People are becoming more aware of what is being passed off as food these days and are questioning the use of MSG, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats etc.etc.etc.
But maltodextrin is found everywhere from your supplements to your beer, your junk food to your spice mixes and so much more, yet still flying under many people’s radar.
Almost 20 years ago I became aware of this now ubiquitous additive now in our foods when working as a personal trainer.
You see Maltodextrin is often in protein powders used by bodybuilders and other athletes, as it is a quickly digested carbohydrate that supposedly helps the body build muscle post-workout. Which, by the way, is no reason for the average person to take these powders – but that is a conversation for another day.
I saw many people consuming those “meal replacement shakes” for weight loss/muscle building. Yes I did too – briefly – but quit after I developed gut “issues” assuming it was the dairy. Not knowing to ask back then and in light of this information I can’t help but wonder how many people in the gym experienced GI upset. Maybe you or someone you know has had a similar experience. As an aside these products often also contain carrageenan - you should read about that too.
Maltodextrin everywhere because we us it as a filler, thickener, texturizer, or coating agent. It is commonly used for the production of sodas and candy and most other Ultra Processed Foods (UPF) but is also found in beer to improve mouthfeel and increase head retention. It is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose, and can be either moderately sweet (85-135 on glycemic index) or almost flavorless.
Maltodextrin can be created from any starchy grain and in the US it is mostly derived from corn and herein lies one problem.
Over 95% of corn grown in this country has been genetically modified with genes from a naturally occurring, soil-borne bacteria that has been used as a pesticide for decades. Bacillus thuringiensis produces a substance known as BT toxin which has never been assessed for the long term health effects on humans. There is much speculation on how this affects the human gut microbiome, so while we are waiting for definitive studies (that may never come) I ask you to consider this...Does it seem wise to consume a modified plant that has bacterial genes placed into its DNA to produce a toxin that paralyzes and dissolves the gut of the pests that chew on it?
Your gut microbiome is your first line of defense against pathogenic (disease creating) microbes. The balance of good and bad bacteria within us is widely believed to be associated with health or a host of diseases namely those of the autoimmune variety (i.e. MS, AS, RA, Crohn’s, etc)
Back to Maltodextrin
A variety of studies are linking the consumption of Maltodextrin to inflammatory bowel disease and other symptoms associated with IBS.
Here is one such conclusion - Maltodextrin..."impairs cellular anti-bacterial responses and suppresses intestinal anti-microbial defense mechanisms”.
I for one try to eat a few packaged foods as possible. If you read labels I would start paying closer attention to this nasty additive.
Some of the many foods where you’ll find Maltodextrin
If you or someone you know is experiencing GI distress whether it is IBS or something more serious like Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis, please share this article with them. If you found this information useful please leave a comment
Eat well stay well,
Dr. Jerome Craig, DC, Functional Medicine Practitioner
" Maltodextrin impairs cellular anti-bacterial responses and suppresses intestinal anti-microbial defense mechanisms".
Crohn’s disease-associated adherent-invasive Escherichia coli adhesion is enhanced by exposure to the ubiquitous dietary polysaccharide maltodextrin. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3520894/
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Food Additives: To Add Fuel on the Flames! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567822/#B24-nutrients-11-01111
Dr. Jerome Craig, DC