What Are Dextrin Chemicals?


Quick Answer

Dextrin chemicals are edible carbohydrates that are produced by processing starch. They are commonly used as food additives, because they can thicken beverages and make solid foods stick together.

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Full Answer

Dextrins are a class of carbohydrates that consist of long molecules with low molecular weight. White dextrin is made by heating starch in the presence of an acid. Yellow or canary dextrin is made using a similar method, except with less acid and higher temperatures. Yellow dextrin is the kind that is widely used as an additive.

Dextrins are used as a fat substitute in dairy products. They are also used as binders for pharmaceutical products and for processed meats. Dextrins do not get fermented when they are added to beer, so brewers can use them to thicken a thin batch. However, they may contribute to intestinal gas when consumed in this format. Overall, dextrins are slightly more difficult to digest than their parent starches.

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