High Sugar Diet Side Effects

As it turns out, a calorie from sugar may not be the same as a calorie from fat or protein. High sugar diets may contribute more to obesity than higher-fat, low carbohydrate diets, especially when it comes to maintaining weight loss after dieting, according to a recent study published in The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).

What is maltodextrin’s role in obesity and weight gain?

While the study doesn’t specifically address maltodextrin side effects or carbohydrate intolerance or malabsorption, it does examine the effect of a high-carbohydrate (high sugar) diet on calorie expenditure and weight loss. Maltodextrin is a type of carbohydrate with a high glycemic index. Although it is technically a complex carbohydrate, it is quickly digested and broken down into glucose. It’s effects are more like that of a simple sugar than a complex carbohydrate, leading to spikes in blood sugar levels and potential weight gain.

Evidence is mounting that excessive sugar consumption is the primary culprit in weight gain, obesity and a host of related chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. It has also been suggested that sugar may be more addictive than cocaine.

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Side effects of maltodextrin and other sugars make weight loss more difficult.

For most people, the side effects of maltodextrin are the same as those of sugar in general, including the stimulation of the secretion of insulin, a hormone that has a number of functions, one of which is to increase the storage of fat in the body’s fat cells.

One of the challenging things about maltodextrin, is that people often consume it without being aware of it. It is commonly added to processed foods, and the nutrition information on the label usually classifies it as a complex carbohydrate rather than a sugar, even though it’s effects on the body are more like that of a simple sugar.

The JAMA Study

The design of the JAMA study is unique. Dr. David Ludwig and his research team put obese subjects on a semi-starvation diet until they had lost between 10 to 15 percent of the their body weight.

This simulated the weight loss seen during intense dieting—the kind of weight loss that is especially hard to maintain because it causes metabolic adaptations including reduced calorie burning for energy. In other words, people who have reached a particular weight by dieting burn fewer calories for energy than those who are the same weight naturally.

The researchers measured how many calories each of these weight loss subjects were expending and fed them exactly that number of calories, but rotated the subjects through three different types of diets. Each type of diet contained the same number of calories, but had very different nutrient compositions. The subjects were rotated through all three types of diets, so every person was exposed to each diet for one month, while their daily calorie expenditures were measured.

One group was put on a low-fat, carbohydrate-rich diet, like those often recommended by government agencies and medical organizations. The diet included whole grains, fruits and vegetables and only lean sources of protein.

A second group ate a low-glycemic diet, with fewer carbohydrates overall. The carbohydrates that were included in the second group’s diet consisted of non-starchy vegetables and legumes, with very few processed foods.

Finally, a third group ate according to the Atkins diet—minimal carbohydrates with high fat and protein.

Results showed that the fewer carbohydrates in the diet, the more energy, in calories, the subjects expended. On the very low-carbohydrate diet, people expended 300 more calories per day than those on the high-carbohydrate diet, low-fat diet. People on the low-glycemic diet burned 150 more calories than those on high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet.

Put in other words, the high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet caused metabolic changes resulting in 300 fewer calories being burned by the body each day. That means in order to maintain their weight loss, the people on the high-carbohydrate diet would either need to consume 300 less calories per day or increase the amount of moderate exercise they get each day by about one hour. That’s considerable amount of work to make up for those calories, which the lowest carbohydrate dieters burned without any extra effort.

Even though all the subjects were fed exactly the number of calories they were burning after their initial weight loss, once a month had passed, the people on a high-carbohydrate diet were burning far few calories than those on the lower carbohydrate diets.

This suggests that the composition of the diet affects the number of calories burned. Burning fewer calories means weight gain, so those eating the same number of calories, but with high carbohydrates, will have a harder time staying lean.

Dr. Ludwig’s results need to be confirmed by other researchers, and a longer-term study is needed to show that these effects continue beyond the one-month duration that each subject was on a particular diet. Still, the study adds to the mounting evidence that excessive sugar consumption is a major contributor to obesity.

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What is Maltodextrin?

If you have read the list of ingredients on any packaged cereals, desserts, sodas, salad dressings, candy, sugar substitutes or any number of other foods, you may have found yourself wondering what is maltodextrin? (along with a slew of other mysterious ingredients).

Maltodextrin is one of those “sneaky” food additives that you are probably consuming whether you know it or not, especially if you eat processed foods. It also turns up in some unexpected places such as some vitamin supplements, pharmaceuticals, and sugar substitutes like Splenda and Equal.

What is Maltodextrin Made of?

Maltodextrin is produced from starch, and on its own usually appears as a white powder or a concentrated solution. In the United States it is typically made from corn, rice or potato starch, while in Europe wheat is commonly used. Barley is another possible source. It is made by cooking the starch in the presence of acids and/or enzymes in a process called hydrolysis, which is similar to the way starch is broken down during digestion.

