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We recommend whole foods that are minimally processed without going into detail about the additives found in packaged foods. Maltodextrin is one example of a food additive that is very common but not health promoting. New research shows that maltodextrin promotes obesity, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other diseases by making gut bacteria adhesive and invasive.


Maltodextrin is found in 60% of grocery store packaged food products, many prepared foods, baked goods including gluten-free products, artificial sweeteners, infant formulas, energy drinks, nutritional supplements, sports drinks, and other products. Other names for maltodextrin include corn syrup solids, modified corn starch, modified rice starch, modified tapioca starch, modified wheat starch, etc.


Almost everyone (98.6% of survey respondents) routinely eats foods containing maltodextrin. Average consumption is 2.6 food items containing maltodextrin per day.


Maltodextrin is a moderately sweet or almost flavorless powder used as a filler, thickener, texturizer, or coating agent in foods. It can be made from starchy plants like corn, potato, rice, tapioca, or wheat by an industrial process of partial hydrolysis. Starches are cooked, treated with acids or enzymes to break them down further, refined to separate out the polysaccharides, and dried.


This cooked and treated starch raises blood glucose very quickly. Glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly foods increase blood glucose levels. Pure glucose, white bread and baked potato have a GI of 100, regular sugar (equal parts glucose and fructose) has a GI of 65. Maltodextrin has a GI of 110.


Maltodextrin makes you fat and sick by promoting the overgrowth of certain gut microbes and enabling them to spread to other parts of the body. These changes promote obesity, systemic inflammation from endotoxins, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, and other body systems.


The graph below shows how the incidence of Crohn’s disease (CD) has changed since maltodextrin became part of American foods.

[ graph of Crohn's disease vs. Maltodextrin used ]

From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4615306/figure/f0001/

Researchers looking at causes of Crohn’s disease and related disorders found that not only does maltodextrin promote the overgrowth of E. coli and other gram-negative gut bacteria, it changes these bacteria to make them adhesive and invasive. Adhesive bacteria invade the epithelial cells that make up the wall of the intestines, damaging the wall and enabling bacteria (and other toxins) to enter the body. This greatly increases the number of gram-negative bacteria in the small intestine and the number of endotoxins released by these bacteria.


Invasive bacteria also colonize macrophages, the white blood cells that normally fight bacteria. Bacteria living within macrophages are protected from antibiotics, able to reproduce greatly, and capable of spreading to other parts of the body. Macrophages containing bacteria do not fight infections normally, increasing vulnerability to other infections.


These changes can result in:

  • Gut dysbiosis, unhealthy changes in gut microbes that contributes to obesity, liver disease, and many other health issues.
  • Systemic inflammation caused by endotoxins from gram-negative bacteria in the bloodstream.
  • Metabolic syndrome and diabetes caused by systemic inflammation and elevated blood glucose levels.
  • Increased susceptibility to foodborne illnesses by weakening protection against intestinal microbes.
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and other gastrointestinal conditions.
  • Infections of the urinary tract, reproductive tract, or other body systems by invasive gut bacteria.


Protect and improve your health by avoiding maltodextrin and other food additives. Eat whole foods with minimal processing. If you do have packaged foods, check the ingredient list for maltodextrin. Avoid fast foods and restaurants that serve pre-prepared foods.





© 2017 by Lymph Notes, all rights reserved.

Category: Nutrition and Lymphedema Updated: 2017-04-11


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