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Is maltodextrin gluten-free? Answers for celiac disease sufferers

Lana Bandoim's picture
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Are you struggling to figure out if maltodextrin is gluten-free and safe for those with celiac disease?


There is ongoing confusion among members of the gluten-free and celiac disease community about the safety of maltodextrin. One of the main problems is that maltodextrin, which is a processed sugar and food additive, can be made from different types of starches including wheat. The next time you are worried about maltodextrin being gluten-free, you may want to remember the following information.

What is maltodextrin?

Maltodextrin is a sweetener that is frequently added to a variety of food products ranging from yogurt to baked goods. It is a highly processed sugar that tends to be made from starches such as corn, wheat, potato, tapioca or rice. During the processing stage, the proteins are removed from the starches, so the final product does not contain them.

You often see maltodextrin listed on gluten-free baked products and packaged foods. According to a study from the Journal of Food Engineering, maltodextrin can improve gluten-free dough and bread. Since it is a white powder, it is easy to add to baking mixes and other recipes.

Is maltodextrin gluten-free?

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Maltodextrin is considered gluten-free as long as wheat is not listed as the source. For example, you may see maltodextrin alone on the label without any indication of the starch that was used to make it. According to the FDA, it would be considered gluten-free in this case. It is important to keep in mind that this processed sugar can be made from potato, rice, tapioca and corn, but you may not see these sources listed on the label.

You may also see ingredient lists that indicate that the maltodextrin is made from wheat. The labels may state wheat maltodextrin or maltodextrin (wheat). There is some debate about the safety of this type of sugar. One side argues that maltodextrin is highly processed, and the manufacturers remove all the protein, which includes gluten, so it is safe. On the other hand, others argue that a small amount of cross-contamination is possible and that they do not feel safe eating maltodextrin made from wheat.

Does maltodextrin have malt?

Malt, which is made from barley, is not gluten-free. However, it is not part of maltodextrin and should not be confused with it. Despite the similar names, the two products are not related.

Is maltodextrin dairy-free?

It is common for those who have celiac disease and gluten intolerance to also be sensitive to dairy, and they are forced to avoid another food group. You may or may not be able to tolerate milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. However, maltodextrin does not naturally contain dairy ingredients, so it is considered dairy-free.

The next time you see maltodextrin on the label, you should be able to tell if it is gluten-free and safe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. It is crucial to develop a habit of always reading the ingredients on the labels of the products you purchase.