Maltodextrin on Keto Diet: Benefits and Side Effects

Anybody who has heard of or has tried the keto diet knows that there is absolutely no room for sugar.  In fact, it’s one of the biggest no-brainers for anybody who follows a ketogenic diet.

But this does not mean that any of the keto dieters out there are unable to enjoy a tasty, sweet treat every now and again.  In fact, many of those who do follow the keto diet are able to eat their fair share of sweets. How do they do that, you ask?  The answer is simple. If you are ready to start enjoying sweets while not breaking any of the rules that the keto diet follows, you have to replace the sugar with something just as sweet.

The key to doing this is to simply replace the regular sugars that are in these treats with sweeteners.  Sweeteners will provide you with just as much of the sweetness, but without the negative effects of regular sugar, such as the excess calories and insulin spike.

As with any type of diet, it is not entirely uncommon to have cravings for certain types of sweets while you are going keto.  Unfortunately, if you don’t address these little cravings for something sweet, you can potentially lead yourself to sabotaging all of your hard work going keto.  By giving in to your sweets cravings, you will only cause more work for yourself when you have to spend the next several days trying to work yourself back into a ketosis state.

But don’t worry, there is no need to fear falling out of ketosis.  There are several different keto-friendly sweeteners that you can incorporate into your treats to fulfill that sweet craving, as well as keep your body in a state of ketosis.

When you are fist starting out on the keto diet path, it is recommended that you do your best to stay clear of any type of sweeteners.  This is due to sweeteners ability to potentially cause you to crave even more of the sweetener, which has the potential to hinder any progress you have made if the sweets are accidently overdone.  

With that being said, you can easily use sweeteners on different occasions and rest assured that you will not be doing too much harm.  In fact, when done correctly, you will be able to fulfill that sweet craving, as well as keep your body in a state of ketosis. It’s a win for your sweet cravings, as well as a win for your keto diet.

So now the big question, what is the type of sweetener that is safe for me to eat so I don’t fall out of ketosis?

To put it more specifically, is one of the better options for me going to be maltodextrin?  Or are there other types of sweeteners available that would be a better option for me?

Maltodextrin, What is it?

Maltodextrin is a type of sweetener that is very common to find on different food labels.  If you have ever read labels on food products before, there is a good chance that you have seen it on there.  But just because you have seen it before or have read it on a food label doesn’t’ mean that you know what it is, right?  In fact, chances are that you simply considered it another one of those ingredients that simply sounds foreign.

Well, Maltodextrin is actually a white powder that is made from corn, potato starch, wheat or rice.  Even though it is originally derived from vegetables, it is going to be highly processed before you ever find it as an actual ingredient.

To get maltodextrin, you must first cook the starches, and then add either acids or enzymes such as alpha-amylase.  This will help to break down the maltodextrin even more through the process of hydrolysis.

The benefit of this process is that it helps to break down the starch into extremely tiny pieces that will allow it to be more easily absorbed once it has been consumed.  Once this has been completed, you will get a water-soluble, white powder as a final product.

While maltodextrin has been compared to corn syrup solids, as they both go through the same process of hydrolysis, their sugar contents are going to be quite different.  With corn syrup solids, there is a minimum amount of 20% sugar that needs to be present. With maltodextrin, there is must be less than 20% sugar present. It is this reason that many people, especially those following a keto diet, decide to use it as a substitute for sugar.

But maltodextrin is not done there.  It is also used as filler in certain types of foods as well.  This is because it has the property to thicken up certain food products, which will increase that foods volume.  On top of that, it will also help to prolong the shelf life of different packaged and processed foods as well.

Maltodextrin can typically be found in certain products, which include desserts, canned fruits, nutrition bars, and even powdered drinks.  It can even be found in some non-food items, such as skin lotions and different hair care products. In these types of products, the maltodextrin acts as a thickening agent.  So no, you cannot start eating your lotion or hair care products.

Maltodextrin’s Nutritional Value

While maltodextrin does contain a lower amount of sugar in it, it isn’t necessarily as low in calories as you may think.  In fact, it actually has the same amount of calories as sucralose, also referred to as regular table sugar. This means that there is 4 calories in each gram of maltodextrin.

While calories are a big factor when it comes to the keto diet, there is also a large concern when it comes to the glycemic index of maltodextrin as well.  With a glycemic index ranging from 106 to 136, it means that it can potentially spike the levels of your blood sugar very quickly.

Maltodextrin Benefits

While there are many different food manufacturers who use maltodextrin as one of the binding agents in the food that the produce, it is also used as a way to add texture and flavor to foods as well.  Plus, as mentioned earlier, it also helps to prolong the shelf life of food items as well. Here are the benefits of eating foods with maltodextrin.

 

  • Increases the amount of energy you have

 

While there is no actual nutritional value in maltodextrin, it is very quickly absorbed by your body, helping to provide you with a quick boost in your energy levels.  In fact, there are many active people, including athletes, who choose to use maltodextrin as a part of the sports nutritional regimen that they follow.

There are even companies that have used maltodextrin to add a little extra boost to their supplements, protein bars, and different sports beverages.  This way, those who are more physically active are able to have a quick way to replenish their energy stores during and after any physical activity.

In fact, it’s actually not very uncommon among athletes to eat certain foods that have a high glycemic index for the purpose of restoring their glycogen levels immediately after activity, as well as to help boost their caloric intake to help with weight gain.

 

  • Combats chronic hypoglycemia

 

For those who suffer from any type of chronic low blood sugar, using matlodextrin is often used as a source of getting blood glucose into their system in case of an emergency.  When low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) does set in, using maltodextrin can aid your body by giving it an immediate boost in its energy levels.

However, this method of using maltodextrin is not normally recommended for your body’s blood sugar regulation, as it can potentially lead you to having a severe fluctuation in your hormones, as well as glucose levels.  Plus, it can also potentially increase the strength and occurrence of sugar cravings.

 

  • May improve your digestion

 

Studies have been done that support the idea of maltodextrin being a potential aid when it comes to improving intestinal functions, such as stool volume and consistency, as well as colonic transit time.  This is because maltodextrin has been found to be digestion-resistant.

Matlodextrin, is it Keto Friendly?

If you are following a keto diet, maltodextrin is not keto friendly.  Due to the nutritional value, as well as its glycemic index, keto dieters should stay away from maltodextrin as much as possible and instead, try to find an alternative sweetener to incorporate into their diet when they are having a craving for something sweet.

There are several different alternatives on the market that will provide you with a similar amount of sweetness, but with lower amounts of carbs, calories and sugar spikes.

If you are on the keto diet, you may be better off trying to use a different sweetener, such as erythritol or stevia, to put in your food to help satisfy your sweet tooth, but without having to risk the fear of compromising your body’s state of ketosis.

Maltodextrin on Keto Diet: Benefits and Side Effects
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