Maltodextrin White PowderAccording to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, maltodextrin “is a nonsweet nutritive saccharide polymer that consists of D-glucose units linked primarily by [alpha]-1–4 bonds. In other words, maltodextrin is a carbohydrate made up of chains of glucose, a simple sugar. It commonly confused with maltose because of its name, but maltodextrin does not contain maltose.

Maltodextrin can be slightly sweet to almost flavorless. Although the FDA calls it “nonsweet,” different types of maltodextrin vary in sweetness and have a range of DE values.

What is Maltodextrin Used for?

You will find maltodextrin in many, if not most, processed foods. Sometimes it is added to give a slight sweet taste to products like cereals, potato chips and powdered drinks. It is also used as a thickener or filler because it is inexpensive and does not significantly alter the flavor of processed foods.

It is used as a binder in many vitamins and pharmaceuticals, both in pill and powder form. It is found in many sports drinks as a source of rapidly absorbed carbohydrates. Maltodextrin is also used as a filler in sugar substitutes like Splenda and Equal. Splenda contains sucralose, which is approximately 600 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose), so only a tiny amount of sucralose is used in a packet of Splenda—the rest is maltodextrin. This also means that sugar substitutes containing maltodextrin are not truly sugar-free.

Are there Maltodextrin Side Effects to Your Health?

While maltodextrin is made from natural sources (it can even be considered organic, if the starch is from organically grown plants), it is still a processed additive isolated from its natural context.

For optimal health, a diet of whole, organic, unprocessed foods is recommended. If consuming processed foods always read the the label and ask questions like “What is Maltodextrin?” about the ingredients.

The use of wheat or barley starch may be of concern for those who suffer from wheat gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

Like all carbohydrates, maltodextrin contains 4 calories per gram. It is not as sweet to the taste as sucrose (table sugar) or glucose because of its chemical structure, but it does have high glycemic index. It’s easily digested and absorbed, and it will have an effect on blood sugar depending on the amount present in foods eaten. It’s often difficult to tell how much maltodextrin is present because it’s included in the total carbohydrate content of processed foods.

Other articles will look at some of the possible maltodextrin side effects in more detail.

The Future of Health Now

Reading the labels on the foods you eat and asking questions like what is maltodextrin? are important steps in ensuring your good health. It can seem like these are just small steps, but each small step leads a little further down the path to better health, weight loss and overall wellness. Knowledge is the key to reaching your health and wellness goals. Once you’ve begun asking those all-important questions, you need a source of up-to-date information. Here at the What is Maltodextrin? website we’ve come across a program that was recently launched called The Future of Health Now. It gives you ongoing access to the hottest topics in health and wellness, and the scientific discoveries and innovations that are leading the way to better health. Health information evolves as more research is done, and what was once considered the best information can change, seemingly overnight, and often with great controversy. Remember when fat was the villain and a high-carbohydrate diet was considered the most healthy? Now evidence, both anecdotal and scientific, is suggesting that a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar is the culprit in the obesity and diabetes epidemic, and articles such as this one in the New York Times Magazine actually asks “Is Sugar Toxic?” Gary Taubes, journalist, science writer and author of “Is Sugar Toxic?” is just one of the many contributors to The Future of Health Now. He is the author of Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. Others Future of Health Now contributors include : Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, founder of The UltraWellness Center and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Dr. Hyman recently published the book The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!. Founder of The Memory Enhancement Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Dr. Cynthia Green. Along with the editors of Prevention magazine, she has published Brainpower Game Plan: Sharpen Your Memory, Improve Your Concentration, and Age-Proof Your Mind in Just 4 Weeks. Longevity and anti-aging researcher Dr. Aubrey de Grey, about whom the MIT Technology Review said “Aubrey de Grey is a man of ideas, and he has set himself toward the goal of transforming the basis of what it means to be human.” He is a co-author of Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime. Watch Aubrey de Grey’s TED Talk here: Get access to The Future of Health Now! At the time of this writing, The Future of Health Now is offering the program Why Can’t You Lose Weight: Lies, Lies, And Finally The Truth About Safe, Effective Fat Loss. This program examines the debate about which diets work best, low carb vs low fat, plant-based vs meat-based and more. It also looks into the facts and myths about the effectiveness of different exercise programs from cardio to strength training, yoga to Zumba and many more. And that’s just this month. Future content will content […] Read more »

What is Maltodextrin’s Role in Nutrition?

