Are there any real maltodextrin dangers you need to be concerned about? There’s been a lot of awareness about MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils, but maltodextrin is in a lot more products and has flown under the radar for quite some time.
My Early Struggles and Old Way of Thinking
I used to think that all supplements were created equal and that the ingredients didn’t matter as long as it came from a well known company. I struggled with knowing what was really in the food I was buying, but was looking for answers since I wanted what was best for my body.
The increasing use of maltodextrin as a cheap filler in everyday products has really changed the way I think about food additives and I wanted to share that information with you as well.
The Top 3 Maltodextrin Dangers You Should Know About
1.) Maltodextrin From GMO-Corn
Almost all the maltodextrin used in health foods, vitamins, and supplements are derived from genetically modified corn. The only exception is products with USDA Organic ingredients. Maltodextrin can still be found in Organic and Natural products, but at least it won’t be GMO.
Corn is subsidized by the U.S. Government (making it fairly inexpensive to use) and corn based maltodextrin is a cheap filler that adds fat-like body and sweetness to products.
What Is Corn Maltodextrin?
Genetically modified foods (especially corn) contain toxic chemicals and pesticides that can wreak havoc on your digestive system over time and tax your organs of elimination (i.e. liver, kidneys, bladder, lymphatic system, etc.).
According to the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT):
“Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GMO food including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.”
What Is The Non GMO Project?
About 64 countries including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union require genetically modified foods to be labelled*
Did you know that 93% of Americans believe genetically modified foods should be labelled according to a 2015 ABC News survey, however GMOs are not required to be labelled in the U.S. and Canada.
Without mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give you more of an informed choice when you shop.
What Are GMO Foreign Proteins?
There have GMO foreign proteins in foods without labeling since 1996. These foreign proteins have been found in milk, corn, soy, wheat, and many of the foods you’ve eaten.
These foreign proteins have been known to cause a whole host of digestive issues over time and are in most of the products you see on store shelves.
Non-GMO Verified gives you certainty the product has no GMO contamination, but still can contain toxic pesticide residue, animal cruelty, etc. The Organic seal means 95% of product is organic and very unlikely to contain GMO contamination.
What Is A GMO?
A genetically modified organism (or GMO), is a plant, animal, micro-organism, or other organism whose genetic makeup has been changed using recombinant DNA practices (also called gene splicing), gene modification, or transgenic technology.
This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
Genetic modification affects many of the products we consume on a daily basis, and the number of GMOs available for commercial use grows every year.
In order for a product to be Non-GMO Project Verified, its inputs must be evaluated for compliance with the standard, which categorizes them into three risk levels: High Risk, Low Risk, No Risk.
What Are High Risk GMO Crops?
The input is derived from, contains derivatives of, or is produced through a process involving organisms that are known to be genetically modified and commercially available.
- Alfalfa, Canola, Corn, Cotton, Papaya, Soy, Sugar beet, Yellow summer squash, zucchini, Animal products, Microbes and enzymes (more to come on these!)
What Are Low Risk GMO Crops?
The input is not derived from, does not contain derivatives of, or is not produced through a process involving organisms that are presently known to be genetically modified and commercially available.
- Lentils, Spinach, Tomatoes, Sesame seeds, Avocados
What Are No Risk GMO Crops?
The input is not derived from biological organisms and not, therefore, susceptible to genetic modification.
Let’s hope they don’t start getting cray cray with GMO’in my favorite foods!
What GMO Science Is Out There?
There aren’t any (short or long term) epidemiological studies investigating potential effects of GMO food on human health.
Most research used to claim that GMOs are “safe” have been funded by biotechnology companies (conflict of interest?).
There’s roughly an equal number of research groups raising concerns about GMO foods and those suggesting GMOs were as safe and nutritious as conventional foods.
Are GMOs Safe?
Most developed countries do not consider GMOs to be safe and have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs (what does that tell you?).
The governments of U.S. and Canada have approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale (something seems fishy here).
How Do GMOs Affect Farmers?
Since GMOs are a “new life form,” Bio-Tech companies have been able to get patents with which to restrict GMO use (i.e. saving seeds).
Bio-Tech companies that make GMOs can sue farmers whose fields contain GMOs, even when there’s an accidental drift of seeds from neighboring fields due to winds or animal excrements.
GMOs serve as a serious threat to farmer’s crop control and to the national food security of any country where they are grown (especially the United States and Canada).
How Do GMOs Impact The Environment?
More than 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance and the use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 16 times since GMOs were introduced (long-term effectiveness?)
GMO crops are responsible for the birth of herbicide resistant “super weeds” and “super bugs,” which can only be killed with more toxic chemicals like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange).
