Why Use Maltodextrin At All


Ok, so this is my first post here on the forums although I have been reading them for quite a while. I read a thread called Maltodextrin vs Dextrose which was very similar to my question. However, in reading through it the question I have wasn’t really addressed.

Anyway, the question is this: Why do so many recipes, including the official version, use maltodextrin? I have done much research for my DIY recipe and it appears as if maltodextrin is nothing more than a chain of glucose molecules. These chains are apparently broken down with ease by the body. However, it is interesting to note that pure glucose has a glycemic index of 100 while maltodextrin somehow surpasses this with a GI of 130. Therefore, it would seem prudent to me to use pure glucose rather than maltodextrin to reduce insulin spiking. The prices appear to be very similar. Maybe I’m missing something? Could someone please shed a bit of light on this?

First timer. I have a series of weight loss/nutrition questions

One advantage of Maltodextrin: It’s tasteless or only very slightly sweet, making the soylent more pleasant to drink if using a lot of carbs.

Do you have a source for the GI?


Firstly it’s used so frequently just because its dirt cheap and tastes decent.

Maltodextrin is not one single compound, it is a group, the difference being the number of glucose molecules in the chain. Each different length of maltodextrin has a different GI. It would be prudent for all users to know the GI of their specific product, as like you mention they can be very high.


I see. Has anyone found maltodextrin with a GI of less than 100? I’m not sure if this is even possible, just wondering.

@blinry: Livestrong.com states “Maltodextrin, unlike fructose, has a high glycemic index which ranges from 105 - 136 on glycemic index charts” Other sources I read stated the average was about 130.


The way I see it, maltodextrin and/or dextrose are used because a) you do need SOME fast carbs, and b) the alternative involves a LOT of oat powder, which probably wouldn’t be very nice. I’m about to start experimenting with amylopectin (waxy maize starch) instead of dextrose, which I think should have a lower GI than dextrose.

I'm worried about using Isomaltulose as a main carb

Maltodextrin is a category, not a chemical. There are different DE (dextrose equivalent) values. Longer chains take longer to break down and taste less sweet. We use a low DE version. The source matters as well. Corn, rice, and tapioca maltodextrin have different ratios of (1->4) and (1->6) glycosidic bonds. More of the latter takes longer to break down. Corn is faster than rice which is faster than tapioca. We use only tapioca maltodextrin, which is more expensive than corn.

This is still faster than oat powder. We use about 2/3 slow carbs 1/3 tapioca maltodextrin which I’d say is “medium”. We are currently running tests to verify our overall GI but it already looks to be quite low.

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Thanks for the post Rob. I figured I might be missing something. I’m interested to see what the official Soylent GI turns out to be.


… not really. Technically you don’t need any carbs at all. I’m unaware of any situation where fast carbs would be useful, except that of athletes who have depleted their glycogen stores and need to maintain peak performance. This would be the tour-de-france cyclist who has already been on the bike for an hour and needs to refuel (fast).

Normal life does not deplete your glycogen, ergo you don’t need fast carbs, at least as I understand it. Corrections welcomed as always.


True. The same can be applied to carbs in general, fast or slow.


could you make up for a too high GI by sipping soylent throughout the day instead of having three big “meals”, to have more steady energy?


That’s what my strategy will likely be because I want more carbs/calories but I don’t want to have energy highs and lows cycling through my day, so I’ll be having a higher number of Soylent meals than I would regular meals.


This would absolutely work, so long as you keep it little and often. Look up how GI values are obtained if you need a clearer picture.

Bear in mind you would still be vulnerable to sugar crashes if you were for some reason unable to access your soylent for an extended period of time.


It’s worth noting that the official Glycemic Index database is fucked. Agave syrup, which is over 90% fructose, is listed as having a GI of less than 20 … there’s absolutely NO way that’s correct.


The index is correct. Pure fructose itself has the lowest glycemic index of any natural sugar. That is why agave syrup is so low and why sucrose (table sugar) is far lower than pure glucose or maltodextrin. This is because GI is a measure of blood sugar levels in response to a food. Fructose is metabolized in the liver rather than distributed to other cells like glucose. The products of fructolysis are then dispensed into the blood stream to be used by cells.


Still, noone answered OPs question if and why GI[Malto] > GI[Glucose]


“Why use maltodextrin at all”

this is exactly the question I asked myself a few days ago.

Then I realized, I don’t really have to. Ketogenic ftw!


I’m gonna guess it is absorbed faster.


  • a molecule of malto is composed of many molecules of glucose,
  • molecules of glucose and malto are able to pass from the intestine to the blood at a roughly similar rate,
  • once in the blood, malto is very quickly/easily broken down into glucose.

This combination can easily produce a situation where glucose from malto breakdown accumulates in the blood much more rapidly (high GI) than glucose from direct absorption through the intestine (comparatively low GI).


On the subject of glucose, does anyone have any numbers for the amount of sugar that would put you at risk of diabetes?


I am interested in the product however strongly avoiding acidic foods know to cause calcination and cancer. Ie beef pork sugar-carbs cheese. Do you know the overall ph of the product in it’s final solution and the effects of this tapioca maltodextrin on a bodies ph? will someone who only eats this product have a ph greater than 7?


2 things

1: soylents pH is near 7
2: body pH being affected by food is junk science and holds no actual evidence… No such thing in other words… Whatever you eat gets dumped into HCl acid at about 1-2 pH