Maltodextrin is made up of glucose, a simple sugar that the body uses for fuel. In and of itself, maltodextrin has no other nutritional value than the glucose it contains, so when it is added to food, it is only supplying additional sugar. For more basic information, please see the post What is Maltodextrin? Although maltodextrin is considered a complex carbohydrate because it consists of branched chains of glucose molecules, its highly processed state divorces it from the accompanying nutrients found in whole foods. It is quickly digested and has a high qlycemic index similar to simple sugars. Glucose is required for the body as a primary source of energy, however, there is rarely a need to supplement it. Proper nutrition rich in green, leafy vegetables and fruits, along with limited consumption of grains and starchy vegetables (like potatoes or yams) typically supplies plenty of glucose for the average person. Some endurance athletes and bodybuilders do use maltodextrin as an energy-booster and recovery aid. It is a common ingredient in sports drinks. Once again, however, it is supplying only the stripped down energy from a highly processed additive, without the benefit of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients found in whole foods. Many sports drinks are little more than sugar-water, and although they can provide an energy boost, there is nothing healthy about them. In fact, a new breed of endurance athlete, like Ultraman competitor Rich Roll, is showing how a plant-based diet can supply the physiological building blocks for optimum nutrition. During training and competition, Roll relies on whole foods as much as possible, with supplementation that is based in sound overall nutrition, not quick energy fixes. See his book Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself for more information. Do You Need Maltodextrin in Your Diet? The answer is a simple no. Maltodextrin is an additive, often used as a binder or filler in processed foods, with no nutritional value beyond the extra glucose it supplies. Many people don’t even realize they are consuming extra sugar because maltodextrin is present in so many processed foods. Additional sugar means additional calories as well as other potential problems associated with excessive sugar consumption, especially when combined with a sedentary lifestyle. Long-term elevated blood glucose levels can contribute to: Weight gain High blood pressure Elevated cholesterol Heart disease Insulin resistance Metabolic syndrome Type 2 diabetes Premature aging Other possible maltodextrin side effects are discussed here. Since maltodextrin is a very common additive in processed foods, it can be difficult to know just how much one is consuming, as it’s usually lumped into the “Total carbohydrates” category on food labels. Most egregious, perhaps, is that maltodextrin is used as a filler in “sugar substitutes” like Splenda and Equal. Most people don’t realize that these substitutes are not actually sugar-free because they contain maltodextrin. Sucralose and aspartame (the synthetic sweeteners in each of these products, respectively) are unhealthy themselves. To avoid consuming unexpected amounts of sugars […] Read more »

Maltodextrin Side Effects

Maltodextrin is a sugar, specifically a polysaccharide that breaks down into glucose as it is digested, and so the most widespread maltodextrin side effects are the same as those associated with excessive sugar consumption, such as weight gain, obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. While maltodextrin consumption doesn’t cause these health problems by itself, it’s presence in the food we eat can contribute to them. Sugar consumption is at an all-time high in the standard American diet, and is increasing in other parts of the world as well. The addition of maltodextrin to processed foods is just one more way that additional sugar enters ours diets. Individuals with diabetes, celiac disease, or allergies to particular starches should be wary regarding their consumption of maltodextrin. Dangers include insulin spikes and possible reactions to gluten or other substances that could be present in minute amounts in the food additive. If you have any of these ailments, it’s generally a good idea to avoid eating processed foods altogether. There are many anecdotal reports online and elsewhere of people experiencing maltodextrin side effects, however, there are no peer-reviewed studies that specifically confirm maltodextrin intolerance or malabsorption. Since maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate made up of chains of glucose, these people may be experiencing some type of carbohydrate intolerance or malabsorption, either of maltodextrin itself or of other carbohydrates, such as sorbitol, fructose, raffinose, or galactose, which can often be found in the same processed foods as maltodextrin. Carbohydrate intolerance or malabsorption is common in infants and young children, but many adults also experience carbohydrate intolerance, with acquired lactose intolerance being the most common. In any case, the symptoms experienced by those reporting side effects of maltodextrin consumption are similar to those of most carbohydrate intolerances and include.: Upset stomach Diarrhea Vomiting Hives Rashes Asthma These types of reactions directly to maltodextrin are rare, and if you experience them, consult a qualified healthcare practitioner. Perhaps the most common dangers are not in the consumption of maltodextrin itself, but in eating the kinds of foods that often contain it. Maltodextrin is added to a wide variety of processed foods as discussed in the article What is Maltodextrin? Basics, including many so-called health and diet foods. You will also find it on the list of ingredients in most “junk” foods, along with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and salt. As a food additive, pure maltodextrin is designated “Generally Recognized as Safe,” by the FDA. You often see this designation abbreviated as GRAS. However, GRAS does not mean that maltodextrin is a healthy, nutritional addition to our food. The easiest way to avoid any possible maltodextrin side effects is to eat a balanced diet of whole foods while avoiding any processed foods or artificial sugar substitutes. Read more »

Welcome to What is Maltodextrin

Welcome to this informational site that will answer the question What is Maltodextrin? This site is currently under construction, but come back soon for more information. Thank you. Read more »