Birth defects, skin discoloration, and immune system issues can result from the chemicals used on GMO crops, but these new organisms can’t be recalled back once they are released into the environment.
GMO’s And BT Toxin
Foods with BT Toxin have been genetically engineered to constantly produce BT Toxin. For example, when a bug eats corn with BT Toxin, it’s stomach explodes. BT Toxin is a registered pesticide with the EPA and we are eating this corn.
The breakdown of the digestive system leads to increased toxicity that leads to compromised immune, mood, and brain function.
The gut is called the 2nd brain since there are more neurotransmitters (the communication channel between the brain and the body) in the digestive system than in the brain!
GMOs And Roundup Ready
Roundup Ready plants have been genetically modified to withstand the RoundUp herbicide spray without dying. Everything else around it dies including the bugs, worms, good bacteria in the soil, and weeds. This herbicide does not wash off and soaks into the plant.
Without healthy gut bacteria you can’t produce tryptophan. Without tryptophan, your body doesn’t produce serotonin. Without serotonin, you can’t regulate blood sugar.
Diabetes is largely on the rise and cost our federal government over $279 Billion a year. Every bite you take either fights disease or feeds it.
GMOs And Desired Traits
We all have latent genes for cancer or other diseases that may never wake up. The problem with injecting “Desired Traits” into plants is that there are promoters that have the potential to wake up unwanted genes.
Plants that have been genetically modified in this 3rd way don’t have pesticides injected into them, but are injected with a “Desired Trait” instead.
Turning on genes in our foods that were never meant to be turned on could have the same effect to the genes in our own bodies.
Top 8 GMO Crops
There are 8 main crops that are genetically modified. These crops can be engineered to do a number of different things. The traits that cause the most concern to agricultural, environmental, and medical experts are above.
a.) Herbicide Resistance: Plants engineered to survive applications of glyphosate, a chemical that would otherwise kill them.
b.) Pesticide Production: Plants engineered to produce insecticidal toxins. Evidence suggests that GMOs engineered to produce pesticides or withstand powerful chemical herbicides damage beneficial insect populations and create superweeds.
Where To Find GMOs
GMO’s have come a long way since they were first introduced in the U.S. in 1996. In fact, 93% of corn grown in the U.S. in 2014 was genetically modified.
This includes 76% of corn that is both herbicide resistant and pesticide producing, with the remainder engineered for only one of those traits.
On top of that, 94% of the soy grown in the U.S. in 2014 was engineered for glyphosate resistance. The World Health Organization recently designated Glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. The use of glyphosate is extremely widespread.
How Do Government Subsidies Affect GMOs?
Subsidies for agriculture and insurance cost U.S. taxpayers about $20 billion annually according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
That financial support has come under great questioning, with opponents complaining that most of the money goes to a small percent of millionaire farmers and giant agribusinesses (not small family farms seeking to stay in business).
Important Question: Should those who produce the bulk of our food receive the bulk of farm payments to ensure world food security and low costs?
2.) Misleading Ingredient Labels
Product ingredients that say “Natural Flavors” could mean anything, but it could also mean that it contains maltodextrin from GMO corn.
Manufacturers don’t have to tell you what “Natural Flavor” or “Natural…whatever” means since most people don’t think twice about it or never question it at all. There’s definitely a gap in the regulation here.
The saying “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” could be causing you potential health issues that you may not even know about or may be causing you to mis-diagnose an ailments root cause.
3.) Maltodextrin Is In Almost Everything
Maltodextrin can be made from corn, potato, rice, or wheat. This is especially a concern for people with Celiac disease although the processing of the wheat removes the gluten making it gluten free according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (56:10292-10302).
In general, U.S. based maltodextrin is made from corn and European based maltodextrin is made from wheat. If you grab 5 products from your kitchen cupboards, chances are that at least 1 of them contain maltodextrin.
Below are some of the most common products that contain maltodextrin:
- Baked goods
- Canned fruits
- Chips (like Cheetos)
- Energy drinks and powders
- Fat-free products
- Sugar-free products
- Frozen Yogurt
- Mass gainers
- Meats (especially processed meats)
- Meal replacement shakes (Ensure or Advocare)
- Nutrition bars
- Pharmaceuticals (used in medications a lot as a binding agent)
- Protein powders
- Salad dressings
- Spice mixes
As you can see, the list is long and maltodextrin is typically found in processed foods.
What Is The Solution?
The safest bet is to use products with USDA Organic ingredients and stick to whole food derived products. They will typically say Organic, Raw, and Plant Based on them.
