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Universal Food Additive Maltodextrin May Promote Salmonella

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by Joel Greene, VEEP Nutrition

August 13, 2014

Maltodextrin, a common  and universal food additive used in a wide range of foods such as some nutrition bars, puddings, dairy products and other processed foods may promote the colonization of salmonella bacteria according to a newly published study1 in the peer reviewed journal PLOS ONE.

According to the study, mice consuming maltodextrin laced water suffered a breakdown of the anti-microbial mucous layer separating the gut bacteria from the surface of the intestines. The study concludes that maltodextrin consumption may inhibit anti-microbial defenses in the intestines.  This in turn may promote salmonella colonization and chronic inflammatory disease.

Maltodextrin is a starch, specifically a polysaccharide usually derived from corn or wheat.  Maltodextrin is used to impart thickness and density to numerous foods such as weight gainers, salad dressings and flavorings.

Increases in reported cases of Salmonella have paralleled the adoption of packaged foods and food processing in western societies.  These new findings may shed light on a possible correlation between processed starches and the health of the gut bacteria in humans.

Critics of the study are quick to point out that the results were only done in vitro and with mice, and that further studies with human subjects would be required to firmly establish a definitive correlation between maltodextrin and salmonella in human nutrition.


The dietary polysaccharide maltodextrin promotes salmonella survival and mucosal colonization in mice.

Nickerson KPHomer CRKessler SP2, Dixon LJKabi AGordon IOJohnson EEde la Motte CAMcDonald C.