Dextrin: What is it? Structure, Chemical Formula, Types, Formation, Uses and Benefits

They are a category that includes several different strains of carbohydrates that are produced by the hydrolysis of starch.

Starches are complex carbohydrates that are made up primarily of sugar molecules. Starches are mainly found in plants, specifically in many of the essential foods such as:

  • Papas.
  • Corn.
  • Rice.

They are the most common form of carbohydrates found in most diets. It is a common food additive covering the structure and chemical formula as a thickening agent and preservative in foods.

Carbohydrates are one of the basic needs of human beings, necessary to stay alive by providing energy to the body.

Carbohydrates come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and sources. For instance:

  • Table sugar is generally used to sweeten beverages, desserts, and foods.
  • Whole wheat toast has other types of complex carbohydrates.
  • Apples and carrots are packed with even more types of complex carbohydrates.

Structure of dextrins

To define the structure and composition of dextrins, the following terms must be known:

  • A polysaccharide is a carbohydrate made up of long chains of sugar units.
  • Hydrolysis divides a compound into two or more simple ones by adding water.
  •  Dextrin is a water-soluble polysaccharide formed by the hydrolysis of starch, which is itself a carbohydrate.

Chemical formula

Because Dextrin is a type of carbohydrate, its chemical formula is made up of three elements:


  • Carbon (C).
  • Hydrogen (H).
  • Oxygen (O).

So the basic chemical formula of Dextrin is (C6 H10 O5) n. Here, ‘n’ represents the number of glucose (simple sugar) molecules in the chain.

Types of Dextrin

They can be made with corn, wheat, or potatoes from almost any starch source. Dextrins are classified into a few different types:

  • White dextrins.
  • Yellow dextrins, canaries, or British gums.

They are all water-soluble solutions and are generally less dense than the starch from potatoes or wheat.

There are several different uses for dextrins. One of the most popular is in the adhesive industry.

Due to their solubility in water, dextrins are ideal for adhesives and glues activated with water. Dextrins are also used for printing on cotton fabrics in the textile industry.

White dextrins alone are used in the food industry. A combination of acid and water typically creates these during hydrolysis.

How are dextrins formed?

Dextrins are generally a by-product or intermediate product of other processes, such as cooking or enzyme activation. The most common example is the maximum crispiness of freshly baked bread.

The exact properties of your Dextrin will largely depend on the type of starch it was formed from, so wheat dextrin, for example, will have very different reactions and properties than corn dextrin or potato dextrin.

Wheat dextrin is a famous example and is a by-product of the process that extracts proteins from wheat gluten.

Wheat starch is sprayed with an acid solution and then suspended in water. After a while, the wheat starch is roasted until dry, then converted to Dextrin, packaged, and ready to go.

What is Dextrin used for?

Wheat dextrin is used to thicken many products in the food industry, such as soups or stews, or baby food.

This is also a popular fat replacement ingredient in low-calorie foods.

Wheat dextrin is an excellent source of soluble fiber. There are many differences between soluble and insoluble fibers. Still, the primary lesson is that soluble fiber is easily and quickly digested and helps you stick to things like bad cholesterol, thereby helping to reduce it in the body.

Another widespread use for Dextrin in food is to make food crunchy or as a coating.

Dextrin also gives fried foods that extra brown, crunchy texture.

Does Dextrin contain gluten?

Many dextrins in food come from non-wheat sources, such as tapioca, rice, or potatoes.

In these cases, the body will be safe from any gluten particles, so people with gluten intolerance or sensitivity should not worry about Dextrin.

Wheat dextrin will, in some cases, process gluten, so this is not a concern.

However, in some cases, gluten can remain in the Dextrin in an amount more incredible than allowed. In these cases, the manufacturer must use the word “wheat” in their ingredients to warn people who are gluten sensitive or have celiac disease.

Dextrin qualities

There are several qualities that Dextrin possesses, such as that it is a high source of soluble fiber.

A high fiber diet has been linked to numerous health benefits, including:

  • Weightloss.
  • Better skin health.
  • Higher bone density.
  • Lower cholesterol.

Fiber is considered a natural detoxifier, and most cancers have been linked to more toxic internal environments, so fiber, in some cases, has been linked to a lower risk of cancers such as:

  • Colon cancer.
  • Liver cancer.

