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Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive. It is produced from vegetable 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 may be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless (depending on the degree of polymerization).
Because maltodextrin is a fast-digesting carbohydrate, it’s often included in sports drinks and snacks for athletes. For bodybuilders and other athletes trying to gain weight, maltodextrin can be a good source of quick calories during or after a workout.
Since maltodextrin doesn’t use as much water to digest as some carbohydrates, it’s a good way to get quick calories without becoming dehydrated. Some research also shows that maltodextrin supplements can help maintain anaerobic power during exercise.
Like sugar and other simple carbohydrates, maltodextrin can form part of a healthy diet, but it shouldn’t be the main course, especially for people with diabetes and those who want to maintain their weight.
As long as you limit it, and balance it with fiber and protein, maltodextrin can add valuable carbohydrates and energy to your diet for athletes and those who need to increase blood sugars.