A number of articles have been published recently reporting on the harmful effects of maltodextrin on Crohn’s patients. The articles say that maltodextrin increases bacteria’s ability to form biofilms and adhere to intestinal epithelial cells. “While dietary additives like maltodextrin are generally considered safe, these findings suggest that perhaps people who are prone to develop IBD should consider limiting their maltodextrin intake,” Dr. McDonald said.
Since maltodextrin is a glucose polymer (a sugar) this is not really surprising – since when are sugars ever good for you? But wait a minute, Absorb Plus, elemental diet shake, contains maltodextrin!
Well…. let’s take a deeper look at this. First of all, ALL carbohydrates are composed of sugars. And when you eat a complex carbohydrate like potatoes (a polysaccharide), the digestive process breaks it down into a simple sugar unit (a monosaccharide) for absorption to the bloodstream.
Monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, dextrose, galactose) are the smallest unit of carbohydrates. They consist of a single sugar unit. Glucose is the main molecule from which humans and animals get energy. We get this energy from eating fruits, vegetables, beans, etc. Plants make glucose by photosynthesis.
So now let’s take the scientific info and put it into practical terms. If you were a healthy person, or at least not suffering from a disease affecting your digestive system, I would say: Keep your carbohydrates (sugars) low. Eat lots of green, leafy vegetables (raw juice is great). Have beans and legumes rather than grains (rice, wheat, etc.). Eat a moderate amount of protein (grass-fed or organic) and eat lots of good fats (organic butter, coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil). Use stevia to sweeten wherever possible and definitely avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin. That’s how I eat today and that’s how my 9-year-old daughter got a solid, healthy body like this (my 2 sons also have strong, healthy bodies):
Now, you’ve got Crohn’s disease. You’re malnourished, skeletal in appearance, your intestines are ulcerated and bleeding… how many of these raw, whole foods are you able to tolerate? And beyond tolerating them, is your gut able to extract and absorb the nutrients from them? Mine sure wasn’t, back when I was in that state. Any raw vegetables or raw juice gave me instant, copious diarrhea. By the time I developed The IBD Remission Diet, even one bite of solid food caused me to hemorrhage from my colon.
In severe cases of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the body loses tolerance and becomes super hypersensitive. The intestines are so inflamed and ulcerated, the GI tract is incapable of digesting or absorbing nutrients from regular food.
Why Use Maltodextrin?
And that’s where maltodextrin and a bowel rest (elemental) diet comes in. If you try to do a bowel rest diet using only whey protein (no carbohydrate component) you will quickly surpass your maximum daily protein limit whilst still feeling really hungry and tired. But more importantly, you will likely not gain any weig