Why Use Maltodextrin At All


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


QFT. I recommend @ajtreigle performs some research. There are reputable medical web sites that corroborate this. Unfortunately, the “food pH affects blood pH” idea actually does make some sense, which is why the myth continues to live on. However, this is one of those things that appears to make sense but is not true.


There are a lot of reasons to use maltodextrin beyond things already mentioned here…

Maltodextrin is added as a clean source of carbohydrate, not as a sweetener. If you used dextrose, you’d be making your drink horribly sweet. (Want to remember the sweetness of dextrose? It’s what Pixie Stix and Smarties are made of.) Since substituting a sweet carb is not a good flavor alternative, you’d have to go to a starch. And there’s already a lot of starch and complex carbs from other ingredients.

Maltodextrin is a more complex carb than simpler sugars - it’s really between sugar and starch. As such, it has some more starch-like qualities in food than sugar-like:

Sugar can make powders clump over time, maltodextrin stays fluffy and mixable, acting as an anti-stick, like cornstarch. Yet maltodextrin dissolves super-easily in water.

Maltodextrin has a smoother mouth-feel than sugars, making foods almost seem like they have more fat in them than they do. Makes the shake more “shake-like” and less like “wet oat flour.”

And, contrary to some posts, there are values to having some quickly-absorbed carbs. Assuming you’re hungry when you eat, the quickly-absorbed carbs are the first to hit your bloodstream and actually give your body the energy it wants right now. This is why maltodextrin is used in many sports and recovery drinks. Also, getting sugars into your blood contributes to the feeling of satisfaction from eating - but not if ALL you get is sugar. That turns into its own problem. A appropriate balance of protein, carbs, and fats tends to more satisfaction while eating and greater feelings of satiety after.

You don’t need to sip your Soylent all day to prevent a sugar rush - although the GI of maltodextrin is quite high, in a mixed meal, the overall GI comes down. Absorption of the maltodextrin is slowed by the protein, the fats, the fiber, even the other complex carbs.

Lastly - on the high GI - there’s no reasons foods can’t have a higher GI than 100. It’s not a 100% of possible scale, it’s a scale which was set, at the outset, so that glucose rates a 100. This does not mean that nothing an have a higher GI than 100, just that glucose happens to have a GI of 100. Since glucose is a very high-GI food, not many will have higher. A maltodextrin with a GI of 110 just means 10% higher than glucose.


John427 is dead on about agave syrup - the glycemic index happens because it is very high in fructose - much higher than high-fructose corn syrup - and fructose is a very low-GI sugar, largely for the reasons he mentions. Also, agave syrup contains some non-sugar items, including some soluble fiber, which further slows the uptake.

Ironically, while it has a very low GI for a sweetener, agave syrup is very closely associated with high risk of causing decreased glucose tolerance, “metabolic syndrom,” and potentially insulin resistance. Glycemic Index is not an all-purpose healthiness indicator!


Also remember that maltodextrin is not a specific substance, it’s a class of substances. The maltodextrin used in Soylent has a GI of like 20 iirc, which is low.

EDIT: I was thinking of DE, dextrose equivalent, not GI, glycemic index. The maltodextrin for Soylent has a DE around 20, I have no information about the Soylent GI. Thanks to @MentalNomad below.


You may be thinking of an overall GI for Soylent, or perhaps a the DE of a particular maltodextrin. There’s no maltodextrin with a GI as low as 20 - I don’t think any of them come below 100. The general range is something like 105 to 140.

DE is the “Dextrose Equivalent” rating of a product. If you start with a starch, you have a DE rating of 0, and if you hydrolize it until it turns competely into sugar, you’ll have a DE of 100. Everything in between is a sliding scale.

When you process the starch and bring it up into the general DE range of 5 to 20, the product is generally referred to as a maltodextrin. The GI of that product depends on a couple of factors, including the source starch - different starches have different GI’s to start with, and since maltodextrin is still a lot more like the starch end of the scale than the sugar end of the scale, the GI will be a function of the starch GI - but maltodextrin should always have a higher GI than the starch.


Are they still using Tapioca as a source for maltodextrin? or did they switch to corn?


You’re right, I was thinking of DE, not GI. Will edit above post.

And no, they changed to corn for 1.0.


I can see why… I just went on a goosehunt for easily available tapioca maltodextrin. Cheapest I see on Amazon is wildly more expensive than corn maltodextrin… 100g in my DIY of corn maltodextrin adds $.25 per day, 100g of the cheapest tapioca maltodextrin I found is more like $4.00 per day! Tapioca may have a lower GI, but it’s not the only component in the blended GI of the end product, so it’s not worth a 16 fold price premium. I’d sooner blend corn maltodextrin with a little tapioca starch, or something - but I’m not sure how well raw tapioca starch is digested. Maltodextrin is a known commodity for easy digestion.


Any updates on Soylent’s GI? We’ve been hearing for a while that it’s “quite low” and tests are in progress… where are they?


Some GI scales put pure glucose at 140 and white bread at 100. Make sure you know the scale being used when checking a rating.


The reason is that being a polymer, maltodextrin is isotonic. If you were to eat the same amount of sugar, the osmotic imbalance would suck all the water out of your gut to try to dilute the mixture. Maltodextrin does not have this problem as the monosaccharides get peeled off as they get digested.


The reason is that being a polymer, maltodextrin is isotonic. If you
were to eat the same amount of sugar, the osmotic imbalance would suck
all the water out of your gut to try to dilute the mixture. Maltodextrin
does not have this problem as the monosaccharides get peeled off as
they get digested.



Good question. Maltodextrin is one of the ingredients why I refuse to use Soylent. Personally, I’m a palatinose fan myself. Carbs should be as slow as possible, period.


Because of the age of this thread, many of the comments in it have nothing to do with the current product. Four years was a long time ago.


Last I checked, Soylent still contained maltodextrin. You saying that’s no longer the case?


No, and how you concluded that from my comment is simply amazing. I’m saying that you can’t rely on statements made a long time ago and assume that those people have the same opinions now. That is why old threads are often not useful.


From what I understand, Soylent uses a brand of maltodextrin called Maltrin M100, which according to the manufacturer is corn-based. So I’m not sure why Rob would say that the maltodextrin in soylent is tapioca-based.


As previous posters have said - look at the date. Rob posted that 5 years (and many Soylent iterations) ago.