Fiber keeps your bowel movements regular, speeds up digestion, and facilitates the flow of everything you eat through your system, from the beginning to the end of digestion.

It also allows the body to absorb nutrients more gently and helps to flush out bad things without allowing them to sit in the body for long.

Besides being an incredible source of fiber, Dextrin is considered a prebiotic, which helps with digestive problems and helps maintain homeostasis in the stomach.

Dextrins have also been shown to lower triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of strokes and heart disease.

Consuming Dextrin can help lower the glycemic index of food, which helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Consuming Dextrin can help almost every system in the body function more appropriately and avoid intoxication and a hostile environment for the digestive process.

Dextrin is one of the most scientifically dense terms in the healthy eating dictionary, but it provides a host of health benefits for the correct treatment of the body.

Dextrin benefits

Most dietary fibers offer numerous health benefits, including weight loss and cleansing of toxins.

Dextrin has been linked to supporting heart health, blood sugar, and overall health. Here are 8 of the top dextrin benefits.

Promotes healthy intestinal flora

Dextrin is considered a prebiotic, a compound that feeds probiotics or “good” bacteria.

It has been shown to help lactobacilli, a powerful beneficial bacteria responsible for supporting digestion. As good bacteria proliferate throughout the digestive system, a balanced ratio of good to harmful bacteria is established.

 Supports healthy cholesterol levels

Dietary fiber has been shown to lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels to support cardiovascular health.

As a dietary fiber, Dextrin is no exception and has been shown to lower triglyceride levels.

Triglycerides are fats in the blood that can increase heart disease and the risk of stroke.

Although it can lower LDL levels, Dextrin can help maintain HDL or “good” cholesterol levels.

Relieves occasional constipation

In general, fiber provides bulk in the intestines and allows the elimination of waste from the body through a greater frequency of bowel movements.

Fiber, including Dextrin, should be consumed with plenty of water for effectiveness. Without hydration, the thread cannot move and can aggravate constipation.

Dietary fiber supplements often contain Dextrin as one of the sources of fiber because it is so effective.


The purifying effects of Dextrin are related to its ability to increase the frequency of bowel movements.

Many toxins are stored in human waste. However, many people find it difficult to dispose of this waste regularly.

Indigestible fiber also binds to various toxins in the body, such as PCBs, and aids in their excretion.

Its ability to provide growth for beneficial bacteria in the digestive system also aids in cleansing. Probiotics are essential in reducing toxic bacteria that contribute to common health conditions.

Supports healthy blood sugar

Fiber has a long-standing reputation for supporting healthy blood sugar levels and type II diabetics in healthy individuals.

Along with all dietary fibers, Dextrin can help reduce the glycemic load of a carbohydrate-containing meal.

These fibers must be taken before or during a meal to noticeable effect. Although fiber is a carbohydrate, it is not digested and does not increase blood sugar or insulin.

Water-soluble fiber, such as Dextrin, shows the most beneficial effect on glucose levels.

Supports heart health

The cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering effects of Dextrin make it an excellent dietary addition to supporting heart health.

The compound can provide support for the heart and blood vessels, an action that can reduce the risk of heart disease.

These are the main factors in which Dextrin supports heart health. However, many researchers speculate whether or not fiber offers more benefits to the cardiovascular system.

Future studies may provide more evidence supporting Dextrin and promoting heart health.

Provides satiety and healthy weight loss

Dextrin can help provide satiety, helping the body feel full and satisfied.

Fiber creates more volume in the stomach and breaks down very slowly in all its forms. This feeling of fullness can benefit people who want to lose weight.

Individuals who wish to reduce their snacks between meals may want to incorporate more high-fiber foods into their diet. Promoting a natural feeling of fullness can help sustain natural weight loss.

Dextrin can help reduce the size of fat cells, possibly helping fight obesity.

 Supports colon health

Research suggests that people who consume higher water-soluble fiber have a lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who eat a low-carbohydrate diet.

Among the theories of the benefits of fiber is that it facilitates the elimination of waste from the body, which allows the toxic indoor environment conducive to cancer to be reduced.

Another theory concerns its ability to feed good bacteria in the intestines, which may play a role in protecting the colon.

It also indicates that people who have a high fiber diet have a continuous consumption of vegetables, all of which contain different levels of antioxidants that can promote colon health.