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Maltodextrin: Why don't I like it?

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By David Liu, PHD

Sunday Nov 18, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Maltodextrin is an oligosaccharide that is derived from corn starch and widely used in processed foods/beverages like sodas and candy and dietary supplements as a filler or dispersing agent.  Maltodextrin can be a series of oligosaccharides with a sweetness determined by its dextrose equivalent (DE) value.  A high DE maltodextrin has a sweeter taste.  In addition to its taste, a maltodextrin can render a specific desirable physical property.

In the U.S., the majority of maize has been genetically modified, that is, corn starch used to make maltodextrin is likely genetically modified or a GM corn product.  As much as 70 or 75% maize in the U.S. is genetically modified.

Enzymes are often used to make maltodextrin from corn starch.  Enzymes can be produced by microbes that are genetically modified.

Some studies have shown genetically modified foods may pose some health risks such as having a damaging effect on the reproductive system although the magnitude of the risk from using maltodextrin is hard to be quantified.

These are two reasons why I personally do not buy foods or dietary supplements with maltodextrin present if I have an option.  The choice is personal and there is no evidence suggesting that using foods with maltodextrin causes any harm.

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