A maltodextrin is a short chain of molecularly linked dextrose (glucose) molecules, and is manufactured by regulating the hydrolysis of starch. Typical commercial maltodextrins contain as few as three and as many as nineteen linked dextrose units.

While the singular term “maltodextrin” is permitted in an ingredient statement, the term “maltodextrin” can be applied to any starch hydrolysis product that contains fewer than 20 dextrose (glucose) units linked together. This means that the term “maltodextrin” stands for a family of products, not a single distinct ingredient.

Additionally, today’s commercially important maltodextrin products are produced from corn, potato or rice. Unlike the other starch sweeteners, the undefined term “maltodextrin” can be used in an ingredient list no matter the original source of starch.

Maltodextrins are used in a wide array of foods, from canned fruits to snacks. Maltodextrins may also be an ingredient in the single-serve, table-top packet of some artificial sweeteners.

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