Having sugar cravings is very common even for the keto dieters. Most of the keto dieters will tell you that they face intense sugar cravings at the beginning of their diet plan.
But the success mantra of cutting kilos with a keto diet is ‘no sugar’. So, the only best way to satisfy your sweet tooth without kicking out of ketosis or delaying fat loss is replacing the normal sugars with ‘keto-friendly sugars’.
Even when you’re using the keto-friendly products, you have to be very cautious. As most of the so-called “low-carb” and “sugar-free” products contain harmful sugar alternatives that can easily hamper your weight loss process.
Maltodextrin is also considered a good alternative for normal sugars while you’re on a keto diet as it is believed it has lower sugar counts.
Is it really so? Is maltodextrin really a good sugar alternative? Can maltodextrin keto diet deliver the same results as a no-sugar keto diet?
Let’s get into details and find out!
What is Maltodextrin?
Maltodextrin is probably a new word for you unless you’re a dietician or nutritionist.
If you’re into reading labels of all the products before you buy, you must have come across this word but as it seems a foreign-sounding ingredient, people always miss out its presence.
Maltodextrin is a white powder made from rice, corn, potato starch or wheat. The base starch from the above products is hydrolyzed (broken down by chemical reaction with water), filtered and purified, then you get either maltodextrin, or corn syrup solids.
The only difference between Maltodextrin and Corn syrup Solids is that maltodextrin is hydrolyzed to have less than 20% sugar content, whereas corn syrup solids have more than 20%.
The process of hydrolyzation breaks down the starch particles and turns it into a water-soluble white powder.
Although maltodextrin is made from grains and vegetables, it is not a very healthy sugar as it is highly processed.
It also works as a common additive in many processed and packaged foods to increase their volume and preserve them for long. You can also find it in canned products such as fruit, powdered drinks, desserts and nutrition bars.
It’s inexpensive and easy to produce so, it comes on the top for thickening products such as instant pudding, gelatins, sauces, and salad dressings. You can even find it in personal care items such as lotions and hair care products.
Does It Have a Low Sugar Count?
Yes, you might say that Maltodextrin is low in sugar counts but calling it keto-friendly sweetener is not a right thing!
Talking about the nutritional value of Maltodextrin- It has 4 calories per gram, the same number of calories as sucrose, or table sugar.
Maltodextrin is high on the glycemic index (GI), even higher than the table sugar ranging from 106 to 136 that means it can easily cause a spike in your blood sugar levels.
It is safe to consume it in very small amounts but people with diabetes or on a keto diet plan should totally avoid its consumption.
Let’s see what the other good and bad sides of Maltodextrin are!
Good Sides of Maltodextrin
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted maltodextrin as a safe food additive and it’s also included in the nutritional value of food as part of the total carbohydrate count.
Maltodextrin Keto may or may not be a good choice but it definitely have some superb benefits for our body.
1. Excellent Energy Product
Athletes eat food products with high glycemic index to help their body restore glycogen as soon as possible. Maltodextrin is a great energy product for athletes as it is quickly absorbed by the body and gives an immediate energy boost.
A lot of sports supplement companies add Maltodextrin in their products to give quick energy shots to the individuals.
2. Benefits in Intestinal Functions
The efficiency of Maltodextrin in improving intestinal functions is backed up by lots of studies. Moderate consumption of maltodextrin in your daily food can improve stool consistency and volume, and colonic transit time.
3. Helps in Fighting With Chronic Hypoglycemia
Chronic hypoglycemia or non-diabetic hypoglycemia is the condition when your blood glucose (sugar) levels are too low. A diabetic person can develop this condition due to the mismatch of the medicines or foods but it is a very rare condition for a non-diabetic person.
In this condition, Maltodextrin can be used as a good source of blood sugar.
Bad Sides of Maltodextrin
Maltodextrin has a lot of side effects especially for people on a ketogenic diet.
1. High Glycemic Index
As already discussed, the high glycemic index of Maltodextrin is very harmful to keto-dieters. It can resist the blood sugar and insulin levels which causes weight gain, diabetes, and inflammation.
It is not at all suitable with Keto diet or people suffering from diabetes.
2. Falls in the Category of GMO
GMO or Genetically Modified Foods have always got a bad reputation due to the several health risk factors associated with them. Some of them are compromised immunity, issues with insulin regulation, infertility, and even accelerated aging.
It is believed that Maltodextrin is produced from Genetically Modified Corn and thus people who are GMO conscious stays away from Maltodextrin.
3. Can Cause Weight Gain
The high Glycemic index of maltodextrin can be blamed for the potential weight gain.
Another issue with Maltodextrin is that it is just a sweetener and a carbohydrate without any probable nutritional value.
This makes it more of a filler component than helping with the weight loss, as expected from a Keto-friendly sweetener.
4. Chances of Autoimmune Disorders
Maltodextrin is also linked to a few dangerous autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s disease that causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition.
5. Proved Bad for Gut Health
It has been proved that excessive consumption of Maltodextrin alters the gut bacteria and makes us more prone to diseases. It also increases the growth of bad bacteria such as E. coli. In our stomach that can cause certain issues.
It can also hamper the growth of healthy probiotics in our digestive system, which is needed by our immune system for optimal function.
Other Alternatives of Maltodextrin for Keto Diet
There are so many low-carb and low glycemic sweeteners but most of them are dangerous to your health.
Finding the best healthy sugar alternative for your keto diet plan is a big task because the last thing you want to do after being so careful in your eating is to use a sweetener that hinders your ketosis. All your efforts will be lost!
If maltodextrin keto is a bad option, then what are the good options in hand?
There are also several other low-carb sweeteners that don’t kick you out of ketosis and satisfies your sweet temptation. Make sure the sweeteners you choose fit the below five criteria!
- Sugar alcohol
- Natural Sugar
- Low net Carbs
- The low glycemic index (GI)
To make your keto diet easier we have listed the best Keto-friendly sweeteners that will make your ketosis sweeter and simpler!
Erythritol is an artificial sweeter or sugar alcohol that is made by combining and fermenting certain natural sugars found in Corn.
Erythritol is not absorbed by the body and will not contribute to weight gain and doesn’t even affect the blood glucose levels.
The glycemic index (GI) of Erythritol is Zero and contains 5g of carbs and 20 calories per 100g. Make sure you consume Erythritol in moderate amounts or it can cause certain stomach discomforts.
Allulose is a natural sugar compound that can be obtained from maple syrup, caramel sauce, and brown sugar.
A monosaccharide or we can say a simple sugar, Allulose is absorbed by the body, but not metabolized so it is nearly calorie-free.
It’s got a glycemic index (GI) of zero and has between 0 to 5g of carb and 20 to 40 calories per 100g.
It also helps in decreasing insulin and blood sugar levels.
Stevia is one of the best sugar substitutes for keto dieters as it derived from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana. It is a natural sweetener with the glycemic index (GI) placed at Zero.
The active compounds in Stevia are steviol glycosides, which have 30 to 150 times the sweetness of sugar and still contains just 5g of carbs and 20 calories per 100g.
It also comes packed with other health benefits such as lowering blood glucose, blood levels, and insulin levels. It also has inflammatory properties.
Maltodextrin keto diet may seem a good idea due to the low sugar count, but the reality is contrary to the same. The high Glycemic index of Maltodextrin results in the increase of carbs and it also disrupts our healthy gut.
So, for people who are on a strict Keto-Diet, Maltodextrin is a big No-No. If you can’t resist your sugar cravings, you can try Stevia, allulose or Erythritol in place of table sugar to continue with your ketosis!