosmetology. Nutritionists pay attention to the fact that a substance can both bring benefits to the body and some harm in certain cases of use.

Maltodextrin – what is it

Maltodextrin is a multicomponent mixture of fast carbohydrates , also known as molasses and dextrinmaltose, consisting of glucose, maltose, maltotriose and dextrin molecules. With complete breakdown of the substance, glucose is formed. It is obtained by enzymatic degradation of starch of plant origin.

In most cases, corn starch, often made from genetically modified corn, is used for this. Rice, wheat and potato starches are also used as raw materials. Enzymes break down an elongated chain of starch, consisting of glucose, into fragments (dextrins) containing from 2 to 20 glucose molecules. Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports

Maltodextrin has a rather high glycemic index (105-136), which is due to the gastrokinetic properties of the substance, the polysaccharides of which can quickly enter the intestine, intensively absorbing blood.

The substance looks like a colorless syrup, resembling the consistency of honey or caramel paste. When dried, it turns into a white or light cream powder, odorless, sweet in taste. It is well dissolved in water of any temperature. It enters the market mainly in the form of a powder, which, when rubbed with hands, resembles starch in consistency.

Depending on the production method and the raw materials, as well as its quality, different batches of maltodextrin may differ in 3 important points.

These are the following options:

  1. Dextrose equivalent (DE) is an indicator of the reduction ability of a product relative to glucose per 100 g. dry matter (DE glucose is 100). The deeper hydrolysis of starch was carried out during the preparation of the mixture, the higher its DE. In a powder product, this indicator can be in the range of 1-19 units, in syrups it can be much higher (up to 90 or more). Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports
  2. Relative sweetness is an indicator of the sweetness of a substance with respect to sucrose. It is in the range of 0.1-0.5. There is an interdependence with the DE index; the higher this index, the higher the relative sweetness coefficient.
  3. Physiological consistency (particle size and bulk density of the product). The smaller the particles of the substance, the faster and easier they will mix with other components of the product without separation. Bulk density saves space during storage and transportation of the product.

The most important functional properties of maltodextrin:

  • participation in creating the structure of the product (can affect the density and viscosity, act as an emulsifier);
  • increasing the overall intensity of taste;
  • increased sensation of sweetness;
  • inhibits the crystallization of sugar;
  • serves as a substitute for fat;
  • increases the volume of the product;
  • allows you to get a quick flow of energy.

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Where is the substance

Maltodextrin can often be found in conventional foods. It is part of many instant foods, used as a substitute for fat. Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports

The list of products in which you can find this carbohydrate:

  • carbonated drinks;
  • instant cereals;
  • concentrated soups;
  • sauces and salad dressings;
  • semi-finished meat products;
  • sausages and smoked meats;
  • ice cream;
  • sweets and marmalade;
  • canned fruits and vegetables;
  • bakery products;
  • cereals;
  • chips;
  • frozen yogurts;
  • energetic drinks;
  • nutritional bars;
  • sports nutrition;
  • milk powder and baby food.

Food manufacturers prefer to use this carbohydrate for the following reasons:

  1. Serves as a preservative and increases the shelf life of the product.
  2. Easy to mix with other food ingredients.
  3. Helps to obtain the necessary density of the product with a uniform consistency.
  4. Increases product weight.
  5. It is a relatively inexpensive carbohydrate.

Properties of the substance. How does it affect the body

Maltodextrin is a largely useful substance that is characterized by such a number of positive qualities:

  • has a natural origin;
  • helps to lower cholesterol in the blood;
  • due to the high glucose content, energizes;
  • has a higher digestibility than starches.

The use of a substance in food does not pose a threat to a healthy person, but is contraindicated for people suffering from diabetes and high degrees of obesity.

Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports
Maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate, a sugar substitute. It has a number of specific features, which determines the wide scope of its application in a number of industries, such as, for example, the food industry (cooking, children’s, sports, diabetic nutrition).

Although this complex carbohydrate is not classified as sugar, which allows manufacturers to label it “sugar free”, it nevertheless has the same effect on the body as regular sugar, dramatically increasing blood glucose levels and contributing to the deposition of body fat.

For persons with an allergic reaction to gluten, it is recommended to avoid the use of maltodextrin derived from wheat starch.

What is it used for

Maltodextrin – this complex carbohydrate is not a food supplement (category E), which allows it to be attributed to food products.

In the compositions of products where it is present, it can also be found under other names, such as:

  • syrup; Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports
  • glucose;
  • grape or starch sugar;
  • dextrose;
  • dextrinmaltose.

Maltodextrin is used in several areas:

  1. Cooking . It has a wide front of application, descr
    ibed below.
  2. Pharmacology . Used as a prebiotic, as an inert excipient, to sweeten certain drugs.
  3. Cosmetics. It is used to increase viscosity and increase shelf life in the production of shampoos, gels, creams.
  4. Sports nutrition. Maltodextrin is a powerful source of carbohydrates.
  5. Another application of maltodextrin is to spray it with a solution of fruits and berries, which protects them from pests, maintains freshness, and provides a presentation in storage and transportation.

