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What Are Maltodextrin Effects?

Maltodextrin can be derived from potato and corn starches.
Bodybuilders use maltodextrin as a carbohydrate supplement to enhance energy during workouts.
One possible negative maltodextrin effect is rebound hypoglycemia.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that maltodextrin that is added to foods be derived from corn or potato starches, so it is gluten-free.
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  • Written By: Greer Hed
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
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Maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate produced from starch that is commonly used as a food additive. It may also be taken as a carbohydrate supplement to enhance workout performance. Exercise-related maltodextrin effects include increased energy and decreased pain from proteolysis after exercising. People suffering from Celiac disease or allergies to wheat, corn or potatoes may find that consumption of maltodextrin as a food additive leads to unwanted side effects. Other side effects of consumption may include unwanted weight gain and digestive problems, such as bloating and flatulence.

Beneficial effects of maltodextrin are largely related to its use as a carbohydrate supplement by athletes and bodybuilders. Maltodextrin is often taken in conjunction with dextrose, a simple sugar, to increase an athlete's energy. The combination of carbohydrates provides increased energy by maintaining increased glucose levels in the blood stream, giving the muscles a constant source of energy during the workout. Glycogen, or animal starch, is also not depleted as quickly when carbohydrates are consumed. Bodybuilders may also wish to take advantage of these effects for purposes of weight gain, as maltodextrin is caloric and easily absorbed by the body.

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One possible negative maltodextrin effect is rebound hypoglycemia. This occurs most often when maltodextrin is used as an exercise performance enhancer. In order to avoid a sudden decrease in blood sugar, it is important for those taking supplements to ingest the carbohydrates before the workout. To maintain blood sugar levels during the workout, carbohydrates should be taken at regular intervals.

As maltodextrin is a common additive in foods and is also used as a binding agent in some pharmaceuticals, most people regularly consume some with no adverse effects. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that maltodextrin that is added to foods be derived from corn or potato starches, so it is gluten-free. When this carbohydrate is produced elsewhere in the world, however, it may be derived from barley or wheat, which both contain gluten. Celiac disease sufferers should generally avoid consuming products that contain maltodextrin to avoid unwanted side effects.

Despite the fact that 1 gram of maltodextrin contains only four calories, consuming large amounts of carbohydrates regularly can still lead to unwanted weight gain. Many people also trace digestive problems back to the consumption of maltodextrin. These effects are related to the activity of naturally occurring, healthy bacteria in the colon. These bacteria become extremely active during the digestion of complex carbohydrates, which can lead to flatulence and bloating.

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anon353292
Post 13

I have been sick for three years. In the beginning it was from restaurant food. It got to the point where I just don't eat out any more. About 15-30 minutes after ingesting the food, I get very bloated and have extreme chest pain. I usually throw up for five hours until all the food is out of my system. During this time I also have soft stools, so I am usually sitting on the toilet at the same time.

I have had every kind of test possible, from ultrasounds, barium sallow, upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, HIDA scan, stomach emptying test and even had my gallbladder removed. My doctor finally put me on a new medicine which seems to be helping. It is dicyclomine, which is used to treat IBS. My doctor seems to think that my bowel is having spasms.

I have an appointment with an allergy doctor in a few months. I am pretty sure I have an allergy to maltodextrin because every time I eat it I get sick. Unfortunately, I ate Doritos chips last night without looking at the ingredients and this morning my left eye is swollen.

anon330265
Post 12

I am also starting to believe that I am having severe muscle cramps from maltodextrin. Yesterday I ate all fruits and vegetables and then ate some potato chips with just four ingredients (potato, oil, vinegar and potato maltodextrin). I got very severe cramps last night and am researching maltodextrin now.

anon307733
Post 11

My daughter has celaic disease. I have her on a gluten free, wheat free, yeast free, and egg free diet. Will maltodextrin affect her migraines? She has suffered from migraines for 11 years and seems to be getting worse.

anon304169
Post 10

Has anyone had problems with muscle cramps from maltodextrin. Through a long process of trial and error, I have come to believe the severe muscle cramps I experience in my calf muscles are from maltodextrin. I'm not sure why, but my guess is that my body tries to convert it to muscle fuel glycogen and for some reason, my muscles can't properly use it and begin to cramp.

anon269258
Post 9

If you're worried about maltodextrin, the easiest way to avoid it is to avoid processed foods.

However, I don't avoid it. I go to the gym five days a week and supplement afterward with what is called a Weight Gainer. It is a protein shake containing 700 calories and 130 carbs. Most of these calories come from Maltodextrin. The rest of my meals are home cooked using all fresh foods. I have been supplementing this way for years and have had no side effects.

anon246479
Post 8

My son has eosinaphilic colitis and when he eats products with maltodextrin in it he is very ill for a week after. He has had diarrhea for a year and half now and cutting out maltodextrin has helped with his gas build ups and upset tummy.

anon171499
Post 7

Maltodextrin has many side effects and it's in your food vitamins and meds. Bloating, anxiety, racing heart, confusion, dizziness, fatigue, weight gain, weak feeling, chest pain, etc. Fast foods and restaurants use it frequently. The same is true for MS Glutamate and many more additives.

anon151319
Post 6

Garden Turtle, I have a very odd side effect after taking maltodextrin in medications. It depresses my immune system and if I do not realise at once that can become depressed.

anon145229
Post 5

I too discovered that I have adverse side affects from eating foods with maltodextrin, which include severe boating/stomach distention.

Since it is used as a filler in many foods, you have to read food labels very carefully. I found it in steamer vegetables, cream of mushroom soup (a store brand), in addition to many foods labeled "low sugar."

anon125824
Post 3

I have adverse reactions to maltodextrin. Mainly an upset stomach and nausea. It took years for me to discover that it was maltodextrin causing this feeling. I almost always have a happy, balanced digestive system with no food allergies. Unfortunately, maltodextrin has been creeping into more and more foods so read all your labels of ingredients carefully.

dill1971
Post 2

@gardenturtle: Many people have questioned the health benefits and/or side effects of maltodextrin. A study was done on people using maltodextrin and its effects. It was determined that, when used properly, there were no differences observed in the people that used it.

Many of the questionable side effects were dizziness, hypoglycemia, headache, upset stomach, and fatigue.

You should only be concerned if you are on a high carbohydrate diet because of the possibility of an insulin spike.

GardenTurtle
Post 1

I have heard several different things about maltodextrin. My sister says that it can have bad side effects. I was concerned about that.

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