Modified corn starch is an ingredient that has confused new to the gluten free diet for a long time. They know that corn starch is gluten free but “modified” seems to raise questions. It is used as in an ingredient in many products.
First of all, modified corn starch is acceptable for a gluten free diet. It is gluten free.
Modified means that the corn starch has been processed to change its physical properties – to change its texture, how quickly it dissolves, or its behavior when it is heated or frozen. It can be processed so that it swells but doesn’t fall apart.
Modified corn starch is used in many products to make it thicker, especially when a liquid is added like a pudding. It can also be used as a stabilizer to thicken or gel the product. Stabilizers actually prevent another reaction from happening, for example, one that would make the product thinner. Finally, modified corn starch can be used as an emulsifier, helping two unblendable substances (like oil and water) mix together.