The best organic baby formula that comes from Europe uses one of two different carbohydrates in their ingredients: lactose and maltodextrin. Both are sourced from organic farming. One comes from milk and one comes from plants. One is more controversial than others. It's important to understand more about maltodextrin if you are not sure or still learning about it.
Maltodextrin is derived from plants such as corn, rice, or potatoes. It is a starch derived from these foods. When it is broken down further through a hydrolyzing process, it is a complex carbohydrate that gives energy and thickens foods. Maltodextrin is made up of small-chain molecules that are easy to digest. Even though it is a carbohydrate, it is essentially tasteless.
Holle and Lebenswert are two organic baby formula companies that use organic maltodextrin in their formulas. One of the good reasons to use maltodextrin when using a sugar carbohydrate (such as lactose) is to balance the sweetness. Lactose is naturally sweet and comes from milk. It is the main carbohydrate found in breast milk. Baby formula companies such as Holle and Lebenswert found a way to use maltodextrin with the Demeter-quality milk without making it too sweet. The balance of the milk and maltodextrin delicious but not overly sweet.
Since maltodextrin is a carbohydrate and a carbohydrate provides energy, it is important to understand how maltodextrin releases energy when digested. Since it is a hydrolyzed starch, it is easy to digest. While it can contain the same amount of energy as some other carbohydrates, it is actually slower in releasing that energy. Babies who consume Holle or Lebenswert will feel satisfied longer.
When some parents see “starch” or a carbohydrate made from corn, there are concerns about artificial sweeteners and too much sugar in their baby's food. They are also concerned that maltodextrin has no major benefit to the formula except as the filler. Holle and Lebenswert use only organically produced maltodextrin. Also, maltodextrin has a high glycemic index, which means it can spike blood sugar when consumed in large amounts. This may be a concern for infants with type 1 diabetes, but keep in mind that there is only a small amount in each serving.
Maltodextrin provides balance of sweetness, energy, and thickness in baby formula such as Holle and Lebenswert. Its slow-release energy means that babies are satisfied for longer periods of time. The amount of maltodextrin used in baby formula is small enough to be beneficial to your baby's nutritional needs. There is no other carbohydrate that shares the same components of maltodextrin.