Possible harm and side effects

The negative properties of the product include:

  • the presence of a high glycemic index;
  • negative impact on the intestinal microflora, increasing its vulnerability to infections;
  • contributes to overweight;
  • lack of nutritional value;
  • it is not ruled out the production of a product from raw materials containing GMOs.

There are 4 side effects that are often observed with the regular use of maltodextrin as a dietary supplement:

  1. Having a high glycemic index, carbohydrates can cause a sharp increase in blood sugar. It is easily absorbed and quickly enters the bloodstream. It is dangerous for people with a predisposition to diabetes mellitus or insulin resistance. Possible so-called reverse hypoglycemia, expressed in a sharp decrease in blood sugar.
  2. It can affect the bacterial composition of the intestine, negatively affecting the growth of beneficial probiotics , which can be expressed in flatulence and bloating due to increased bacterial activity. It contributes to the survival of salmonella, which in turn can lead to a number of chronic inflammatory diseases and enhance autoimmune disorders in the body. Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports
  3. Allergic reactions may occur. Thus, studies have confirmed that the use of maltodextrin can provoke a number of gastrointestinal problems, such as gas formation, boiling, diarrhea. Allergic skin irritation was noted. The manufacturers of the substance assure that maltodextrin cannot contain gluten and corn gluten, because in the processing of grain starch and proteins are completely separated, therefore, in the production of maltodextrin, starch, free of protein impurities, is used. However, experts are confident that we can only talk about reducing the gluten content in the manufactured product, but not its complete absence.
  4. Weight gain. This factor is due to the fact that maltodextrin has the same effect on the body as regular sugar, having a high glycemic index, with an almost complete absence of nutrients in its composition, a complex carbohydrate promotes the deposition of body fat.

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The use of maltodextrin

In cooking

Has a wide front of use, used as:

  • emulsifier and thickener to improve the consistency of products;
  • baking powder in the production of flour products (powder mixtures, dough);
  • an element that improves the solubility of instant products;
  • an ingredient that slows down color changes in products during oxidation;
  • sweetener for sauces and pastries;
  • forming ingredient in jelly products;
  • a stimulant of beneficial microflora in the intestine, an improvement in digestibility.

As part of baby food

Maltodextrin – what is it in baby food. It is included in moderate concentration in cereals and mashed potatoes for infants, since it has a number of positive qualities directly for children of this age. Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports

These positive properties are as follows:

  • high digestibility, including acceleration of protein assimilation;
  • the possibility of replacing sugar;
  • has resistance to digestion by gastric juice, improves gastrointestinal motility;
  • good source of energy;

With excessive use, it can adversely affect the intestinal microflora, but in baby food its amount is balanced. Baby food manufacturers have their own reasons to include maltodextrin in marketed products.

They are guided by the following considerations:

  • carbohydrate increases the satiety of products in which it is used, replacing sugar and starch in them;
  • used as a thickener;
  • easily dissolves without forming lumps;
  • increases the shelf life of the product;
  • mixes well with other components;
  • differs in simplicity in production;
  • carbohydrates are cheap enough.

Maltodextrin does not represent a pronounced harm to the health of the child. If the product contains this carbohydrate, which has a sweet taste, the manufacturer has a legal opportunity to write on the package that the porridge or infant formula does not contain sugar.

In reality, when this product is eaten, the concentration of glucose in the blood turns out to be the same as with ordinary sugar.

This fact indicates a contraindication to the use of products with this supplement by children with a diagnosis of diabetes.

A number of manufacturers claim that the carbohydrate they offer even lowers blood sugar, because in their production it is processed by acids and enzymes, and is exposed to heat. But while there is no official confirmation of this information.

With frequent use of maltodextrin in baby food, the following consequences may occur:

  • digestive problems, worsening intestinal microflora, flatulence, colic;
  • decrease in resistance to infectious diseases;
  • weight gain in excess of the age norm;
  • hypovitaminosis (depletion of one’s own reserves of vitamin and minerals);
  • allergic reactions in case of gluten intolerance (celiac disease).

Children allergic to wheat and corn should be protected from products containing maltodextrin derived from the starches of these products.

When purchasing baby food, you should pay attention to the country of production. Typically, food produced in Europe contains maltodextrin derived from wheat. Products from the USA and Canada have maltodextrin made from corn starch.

As part of sports nutrition

Maltodextrin – what is it in sports nutrition. This is not a dope, it is officially approved for use. Since maltodextrin breaks down faster than regular glucose and is evenly distributed throughout the body, manufacturers and consumers of sports nutrition are particularly interested in it. Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports

It is produced as
an independent drug, which is a source of carbohydrates, and is also used as an auxiliary substance in complex mixtures and products.

A complex carbohydrate is used as part of sports nutrition (included in gainers – special sports nutritional supplements) before and after training in order to gain muscle mass, maintain and restore strength.

