Thursday, September 26, 2013

Calories in Maltodextrin

Maltodextrin is a common ingredient in many ready-to-drink protein shakes and sports drinks. However, if you are looking at weight loss as your primary goal, you would find it convenient not to consume the same in high content. Why? Well, let's find out.

Maltodextrin is an ingredient that is prevalent in several ready-to-drink protein shakes and sports drinks that are centered towards aiding you to make your body taut and strong. It is one ingredient widely accepted and ingested for weightlifting and athletic activities. This is so because maltodextrin consists of complex carbohydrates that can be digested quickly, with greater ease. However, if you are not keen on bodybuilding and weightlifting, you may not be interested in consuming the content in large amounts as it has high-glycemic carbohydrates to contribute.

Defining Maltodextrin

Maltodextrin is a dietary supplement that is added in many ready-to-drink protein shakes that aid bodybuilders, weightlifters and athletes. Maltodextrin is also a common additive to a number of foods. It is classified as a sweet polysaccharide. It does contain some sweetness to deliver to the dish it is added, however, the number of calories that you adopt while you consume sugar in place of maltodextrin are comparatively much lesser. Thus, maltodextrin can be used in a number of recipes to concoct a dish controlled in delivering sweetness.

Nutrition Facts about Maltodextrin

Maltodextrin is essentially considered to be a carbohydrate. Maltodextrin as mentioned earlier is easily digestible. With this statement, I make it very clear that maltodextrin is a safe dietary supplement that can be consumed without any health issues cropping up. With ailments and conditions such as diabetes, one is able to manage and control the diabetes levels with greater efficiency. Maltodextrin is a corn-derived oligosaccharide source of carbohydrates. Oligosaccharides contain between 3 and 20 linked sugars, but they qualify as complex carbohydrates.

Maltodextrin is made from rice, corn or potato starch. It is produced by cooking down the starch that is achieved through the addition of potatoes. The natural enzymes and acids work further to breakdown the starch content through the process of hydrolysis of starch. What we receive is a white colored powder. Maltodextrin powder may approximately contain 4 calories per gram, thereby, containing 380 calories per 100 gm, when administered in a drink or added in food. There are negligible amounts of protein and fiber contributing to the supplement.

Benefits of Maltodextrin

Carbohydrates play a huge role in helping you win the battle against weight issues. Carbohydrates are a primary source of fuel for the body. Maltodextrin consists of and delivers fast-digesting carbohydrates that help in increasing the hormone insulin, which triggers more of the sugars to get stored as body fat. You may think that maltodextrin has no role to play in a weight loss diet, however, its effects on insulin levels can prove advantageous if you use it at the right times and in the right amounts.

Maltodextrin can prove to be a convenient source of high-glycemic carbohydrates that you can add to homemade protein shakes, fruit drinks or milkshakes. Maltodextrin predominantly appears in weight-gainer and post-workout recovery formulas. If you supply proper nutrients for muscle recovery after a workout, maltodextrin allows the body to burn fat more effectively. Muscles that have been cannibalized due to a heavy and rigorous workout can also be repaired and recovered to facilitate the efficient and effective workouts the following day. Thus, muscle fatigue is well-tackled with the intake of maltodextrin.

If you want to use maltodextrin around the kitchen, it can be found in products for making instant puddings and flavored gelatins. The sweet taste that it delivers, makes it a healthier cousin of sugar, thereby, making it ideal for use in sweetening tea, coffee, and powdered soft drinks. Maltodextrin can also be used as a thickening agent in a number of sauces and salad dressings. If you want your broth to be thick and creamy, you are free to use maltodextrin and enjoy your meals without worrying about the calorie intake.

By Azmin Taraporewala


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Side Effects of Maltodextrin Sucralose

Candy sweetened with sucralose and maltodextrin can affect your blood sugar.
Photo Credit Images
Sucralose and malodextrin are artificial sweeteners often used together as sugar substitutes in processed and prepared foods. Even though it is a natural substance that comes from sugar, sucralose is a processed sweetener. Maltodextrin is a carbohydrate made from corn, potato or rice starch. It's used as a thickener in the processing of food products to increase the volume.

