What are dextrins?

Dextrins, also called starch gum, artificial gum, British gum or vegetable gum, are partially hydrolyzed starches, which are short-chain polysaccharides composed of glucose molecules linked by alpha-(1,4) and alpha-(1,6) glycosidic bonds.

Nutrition Facts for Dextrin

  • Calories per gram = 3.8-4.1 [4,5]
  • Sweetness = no to moderate sweetness
  • Net carbohydrates = 100

Dextrin Function

Dextrin is a source of energy; it contains 3.8-4.1 Calories per gram [4,5]. Dextrin is not an essential nutrient, so you do not need to get it from food to be healthy.

Dextrin Sources

  • Dextrin is produced during the starch digestion in the mouth and duodenum by the help of the enzyme alpha-amylase.
  • Some dextrin is produced by the starch breakdown during cooking.
  • Dextrin is produced during malting and mashing.
  • Dextrin can be artificially produced from corn (in the U.S.), potato, rice, arrowroot, wheat, milo, sago or tapioca starch using heat, acids, alkali or enzymes [1].

Dextrin Digestion

Dextrin is digested on the surface of the small intestinal lining by the help of the enzymes isomaltase and glucoamylase to maltose, which is further digested to glucose, which is absorbed [3].

Dextrin Uses

Dextrin can be used as a:

  • Crispness enhancer in coatings and glazes
  • Foam stabilizer in beer [2]
  • Thickener in creams, baked goods, puddings, soup mixes, etc. [2]
  • Fat or sugar replacer in low-calorie foods
  • Binder in coated pills, carrier in multivitamin tablets [2]

Dextrin and Cooking

  • Commercially available dextrins appear as white, yellow or brown powders.
  • Dextrin is soluble in water [5].

Dextrin Safety, Side Effects

Dextrin is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); it has no known toxic effects [1].

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