Maltodextrin is an artificial sweetener added to a large variety of foods because it contains fewer calories than sugar. This common additive is usually harmless unless you are one of the unfortunate individuals allergic or sensitive to it.
I am one of those with sensitivity to maltodextrin, along with other artificial sweeteners, and read labels like a hawk to avoid ingesting them. The other day, I received a sample package for a protein supplement that on the surface, appeared to be free of everything I need to avoid.
I read “free of gluten, yeast, milk, eggs, soy, nuts, fish/shellfish and wheat” on the label and got lured into trying this product on one hurried morning. Big mistake! The manufacturers had added maltodextrin as a sweetener to make their product taste better.
Several hours after breakfast, I experienced the dreaded gastrointestinal side effects. That was when I went back and carefully read the label, which I should have done earlier. It was labeled as containing maltodextrin and even had a “Phenylketonurics - contains phenylalanine” warning. Once again, I learned how valuable reading labels “carefully” is to someone like me.
Not many people are aware of maltodextrin’s side effects. Those with maltodextrin sensitivity are trying to spread the word. There is even a facebook page called “Maltodextrin Intolerance Awareness” at
As a rule of thumb, it is recommended that individuals with food allergies or Celiac disease avoid maltodextrin. Side effects may include:
1.Diarrhea. One of the most common side effects is diarrhea. Those who are allergic to or sensitive to maltodextrin, or the base starch it is processed from, can easily get an upset stomach, followed by cramps, diarrhea, bloating and watery stool.
2.Upset stomach. Another common side effect of maltodextrin is a general feeling of sickness or an upset stomach.
3.Vomiting. In rare cases, individuals who are sensitive to maltodextrin may begin to vomit after consuming the additive.
4.Hives or rashes. Maltodextrin can cause hives or rashes in certain individuals. The body will react to an unwanted additive or allergy by producing histamine, which causes hives or rashes.
5.Asthma. In rare instances, maltodextrin may cause asthma or breathing problems in those who are severely allergic or sensitive. Consult a doctor immediately if you are experiencing any difficulties with breathing or any asthmatic symptoms.