Sucralose and maltodextrin are used to reduce the number of calories you get in a variety of products, from chewing gum to soda pop and canned fruit. It's a popular and attractive alternative to regular sugar because it provides sweetness in only a fraction of the amount you need to get the same taste from regular sugar. It's inexpensive to process and can help you lose weight.

In general, sugar substitutes are considered safe, according to the Mayo Clinic. When used in moderate amounts, even pregnant women are safe using products made with sucralose. As a filler, maltodextrin is an all-natural ingredient that is easily digestible and has the same amount of calories as sugar carbohydrates, about four calories per gram.

Blood Sugar
Maltodextrin affects blood sugar in the same way other carbs do, especially when consumed in large amounts. Sucralose on the other hand, does not affect blood sugar levels and is considered a "free food" for diabetics, according to the Mayo Clinic. It's the combination that may cause spikes in insulin because maltodextrin is a carbohydrate with a high glycemic index, similar to table sugar and should be used in moderation if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia. You must consider the carbohydrate content of products sweetened with added maltodextrin to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

False Security
When you eat sweets, regardless of the source of the sweetness, your brain elicits neurotransmitters similar to those secreted when you eat pure sugar. As a result, you may continue to incur cravings and an increased appetite for the substance even though you're consuming calorie-free versions of the food. Additionally, according to Bauman College, you may be lulled into thinking the food you're eating is healthy because of its low sugar content when in actuality, you are consuming large amounts of refined and processed carbohydrates in the maltodextrin fillers, refined flour and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used in the manufacturing process. Both psychologically and physically, you actually may be sabotaging any weight loss efforts by substituting real sugar with so-called healthy alternatives.


Mysterious Maltodextrin

Woman reading label.Have you ever scrutinized a food label? Ever notice the term maltodextrin? One of my clients with PCOS recently asked me about it and I decided to do a little investigating. I never thought much about maltodextrin but have since noticed it in many food products, including some artificial sweeteners, salad dressings, pudding, etc. Some of these products even claim they don't contain carbohydrates. The question remains...what is maltodextrin and what effect does it have on your body?

What is maltodextrin?
Maltodextrins are made from natural corn, rice or potato starch. The starch is cooked, and then acid and/or enzymes are used to break the starch into smaller polymers. This process is similar to how the body digests carbohydrates. Basically, it is an easily digested form of carbohydrate. It comes in a white powder with a mildly sweet taste and is used in processed foods as a thickener, or a filler since it's fairly inexpensive. It's often used to create additional volume to a food product (such as in confections or some packets of artificial sweeteners) without altering flavor.

Where is it found?
Maltodextrins are found in many different foods, including canned fruits, snacks, confectionery, desserts, nutritional beverages, instant pudding, flavored gelatins, sauces and salad dressings. It is also used in sweetening some teas, coffee, and powdered soft drinks. Maltodextrins may also be an ingredient in the single-serve, table-top packet of some sugar substitutes such as Splenda and Equal. It is also used in pharmaceuticals as a binding agent. So you can see that maltodextrins are a popular ingredient in our food supply. Check some of the food labels on products in your cabinets and refrigerator for the word maltodextrin.

