Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide used as a food additive. It is produced from starch by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a white hygroscopic spray-dried powder. Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose. It might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless.
Starch is a polymer consisting of long chains of glucose molecules and one single fructose molecule. Maltodextrin derived from hydrolyzing starch using either acid or enzymes.
Maltodextrin is sometimes used in beer brewing to increase the specific gravity of the final product. This improves the mouth-feel of the beer, increases head retention, and reduces the dryness of the drink. Maltodextrin has no flavor and is not fermented by the yeast, so it does not increase the alcohol content of the brew. It is also used in snacks and "light" peanut butter to reduce the fat content but keep the texture.
Maltodextrin is used in cosmetics and beauty products for its ability to bind other compounds and stabilize formulas. It may increase the anti-aging properties of other ingredients when used in combination with them.