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What is maltodextrin?

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April 11, 2016 9:40AM

Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive. It is produced from starch and is usually found as a creamy-white hygroscopic powder. Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose, and might either be moderately sweet or might have hardly any flavor at all. The CAS registry number of maltodextrin is 9050-36-6. Maltodextrin can be derived from any starch. In the US, this starch is usually rice, corn or potato; elsewhere, such as in Europe, it is commonly wheat. This is important for coeliacs, since the wheat-derived maltodextrin can contain traces of gluten. There have been recent reports of coeliac reaction to maltodextrin in the United States. This might be a consequence of the shift of corn to ethanol production and its replacement with wheat in the formulation. Wendy's, the fast food chain footnotes maltodextrin in its list of gluten-free foods [1], which may be a sign of their receiving reports of these. Other authorities on gluten maintain the source does not matter because maltodextrin is such a highly processed ingredient that the protein is removed, rendering it gluten free. If wheat is used to make maltodextrin, it will appear on the label. Even so, the maltodextrin will be gluten free.