PSA: Maltodextrin is not a specific compound. It is more of a category


I see many people here write about maltodextrin like it’s a specific molecule, like H20 or calcium carbonate. It’s not. It’s more of a category.

To put it really simply, maltodextrin consists of chains of glucose of differing lengths. The length of the chain changes the properties. Maltodextrins are classified by their Dextrose Equivalent (DE.) A higher DE means it tastes sweeter and that the chains are, on average, shorter.

Make sense? One bag of maltodextrin from Manufacturer A isn’t necessarily equivalent to Manufacturer B’s bag.

It’s more complicated than that, of course. Feel free to dive into the knowledge pool:

Have a good day.

DIY Soylent - Reduced sugar & athletics training

Great post!
Another thing that is important to note from the Wikipedia article, is that Maltodextrins have upper and lower limits for DE - 3-20. Above 20 and it becomes glucose syrup. And technically any oligosaccharide with DE below 10 is called Dextrin at least here at Europe :smiley:

So most of the available maltodextrins will fall in either of the following categories: 5-8, 10-15 or 18-20. At least this is what I find in my country.

Which one to use really deppends on what your quantity is - if you have a lot of sugars in your recipe, add lower DE, If your main Carbohydrates source is maltodextrin (like me) go for a 10-15.


@JulioMiles How does this affect Soylent?


I wouldn’t say it necessarly affects soylent, rather then they’ve been aware of this but have just used it as a catchall, taken from the Macronutrient Breakdown post:

Maltodextrin (132g) - As the primary source of energy for the body, carbohydrates are the largest component of Soylent by mass. The starch in Oat Flour makes up the bulk of this nutrient and the rest is provided by Maltodextrin.

Maltodextrin is an oligosaccharide, or a medium-long chain of glucose units composed of both 1->4 and 1->6 glycosidic bonds. Maltodextrins are classified by “dextrose equivalence” or DE. Dextrose, a monosaccharide is the simplest unit of sugar. Higher DE means shorter average chains with a DE of 100 applying to dextrose. Our chosen maltodextrin is derived from corn and has a DE of 10.

Monosaccharides and disaccharides are simple sugars which are lower in molecular weight such as glucose, fructose, dextrose, or lactose, while complex carbohydrates are longer chains of sugars (polysaccharides) linked together such as starches.

Starches are long chains of glucose molecules linked together by glycosidic bonds, and are broken down slowly by the body, thus preventing a spike in blood sugar (spikes in blood sugar are problematic because they lead to spikes in insulin (a hormone released by the pancreas that encourages cells in the liver, skeletal muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose). Gradually, through frequent spikes of insulin, the body may adapt to pay less attention to these signals resulting in “insulin resistance”, a precursor to type II diabetes.

Preliminary tests by beta testers and founders abiding by WHO glycemic index testing guidelines have found the GI to be rather low. More formal testing is planned for early 2014.

My takeaway from the post is, maltodextrin as a category would be akin to flour as a category.


I am pretty sure they already know (judging by this post in sep 2013)


I wonder what the reason for switching to corn maltodextrin was. Rob says above “We use only tapioca maltodextrin,” presumably because it’s the slowest of the three. But he also says its more expensive. @Rob was cost the reason you switched to corn, and does the faster breakdown of corn make it any less healthy than the original tapioca?


It’s interesting how this point has been made by Rob yet on the Nutritional Label it doesn’t specify which type of malodextrin it is. It seems strange to be pedantic about this issue but then label it on the product like it’s a specific chemical and not a category.