The high GI of maltodextrin means it can cause spikes in your blood sugar level
, especially if it’s consumed in large amounts. Because of this, you may want to avoid or limit it if you have diabetes
or insulin resistance
. It should also be avoided if you’re predisposed to developing diabetes
. Another reason to limit maltodextrin is to keep your gut bacteria
healthy. According to a 2012 study
published in PLoS ONE, maltodextrin can change your gut bacteria composition in a way that makes you more susceptible to disease. It can suppress the growth of probiotics
in your digestive system, which are important for immune system function. The same study showed that maltodextrin can increase the growth of bacteria such as E. coli
, which is associated with autoimmune disorders
like Crohn’s disease
. If you’re at risk for developing an autoimmune or digestive
disorder, then avoiding maltodextrin may be a good idea.
Maltodextrin and gluten
If you’re on a gluten-free diet
, you may be concerned about maltodextrin because it has “malt” in the name. Malt is made from barley
, so it contains gluten. However, maltodextrin is gluten-free, even when it’s made from wheat. According to the advocacy group Beyond Celiac
, the processing that wheat starches undergo in the creation of maltodextrin renders it gluten-free. So if you have celiac disease
or if you’re on a gluten-free diet, you can still consume maltodextrin.
Maltodextrin and weight loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, you will want to avoid maltodextrin. It’s essentially a sweetener and a carbohydrate with no nutritional value, and it causes an increase in blood sugar. The levels of sugar in maltodextrin can lead to weight gain.
Maltodextrin and genetically modified foods
Finally, because it’s often used as a cheap thickener or filler, maltodextrin is usually manufactured from genetically modified (GMO) corn. According to the FDA
, GMO corn is safe, and it meets all of the same standards as non-genetically modified plants. But if you choose to avoid GMO, that doesn’t mean you need to avoid all foods that contain maltodextrin. Any food that’s labeled organic
in the United States must also be GMO-free.