Effects of maltodextrin on blood sugar
Maltodextrin is a carbohydrate and will have an effect on your blood sugar. It contains the same amount of carbohydrate and calories as sugar (4 calories per gram). It's easily digested and is absorbed even more rapidly than glucose. Maltodextrin has a glycemic effect of 106 - 136 (depending upon what chart you read) as compared to table sugar (sucrose) which has a glycemic effect of 65 and glucose which has a glycemic index of 100. So obviously, maltodextrin will affect your blood sugar, and in turn, your insulin levels. However, the degree as to how maltodextrin will affect blood sugar depends upon the quantity of it in the food product. Here's the problem - maltodextrin is included in the total carbohydrate content, so you really can't tell how much maltodextrin is in the product.
So how can products that are supposedly sugar free contain maltodextrin? Take the example of Equal. If you read the label, you will see it contains maltodextrin. Yet, the label says Equal contains less than one gram of carbohydrate. This is because while maltodextrin is added to bulk this product, only very small amounts are used - less than one gram of maltodextrin and glucose are added. So in reality, it shouldn't have much of an effect on your blood sugar because the amount is so small. However, it is possible that if MANY packets are consumed, it could have an effect on blood sugar levels.
Misinformation on maltodextrin
In my research for this article, I came across several websites that said maltodextrin has a minimal impact on blood sugar and was great for diabetics because it was broken down very slowly. Another site said it had shown a "much lower release into the bloodstream than typical sugar." Now you all know the real scoop - maltodextrin has a similar impact on your blood sugar as compared to sugar - it even has a higher glycemic index!

Molecule model.Starch resistant maltodextrin
Now things get a little confusing. There is another kind of maltodextrin that is called "resistant" or maltodextrin-soluble fiber. This type of maltodextrin has a much lower glycemic. It was developed by using natural enzymes to transform the linkages between glucose molecules in conventional maltodextrin to a form that is not digested in the upper digestive tract. Since it isn't digested, it contains minimal calories and carbohydrate and has a negligible effect on blood sugar. One product that I found this type of maltodextrin in is Fibersol-2. But for the most part, we should assume that maltodextrin in the majority of products is not starch resistant maltodextrin.

Bottom Line: What does maltodextrin mean for women with PCOS?
Many women with PCOS, especially those women who are insulin resistant, are following lower glycemic index diets. As most of you know, a low glycemic diet is one that contains only moderate amounts of carbohydrates and focuses on carbs that digest more slowly. Slower digesting carbs, such as legumes, most vegetables and many whole grains, will cause a slower rise of blood sugar, which in turn will cause less insulin to be secreted. Compare this to rapidly digested carbs such as sugar and processed or "white" carbs - which cause a more rapid increase of blood sugar, thus triggering the pancreas to produce more insulin. The last thing a women with PCOS wants is an increase in insulin production.
Maltodextrin is a natural product. It is not dangerous and has been approved as safe for consumption. However, it is a carbohydrate with a high glycemic index and can have an impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels. It is important that you are aware of this as maltodextrin is a very common ingredient in food products.
At this point, I wouldn't say that you have to totally avoid products with maltodextrin. Just be aware of the carb content of that product. And very importantly, pay attention to how you feel after consuming these products. Do they make you hungrier? Do you find that you are gaining weight? If so, you may want to avoid or at least limit them.
Martha McKittrick RD,CDN, CDE
Marth McKittrick

About the author
Martha McKittrick, RD, CDN, CDE is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and certified dietitian-nutritionist. She specializes in weight control, hyperlipidemia, polycystic ovarian syndrome, diabetes and preventative nutrition. In her capacity as a staff dietitian at The New York Presbyterian Hospital for the past 20 years, she also counsels clients privately and is a consultant to physicians, corporations and health clubs
She was the nutritionist for the 1998 NYC Marathon. In addition to being an avid cyclist and runner, she was an exercise instructor and personal treainer in NYC for 15 years.
Martha has appeared on numerous television and radio shows and webcasts. She lectures on a regular basis and has been interviewed and written for publications including Allure, Self, Family Circle, New York Newsday, The Journal of The American Dietetic Association, Dietitian's Edge, Nutrition Today.
For the past several years, Martha has been specializing in polycystic ovarian syndrome. She is on the medical advisory board for the PCOSA and is on the editorial advisory board for PCOS Pavilion of OBGYN.NET. She lectured on diet and PCOS at the PCOSA conferences in San Diego, 6/00 and NYC 9/00.
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