What Is It? A Look at Strange-Sounding Ingredients in Your Food
What Is Maltodextrin?
Typically Found In: Salad dressings, ice creams, reduced-fat foods
What We Discovered: The term "maltodextrin" refers to a food additive that falls somewhere between a starch and a sugar. (Starches are long chains of sugar molecules that don’t taste sweet; sugars, made up of just one or two molecules, are sweet.) Created by breaking down corn starch—or, less often, rice or potato starch—maltodextrin is added in small amounts to a wide variety of foods to improve texture and, sometimes, to add sweetness. We digest maltodextrin like any other starch. In fact, when the body breaks starches down into sugars—a process that starts with enzymes in the mouth—a small amount of maltodextrin is formed naturally.
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