Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive. It is produced from starch by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a white hygroscopic spray-dried powder. Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose, and might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless. It is commonly used for the production of soft drinks and candy. It can also be found as an ingredient in a variety of other processed foods.
(1)Use as a Filler
The compound is also frequently used as a filler in products like sugar substitutes. The white powder often blends right in, and it can stretch the quantity of an item without impacting its taste. On its own, the powder often looks a lot like sugar, so blending in a few scoops is a common way of selling less for more. Maltodextrin is almost always less expensive to produce than more natural sugar substitutes.
A number of pharmaceutical companies also use the compound as a filler in pills and capsules. This is not usually done to stretch the amount of drugs, but rather to stabilize them. Packing active compounds in maltodextrin can suspend their potency and keep them firmly lodged inside of gel capsules without altering them or degrading them over time, the way sugar or other additives might.
It is also used in some snacks such as potato chips and jerky. It is used in "light" peanut butter to reduce the fat content, but keep the texture.
(2)Popularity in Brewing
Maltodextrin is sometimes used in beer brewing to increase the specific gravity of the final product. This improves the mouthfeel of the beer, increases head retention and reduces the dryness of the drink. Maltodextrin is not fermented by yeast, so it does not increase the alcohol content of the brew.
(3)Benefits for Athletes
The body digests maltodextrin as a simple carbohydrate, which means that it is easily converted to quick energy. Athletes often love the compound for this reason, and it is an ingredient in many sports drinks. Endurance athletes sometimes also purchase it in small packs that they will add to their water bottles mid-workout for a quick boost.