Maltodextrin side effects and alternatives

Hullo, everyone!

I just joined the forums and I realize there’s multiple posts about this already, but living in the Netherlands, it’s rather difficult to get my hands on some of the ingredients.
I tend to buy things from the UK and mostly from Bulkpowders. Anyway, to get straight to the point;

I’ve started today and wanted to keep it up for about a week or 2, with the intentions of bulking up.
(Formula here)


The taste is something I’ll have to get used to and it’s pretty hard for me to drink 3 liters a day, but I’ll manage.
My biggest issue is that I start having these headaches. My bet is that it has something to do with the Maltodextrin and I would like to replace that with a different carb source like oats.

This is one of the alternatives I’ve found.

I also thought that I could maybe lower the carbs and increase in fats, to bump up the calories and have less powder and thus maybe 2.5 liters a day for example.

So basically, I need some help on balancing my calories, so I get around 2700-2800 a day, without the nasty headaches and hopefully a little bit less Soylent for me to consume per day.

(I also eat ~100 grams of nuts in the evening to bump up the calories to around 3k)

Thanks in advance and my apologies for the length of the post. If anything is unclear I’ll be happy to provide insight.
Also feel free to ask any unrelated questions if you’re located in a European country and you need help with suppliers.

Heh, I like the layout you chose to display your formula! :wink:

Your zinc is a little low, you should increase it in time - not too bad though.
What’s REALLY low tough are your Potassium intake, as well as Chloride and Phosphor according to this.
Could something there be the source of your headaches too, or do you have other sources that or not displayed on the spreadsheet (like food)?

Another way to ask it: Why do you think that it is the Maltodextrin that causes your headaches?

Heh, I didn’t get a chance to thank you for using that, so hereby; Thanks!

I realized some were somewhat low, hence the exclamation marks, I’m still looking for alternatives to get those up.
I hadn’t eaten anything besides the Soylent today and I’ve had 4/6 shakes so far.
All I drank with it was water. A shake is around 150ml of powder and 250ml of water.

The reason I think that Maltodextrin is the cause, is because it’s easy to absorb and can result in a spike in the levels of blood sugar. Diabetes runs somewhat in the family and I’m prone to sugar rushes from some kinds of sugar, which always resulted in headaches to me. I also read that some side effects of Maltodextrin are the possibility of headaches, so it was the most logical thing to conclude.
Especially since this is my first day trying, I doubt I’d have some mineral / vitamin deficiency.

On a side note: Until I have possible solution to test, I’m sticking with normal food for the day, possibly tomorrow too.

I’m contemplating lowering the carbs and bumping the fats and using a mixture of oats and maltodextrin as source of carbs.
I’ve followed your blog and since you got quite some more experience on this than I do, could you recommend me something?

Anyway, time to write an end to this novel, I tend to get carried away, like now, sorry 'bout that.
I appreciate your help. (PS, I only just noticed we both started with ‘Heh’, funny.)

Ah, I didn’t read/realize it was your first day, sorry about that!
The diabetes/family explanation makes sense, and it’s quite possible that that could indeed be a problem for you.

Before making such conclusions you should try it for a few more days though.
It might just be an adaption thing after all!

If it still holds after a few days, lowering the carbs (to raise fat and protein) would be the first thing to do.

Just to be sure, I’ll replace part of the carbohydrates by some sort of oat we have left, I’ll have to tweak some macronutrients though, but that’s a small task.

Also; Do you have any idea what I could do against nausea? Drinking 3 liters of sweet substance is a tad hard.
Might also be a thing to get used to, but for now it feels like it’s getting harder each shake.

I’ll continue again tomorrow, as hunger struck and I wasn’t sure what to do, so I had some leftover dinner.
Thanks again for the quick replies. I’ll post an update in ~24 hours.

Might also start a blog like you did, helping out folks who live near me, because it’s quite hard to get started and your blog was of great use to me!

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As you have said yourself, the taste is something to get used to.
For me it certainly was…after a few days, I just started liking it.

It MIGHT be the same for you, or it might not be.
If you are willing to continue trying it to see if you can get used to it, here’s some hints to help you get through it:

  • Try actually raising the amount of water. The difference in texture might already be enough. Lowering could also work, but it sounds like you already have a low amount of water for your amount of powder.
  • Have a mint before your Soylent, to numb your taste sense a bit.
  • If you can hold off training for a few days, just use less Soylent for a while/drink smaller portions.

There are other alternatives to maltodextrin. I suggest you look into isomaltulose (also known as palatinose). You can find it in the Netherlands here:

Isomaltulose is a suger like sucrose (table sugar), but is structurally different so that it is absorbed much slower. It has a GI of only 32 compared to maltodextrins 130. See or the wikipedia entry (I can only post two links since I’m a lurker and this is my second post). Isomaltulose has yet to break through on this forum for some reason, but it seems to suit your needs for a slower carb.

I advise you try to combine different forms of carbs in your soylent, unless you have a problem with some carbs. It can’t hurt to have a little more diverse types of carbohydrates, and it will help spread the absorption of carbs over time (which might help with your headaches).

Lat me know if it helps you. I have started my own part-time soylent mix only two days ago, with no adverse effects short of a little sore throat.

