Is Maltodextrin Safe During Pregnancy? Safety + Risks

Photo of author

Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

Published on

BabyFacts logo

Have you ever noticed maltodextrin in the ingredients list of your favorite foods? Let’s talk about this common ingredient and whether you can safely consume it during pregnancy. 

Overall, maltodextrin is safe to consume during pregnancy. However, keep in mind that maltodextrin is a type of sugar that can increase your blood sugar levels when consumed excessively. 

In this article, we will discuss the safety of maltodextrin, its side effects, as well as tapioca maltodextrin and more!

Is Maltodextrin Safe During Pregnancy? 

Maltodextrin is safe for you during your pregnancy. But what exactly is it?

Simply put, maltodextrin is a starch that is added to many packaged and processed food products to improve shelf life, quality, or flavor. It does not have a taste or much of a color, and it is made from different starches, such as tapioca.

maltodextrin on a wooden spoon

Maltodextrin is most commonly found in highly processed products, including food and drinks. For instance, you may find maltodextrin in candy, energy drinks, protein powder, and desserts, as well as savory products such as rice, pasta, soups, and gravy. 

Maltodextrin is classified as GRAS or “Generally Recognized As Safe” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, it is safe for everyone to consume, including pregnant women. 

What About Tapioca Maltodextrin? 

Tapioca maltodextrin is also safe for consumption during pregnancy as long as you do not have too much of it. As mentioned above, since maltodextrin is derived from starch, it can be made from corn, potato, tapioca, and more. Therefore, tapioca maltodextrin is found on many ingredient lists.

This type of maltodextrin can be used to replace fats in ice cream, desserts, cheese products, and other items (source: Delighted Cooking). It also has no color, smell, or taste, so it does not alter the flavor of your favorite foods. 

Are There Side Effects of Maltodextrin When Pregnant? 

Consuming too much maltodextrin in food products can contribute to body weight gain and high blood sugar levels. 

Although maltodextrin is safe for you to consume while you are pregnant, it is essential to remember that it is derived from starch and is a type of sugar.

adding maltodextrin in a glass

Additionally, some studies have demonstrated that maltodextrin could interfere with the bacteria in your gut microbiome.

The gut microbiome is the community of healthy (and unhealthy) bacteria that lives in the gastrointestinal tract. When the gut microbiome is healthy and balanced, it can provide defense against microbes that cause inflammation and other problems.

Maltodextrin could interfere with this healthy balance. For example, a paper published in 2015 described how maltodextrin in the diet could disrupt the gut microbiome’s ability to fight off microbes in the gastrointestinal tract (source: Gut Microbes).

Finally, many people wonder if products containing maltodextrin are gluten-free. To find out, look at the ingredient label. If it does not list “wheat” as an ingredient, the product can be considered gluten-free (source: Beyond Celiac). 

Maltodextrin has some benefits. It is a fast-acting carbohydrate source that can quickly increase your blood sugar levels, making it a great choice if you are doing a vigorous workout. For this reason, maltodextrin is a common ingredient in sports drinks

Keep in mind that sources of maltodextrin are most commonly found in highly processed foods that are often high in calories, fat, sugar content, and sodium.

If you consume a healthy and balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy, an occasional maltodextrin intake should be fine.

I hope this article helped break down the information on maltodextrin and some considerations for your pregnancy.