Maltodextrin is a simple carbohydrate, and its most common side effect is an elevation in blood sugar and increased insulin production, according to Healthline. Eating large amounts of maltodextrin may also decrease the number of helpful bacteria in the digestive system, potentially increasing a person's risk for developing salmonella or E. coli.
At 4 calories per gram, maltodextrin contains the same amount of calories per gram as table sugar. However, the glycemic index of maltodextrin, which is 106 to 136, is higher than that of table sugar, which has a glycemic index of 65, notes Healthline. Because maltodextrin is added into a food's total carbohydrate count and the exact amount of maltodextrin is not listed on the package, it's difficult to determine the precise impact maltodextrin has on blood sugar levels.
Maltodextrin is an inexpensive food additive that is derived from corn, rice or potato starch, states the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association. It is a white powder that is commonly used as a filler or thickener in processed foods, such as canned fruit, desserts, pudding, flavored gelatin and salad dressing. Single-serve packets of artificial sweeteners often contain maltodextrin to add volume to the product. Maltodextrin is sometimes used as a sweetener in tea, coffee and sports drinks. Nonfood items, such as lotion and hair products, may also contain maltodextrin.