The drug is especially effective in sports where active muscular work is required under conditions of increased aerobic exercise.

Because carbohydrate is of particular interest to the following athletes:

  • cyclists;
  • rowers;
  • swimmers
  • sprinters;
  • boxers and wrestlers;
  • representatives of game sports (hockey, basketball, football, etc.);
  • tennis players;
  • powerlifters and others

Athletes need to use maltodextrin on days of training and competition, otherwise an overdose of carbohydrates in the body may occur. At high aerobic exercise, it is preferable to use it before and during training, since it is able to maintain normal blood sugar levels for a long time. Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports

In sports nutrition, maltodextrin is used together with whey protein, as it facilitates the penetration of protein into muscle cells by amino acids.

For weight loss

It is recommended to avoid excessive consumption of foods rich in maltodextrin for people who are overweight and have a sedentary lifestyle. The same recommendations apply to pregnant and lactating women.

Maltodextrin – what is it for people who want to lose weight. There is a method of losing weight using maltodextrin. The bottom line is: with frequent and fractional nutrition, a small portion of a dietary product containing this carbohydrate is added to each meal.

This is done in order to constantly maintain a certain level of glucose in the blood without sharp fluctuations, which prevents the deposition of fat reserves.

In bodybuilding

Maltodextrin is very popular among bodybuilders, as it helps to maintain high blood glucose during training, which significantly increases the effectiveness of training. Its other advantage is the facilitation of rapid muscle building.

If there are no contraindications (predisposition to diabetes, allergic reactions), the use of maltodextrin in sports nutrition is considered justified and safe.

Manufacturers and distributors of the product often recommend it as an optimal source of carbohydrates, which is not entirely true. Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports

The best effect is achieved with the use of carbohydrate immediately after training, which prevents athletes from losing some of the muscle fibers. One serving – 2-3 tablespoons of powder, which is 60-90 gr. You can cook the gainer yourself by mixing 1 part protein with 3 parts maltodextrin.

In pharmacology

In pharmacology, maltodextrin is actively used in the manufacture of drugs as an inert auxiliary substance, it simplifies the addition of ingredients with minimal dosages. Manufacturers of dietary supplements highly appreciate the ability of maltodextrin to stimulate the growth of intestinal microflora.

In cosmetology

Maltodextrin, what is it in cosmetology. The substance, as a structure-forming and auxiliary, is used in the manufacture of a number of cosmetic products, such as balms, blush, powders, powders. An important component of the ingredient is in creams designed to cleanse pores and nourishing masks. Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports

He is present in some brands of toothpastes. In cosmetology, the preference for use is given to maltodextrin, which has a low DE, since with such indicators, its ability to structure formation and regulate the viscosity of aqueous solutions is realized to the greatest extent.

In cosmetology, the following characteristics of maltodextrin are significant:

  • acts as a viscosity regulator and auxiliary thickening agent;
  • exhibits anti-crystallization ability, which helps to increase the freezing temperature of the final product;
  • endowed with a fixing function and the ability to enhance the aroma of the final product;
  • acts as a hydrocolloid, showing moisturizing properties;
  • allows to facilitate and improve the processes of dissolution of protein hydrolyzate and protein.

Particular attention is drawn to the use of maltodextrin in the production of creams of anti-aging series due to its ability to improve skin nutrition and reduce facial wrinkles.


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Top 5 Best Maltodextrin Substitutes

For problems with sugar and overweight, it makes sense to exclude foods containing complex multicomponent carbohydrates, such as maltodextrin, from consumption and try to replace them with more natural and healthy counterparts.

These may include the following products:

  1. Stevia . This natural sweetener is made from the leaves of a plant of the same name. There are 3 varieties of the product on the market: green leaf, extract, altered stevia. The most natural product, less than others subject to processing, is a green leaf. Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports
  2. Pectin. A natural product obtained primarily from fruits (apples, pears, plums, citrus fruits), as well as vegetables and seeds. Used as a thickener, stabilizer, gelling component. It has a high fiber content, which positively affects the digestive system. Binds and removes cholesterol, fats and toxins from the body.
  3. Guar gum. It is obtained by extracting the seeds of a leguminous crop of guar (pea tree), growing in India. Used as a thickener. It has a feature – to slow down the absorption of glucose, which is a positive thing for people who have high cholesterol and a tendency to diabetes.
  4. Honey. Fresh honey that has not been filtered and pasteurized is especially valuable. It has high digestibility, contains a high percentage of natural sugars. It positively affects the immune system, increasing the level of antioxidants in the body. Maltodextrin - what is it, composition, benefits and harms, areas of application in medicine, nutrition, cosmetology, sports
  5. Dates. Rich in trace elements (potassium, copper, magnesium, iron, manganese) and vitamin B6. Contribute to a more complete
    absorption of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

Specialists in dietetics and medicine note that it is impossible to unequivocally treat such a substance as maltodextrin, this will be a mistake. Obviously, it can have both a positive and negative effect on the body, depending on the method of use, additional nutrition ingredients, human health and many other factors.

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