Dr. Friedman’s Health Blog

Are You Eating Soluble Corn Fiber?

By: Dr. David Friedman

Soluble corn fiber (also called maltodextrin) is a non-digestible fiber used in many processed foods including cookies, crackers, soups, and salad dressings. It’s basically a cheap way for manufacturers to thicken up things like protein bars, soups, sauces, dressings, and increase their shelf life. 

Soluble corn fiber is made from GMO corn syrup, which is chemically processed. Then it’s heated, hydrolyzed, and filtered into a white tasteless powder. It’s often labeled as “Ketogenic Diet Friendly” because it has a much lower glycemic index (GI) than sugar. This is a measurement of how fast sugar is absorbed into the body. However, even with a lower GI measurement, it’s still a carbohydrate with zero nutritional value. Corn (and products derived from it) is on my list of foods to avoid in my book Food Sanity, How to Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction.   What do factory farms do when they want to fatten up cows and pigs quickly? They feed them corn! Adding corn to bulk up processed foods is also a common practice. The problem with corn is, it’s highly inflammatory and has been linked to causing an array of health issues, including type 2 diabetes, leaky gut, autoimmune disease and more.

The food industry knows many people are reading labels and avoiding GMO corn. So they’re being sneaky and hiding corn on labels by using names like: 

* maltodextrin 
* dextrin
* dextrose
* glucose
* zein 
* malt, malt syrup, malt extract
* GDL – glucona delta lactone 
* mono-glycerides, di glycerides
* sorbitol
* sugar – if it doesn’t say beet (which is mainly gmo), or cane
* modified food starch
* caramel flavoring or coloring –
* xanthan gum. 

.... just to name a few 

During the extensive research I conducted for my book, I followed the money and discovered that the majority of studies showing the health benefits of corn have been bought and paid for (i.e BUYiased.) The U.S is the world's largest producer and exporter of corn.  While some data shows soluble corn fiber added to foods can act as a healthy prebiotic, other research contradicts this. In fact, soluble corn fiber may suppress the proliferation of beneficial bacteria like bifidobacteria and increase the number of harmful bacteria in your digestive tract. This can make you more susceptible to gut dysbiosis and a lowered immune system. PLOS One Medical Journal published research showing that soluble corn fiber increases the survival of Salmonella bacteria, which can cause gastroenteritis and a broad range of chronic inflammatory conditions.

While this corn-derived fiber is great at bulking up food items, it can also bulk up your gut with cellulose, a type of fiber that humans can’t break down easily. Want to know another type of cellulose added to food? Wood pulp! In fact, pieces of wood are used in many common foods on the market. The FDA approves pieces of wood in our food and considers them safe for human consumption.  I guess chewing on all those number 2 pencils as a bored student was a good thing?

In my opinion, eating too many processed foods with binders and fillers like soluble GMO corn fiber (or wood chips) can lead to health issues. I prefer healthier fiber in my food. There are better options like stevia, monk fruit, dates, pectin and guar gum.


About the Author

Dr. David Friedman is the author of the award-winning, #1 national best-selling book Food Sanity, How to Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction. He's a  Doctor of Naturopathy, Chiropractic Neurologist, Clinical Nutritionist, Board Certified Alternative Medical Practitioner, and Board Certified in Integrative Medicine.  Dr. Friedman is a syndicated television health expert and host of To Your Good Health Radio, which has changed the face of talk radio by incorporating entertainment, shock value, and solutions to everyday health and wellness issues.

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