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Is it okay to drink a zero calorie drink even though it contains maltodextrin? I have just discovered a new 0 calorie drink with a few vitamins. It comes in various delicious flavors, but looking at the label it has maltodextrin in it. With all of the buzz lately about artificial sweeteners keeping people fat, is this ok to be drinking? – Susan



I’m glad you’re reading those labels! Yes, maltodextrin is okay to drink a little of and at the right time.

Maltodextrin is a common ingredient in beverages, as a carbohydrate source since it digests well, and as a texture enhancer.

Carbohydrate Loading 2.0 – Eating for Endurance

Technically it is a longer-chain carbohydrate so it can’t be classified as a sugar, even though it’s higher glycemic than white bread. What this means is that when you want a ready energy source, such as in recovery or for endurance aerobic sports, maltodextrin is suitable. In fact, many athletes add it to their shakes. For weight management concerns, high volumes of maltodextrin aren’t a good idea.

You say your drink is calorie free. Thus, it should have less than 5 calories per serving. Maltodextrin would exist at a single gram or less—in other words, a trace amount. You needn’t worry about this level…though plain water is always best.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition?

Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below. To learn how to follow the “Ask Our Dietitian” Q&A CLICK HERE!

Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.



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