Ps: I’m from the Netherlands too :slight_smile:

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I second the recommendation for Palatinose. It’s not too sweet and doesn’t make me feel weird. In the mean time though, you should do some tests. Either completely remove the malodextrin from your soylent, or (I think this one is better) resume your normal-food diet for a few days, but have just the malodextrin portion of your soylent in addition. If you can correlate the headaches with the malodextrin intake, you’ve found your answer. If not then keep looking.

Also for Potassium I use this:
They ship to the Netherlands for 8 Euros and also have many other useful soylent ingredients.

Good luck!

Well, since I still have a beepload of Maltodextrin and there’s not much wrong with quick energy, I’ll probably use Maltodextrin for a while for at least a portion of the carbs.
I’ll have a look at Palatinose and I’ll add some oat. Might also tweak the carb/fat ratio a bit, but one step at a time, else I’ll never know what caused the change.

Thanks for the replies, I’ll keep you guys posted.

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Starting to like the taste more and more, but raising the amount of water would probably make it harder for me to keep it up. I do drink water between meals, of course.

Biggest issue now is that minutes after drinking my Soylent, slight headaches occur, sometimes paired with an inconsistent heartrate. The problem builds itself up as I drink more throughout the day.

I’m well aware of a thing called the nocebo effect, but I’m pretty good at manipulating my body.
I can actually give myself a fever / headaches and pretty much nullify pain, if I try hard enough, so I doubt I’m subconsciously giving myself a headache. I would keep it up to see how it goes, if my heart would act up like that, just seems a tad too risky for my liking. I’m ordering palatinose and oats right now.

Temporarily replacing part of the maltodextrin by “Brinta”. How much exactly I will post later today.
Unlisted in the link is: 30ug folic acid, 43mg magnesium, 1.2mg zinc and 165mg phosphor.

Alright, I decided to replace 200g of Maltodextrin by Brinta for the meanwhile, until my Palatinose arrives.
See the edited formula here.

I tried to save money by grounding my own rolled oats in a blender (500g for only €0,41 is quite cheap), but I’m disappointed by the result. My blender is not up to the task of real grounding, so my soylent contains little hard nubs of oats. It’s no dealbreaker, but the drink isn’t as smooth as I would like.

I hadn’t considered Brinta, and I think it is a great idea! I wil try it in my next batch. Thanks for that!

What made you ultimately decide on stopping with the maltodextrin?

BTW - not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but Scottish oats are simply oat groats that have been ground into a meal - essentially oat powder.

Boy, did that one puzzle me! Never heard of Brinta, even though I spent a lot of time in Europe (but never in the Netherlands). Dutch porridge mix! Neat. The page where I found it said “People who bought this also bought” – several miscellaneous products, but what hit me was the 5 Kg jar of Nutella! Happiness is a 5 Kg jar of Nutella, all right enough.


Well, I assumed the headaches and heartrate inconsistency were due to the 400g of Maltodextrin per day.
So I replaced half of the Maltodextrin by Brinta. It’s not as smooth as it normally would be, like you said, but it actually somewhat improves the taste. It’s less boring.

Still experiences slight headaches and my heart does act up but only after the second shake. That’s why I’m considering replacing another ~100g a day by Palatinose.

Although the first day I’ll totally replace the Maltodextrin, because I haven’t 100% established that it’s actually the Maltodextrin, but it seems like it, as the effects are less severe as the day before.

Thanks for your reply.
I think I’ll stick with my Dutch counterpart for now, tastes pretty well, good quality and no shipping / delays in obtaining in.

Haha, ain’t no chocolate spread like Nutella! :wink:

Now I’m wondering about a chocolate/hazelnut RFA Soylent version! I’ve actually got hazelnut bushes growing in the fencerows here on my Manitoba farm.

I had never heard of Nutella when I first crossed the Atlantic on Outlandish Airways in 1976. Discovered it whilst backpacking in the Schwartzwald. Arrived at Freiburg-im-Breisgau and stayed there awhile, where I discovered the Freiburg version of Hochschwartzwalder Bauernbrot, which I still believe must be the world’s tastiest bread. I practically lived on bauernbrot and nutella for a couple of weeks, and when I regretfully left Freiburg, there was a 5 Kg loaf in the top of my backpack with the ends sticking out of either side. Many years later I found out that spelt flour is a principal ingredient of bauernbrot, so no wonder I’m so stuck on spelt, spelt flour, spelt flakes, etc. I still miss that bread; I wish I could get back to Freiburg to enjoy it again before I die – it’s definitely on my bucket list.

Has anybody been successful in finding a reasonably priced source of Palatinose / Isomaltulose in Canada? The best I’ve been able to find so far is over at, but they seem to be shipping from the UK since they’re charging $30.99 to send a 5 kg package.

I’m interested in testing it as a replacement for the grains in my Soylent recipe—partially because of the low GI aspect, and partially because I’d like to move towards a pure elemental-based recipe without any real food ingredients.

Haha, sounds good, let me know how it works out?

And now you got me curious about that bread. Although it would depend on the situation.
Sometimes, white tigerbread with a good bloody steak is just the best. To me, at least.

Aaaand… Will we be considered sinners, talking about foods on a site about Soylent? :X

Anyway; On-Topic: Replacing part of the Maltodextrin helped quite a bit, but not enough.
Ordering Palatinose and for a 200g Brinta - 100g Palatinose - 100g Maltodextrose mix.