It’s also helpful to look for tapioca maltodextrin or no maltodextrin at all in the ingredient list when shopping for supplements or vitamins. Taking the time to inform yourself will help you make more educated decisions when it comes to the health of you and your family.
What Is Tapioca Maltodextrin?
Tapioca Maltodextrin is a type of starch thickener that has a very low density making it ideal to stabilize high-fat ingredients and to increase the volume of dry mixes, which can then be made into powders (e.g. gluten free flour)
Tapioca Maltodextrin dissolves all the way when it comes in contact with any liquid and can transform high-fat liquids into powders that melt in your mouth and to thicken fruit puree with high water content to make a dehydrated crunchy texture.
What Is Maltodextrin Gluten?
Maltodextrin is primary sourced from starches including corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, and tapioca.
Almost all the maltodextrin in the U.S. is derived from corn so you don’t have to worry too much about gluten in your maltodextrin.
The maltodextrin derived from wheat in Canada & Europe removes all the gluten based on testing results.
What Is Maltodextrin Exactly?
Maltodextrin is a commercial sweetener made from cornstarch. It’s made with a process called starch hydrolysis with converts the starch in cornstarch into a more complex carbohydrate. High Fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and crystalline fructose are also made this way.
Dextrose is the most common form of natural glucose and is found in plants and animals. Maltodextrin typically contains 3 to 19 dextrose units which contains less calories than regular sugar. One gram of maltodextrin typically contains about 4 calories.
The real concern is where the maltodextrin is sourced from and other “ingredients” hiding in the the food or supplement you’re using.
According to the Sweeteners and Sugar Alternatives in Food Technology, “Most people consume maltodextrin frequently without experiencing any adverse effects.”
Key word: Most people.
What about the people who do have issues in the short term or long term?
How Is Maltodextrin Used?
Some companies use maltodextrin as a filler to help enhance workout performance since it can increase energy.
According to the “Glucose Syrups: Technology and Applications,” maltodextrin helps maintain increased glucose levels in your bloodstream which provides energy to your muscles. Some bodybuilders also use maltodextrin as a weight gainer.
The Top 4 Reasons Maltodextrin is used by companies are listed below:
1.) Gives fat-like body to food products (helps with texture)
2.) Increases food shelf life (longer expiration date)
3.) Mixes easy with other ingredients (plays well with others)
4.) Cheap to make and produce (quick, easy, and profitable)
3 Common Side Effects of Consuming Maltodextrin
1.) Rebound Hypoglycemia (sudden decrease in blood sugar)
This can be remedied by consuming carbohydrates at regular intervals before, during, and after your workout.
2.) Flatulence & Bloating
This is due to the bacteria in your gut becoming extremely active when you digest complex carbs like maltodextrin.
3.) Weight Gain
Maltodextrin, like any other carb, still has calories. Any excess calories not used by your body as energy is stored as fat.
Do You Have A Corn Allergy?
A corn allergy happens when your immune system and (leaky) gut becomes sensitized and overreacts after eating corn, corn derivatives, or corn pollen.
A corn allergy can be difficult to identify using a normal skin or blood test because it is difficult to distinguish allergies to grass pollens and to other seeds and grains.
One solution is a food elimination diet, where certain foods are removed from your diet for a period of time to see if your symptoms improve.
Top 7 Corn Allergy Symptoms
2.) Skin rash or hives
5.) Runny or stuffy nose
6.) Diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, indigestion, or vomiting
7.) Anaphylaxis (less common), a potentially life-threatening reaction that doesn’t allow for proper breathing and can send your body into shock
Summary So Far
Maltodextrin is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing and could be just as bad, if not worse than using sugar. It’s gets into your bloodstream fast and it has 3 options when it enters your body:
1.) Repair your muscle tissues
2.) Give you energy
3.) Get stored as fat
Since maltodextrin is basically an isolated and overly processed carb, it doesn’t have the same effect as real complex carbs that absorb into your bloodstream more slowly (because they usually come with fiber, protein, or healthy fats when found in whole foods).
What’s even worse is that maltodextrin is hard to avoid since it’s in almost everything. We also don’t know the long term effects of maltodextrin derived from GMO corn since there hasn’t been a long term independent meta studies done on the safety of maltodextrin yet (when in doubt, I go without).
What Are My Next Steps?
The first thing to do is start looking at the ingredient labels of all your supplements, vitamins, and health foods. GMO-corn based maltodextrin could very well be in there.
If maltodextrin is not listed in the ingredients, look for any “Natural Flavorings” that are not USDA Organic and research what that really means. You may have to go to the company website or call the manufacturer to get all the details.
P.S. Make sure to subscribe to my Youtube Channel for more videos!
Your Tropical Smoothie Guy,