Maltodextrin – What is it Doing in Your Food?


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Maltodextrin is one of the most asked about ingredients found on food packaging. It is present in about 10% of packaged food products. So what exactly is maltodextrin? And why is it used in so many food products?

Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide (type of carbohydrate) that is used as a food additive.  It is produced from starches of corn, wheat, potatoes or rice through partial hydrolysis (chemical breakdown through the use of water).  Maltodextrin is a white powder and, depending on its source and processing, is either almost flavorless or slightly sweet. Wheat-derived maltodextrin may contain traces of gluten, but aside from that, maltodextrin is not an allergen.

Examples of maltodextrin use:

1. In dressings such as Wishbone Light Italian Dressing, as a thickener

Wishbone Salad Dressing

2. Sweeteners such as Splenda and Equal, to bulk up the sweetener which is usually just a tiny fraction of the product weight.


3. Some soft drinks.

Because of its slightly sweet taste, yet low glycemic index, people with diabetes can use maltodextrin as a sweetener.

Bottom line: Maltodextrin is a safe food additive used as a thickener and filler in processed foods.


  • Kerri

    Maltodextrin causes me to break out in hives – not a healthy product in my book!

    • Emily

      Raw apples send me into mild anaphylaxis. Being allergic to something does not make it unhealthy. I recognize that for the vast majority of the population, apples are safe and healthy. I also recognize that just because I have a reaction to something, it’s not Fooducate’s job to tell the rest of the population about me.

      • swalach

        Yes, just because some people are hyper sensitive to certain things does not necessarily make them bad. Maltodextrin is a much safer artificial sweetner than Aspartame, which is basically a chemical poison in your body. But due to the GMO’s, which most corn is these days, I’m not sure just how safe.

  • Elisa

    I am a regular reader of the Fooducate blog. I am little disappointed because I can’t tell how you how you came to the conclusion that maltodextrin is safe. What did you base your decision on? The manufacturing process? Are there any unbiased studies showing that it is safe?

  • Lilly

    I find this article to be highly irresponsible as well as unresearched. Maltodextrin which comes from corn is genetically modified, which means that it wreaks havoc with health. GMO foods can be: Allergenic; Toxic; Carcinogenic; Anti-nutritional (Mercola, I am puzzled by your reinforcement of a product which can’t help health, but can only hurt it.

    • Lancer

      GMO doesn’t = toxic, allergic,… You’re jumping to nonsense. GMO = genetically modified. Maybe it’s good for you, maybe not.

  • Aardvark37

    Lilly, many consider Dr. Mercola as less than a reliable source. I, for
    one, consider him dangerous for his opposition to child vaccination.
    Use him as a source for information if you want, but I urge you to check
    against other sources also.

    • Diana Attuso

      Why is Dr. Mercola consider a “less than reliable source”?

      • Aardvark37
    • PinHead PumperNickel

      NAH….Mercola knows more than anyone…..He’s right, Vaccines are toxic !!!

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  • Helen Adams

    I would certainly trust Dr Mercola before yourself!!!!
    Just how do you think you have the right to make statements without factual basis. I don’t want a reply from someone like you. So don’t.

  • MattCharisma

    Maltodextrin has a higher glycemic index than sugar?

  • No Starch 4 Me

    Maltodextrin is NOT a low glycemic food. It has a GI of 130. Whether or not it is naturally derived, it is still a processed starch, and that is exactly what is making this country fat! We eat starches from corn, rice, potatoes, and grains because they are cheap and the food manufacturers put them in everything. They cause our blood sugar to spike, and then our bodies store that glucose as fat. So, no, it is not a safe food additive (although the massive agribusiness industry wouldn’t want you to know that), especially not for diabetics. All artificial sweeteners should be avoided as well. They are highly acid-producing in the body. Get your carbs from raw veggies and fruit (no corn, wheat, rice, or potatoes), and avoid any processed foods with these ingredients, including maltodextrin.

  • Synthia Fagen

    Low glycemic index? No, it does not. WRONG.

  • Kerri

    Corn maltodextrin is a 99% chance GMO source; which is either roundup resistant (then heavily srayed with it) or pesticide in the corn, potato etc DNA, these cause cancer! Organic is non GMO. Don’t be fooled by what you are eating, the last 2 decades have been quite toxic. Demand change. Vote with your food purchases