A review of the clinical toleration studies of polydextrose in food

Food Chem Toxicol. 2004 Sep;42(9):1531-42. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2004.04.015.


Polydextrose is a non-digestible 1 kcal/g polysaccharide used primarily as a sugar replacer and dietary fiber in foods. At typical use levels, polydextrose provides physiological effects similar to those of other dietary fibers. However, excessive consumption of non-digestible carbohydrates can lead to gastrointestinal distress. Nine clinical studies were conducted with polydextrose to evaluate the extent of such symptoms. These studies determined laxation endpoints in adults and children, and showed that polydextrose was better tolerated than most other low digestible carbohydrates (e.g. polyols). This is because of a higher molecular weight and partial colonic fermentation, leading to a lower risk of osmotic diarrhea. After evaluating these studies, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and the European Commission Scientific Committee for Food (EC/SCF) concluded that polydextrose has a mean laxative threshold of approximately 90 g/d (1.3 g/kg bw) or 50 g as a single dose.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cathartics
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fiber / adverse effects*
  • Food Additives / adverse effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Glucans / adverse effects*
  • Humans


  • Cathartics
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Food Additives
  • Glucans
  • polydextrose