Inulin: benefits, dosage, side effects, preparation and storage.

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Inulin is a type of fermentable fiber that is naturally found in the roots of many foods, such as whole wheat, onion, garlic, and artichokes, and is generally extracted from chicory root and added to foods. Dietary fiber can promote gut health , increase satiety, promote weight loss, and improve heart health by lowering cholesterol levels .

Inulin is a type of oligosaccharide called fructan. Fructans are a chain of linked fructose (sugar) molecules. Inulin is fermented by bacteria that normalize colon function and is considered a prebiotic. Prebiotics can improve gastrointestinal health and potentially improve calcium absorption.

Get Medical Information / Jessica Olah

What is inulin used for?

Inulin is considered a functional food and adding it to your diet can improve your health.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics defines functional foods as “ whole foods along with fortified, fortified, or enhanced foods that have the potential to benefit health when consumed regularly as part of a varied diet at effective levels based on rigorous standards of evidence. '. '… '

Intestinal health

Inulin is classified as a prebiotic due to its ability to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria. Increasing the number of good bacteria in your gut can help reduce the number of bad bacteria, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, including inflammation and decreased absorption of nutrients.

Gut health (commonly known as the gut microbiome) has become a very popular area of research. Researchers are now discovering a role for the gut in metabolism, immune defenses, and behavior .

Consuming enough inulin can promote gut health by regulating bowel habits and promoting gut health.

Control blood sugar

Some animal studies have shown that inulin fibers can protect or slow the progression of type 1 diabetes in mice by modulating the immune response and improving gut health .

Additionally, in a systematic review and meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition , researchers determined that the addition of inulin-type fructans (ITF) helps reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) .

They found that ITF supplementation helped lower fasting blood sugar, lower fasting insulin, and improve good cholesterol (HDL) levels in people with type 2 diabetes .

While the researchers suggest that more research is needed to reach a definitive conclusion, they believe that, in general, inulin supplementation can improve cholesterol and glucose metabolism.

Weight and appetite control

Fiber is the non-digestible portion of carbohydrates with no calories that helps us stay full by slowing the rate at which food enters the stomach. Inulin, a type of fiber, can also help control appetite by increasing feelings of fullness.

This is believed to be due to short-chain fatty acids and their ability to increase appetite by suppressing hormones such as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) .

Studies have shown that inulin supplementation can help reduce appetite and total calorie intake in overweight and obese children .

A randomized controlled trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that supplementation with 8 grams of oligofructose-fortified inulin reduced appetite and total calorie intake in overweight and obese children .

In another systematic review of randomized controlled trials in adolescents and adults, the verdict was mixed: some studies showed that inulin supplementation helped reduce body weight, while others did not.

It seems that supplementation with inulin can be a good way to help increase feelings of fullness, which can inherently affect weight loss.

Calcium absorption

Calcium is an essential mineral that has many functions, including strengthening bones and teeth, relaxing and contracting blood vessels, helping nerves, moving muscles, and balancing hormones, to name just a few.

Some research suggests that inulin may aid calcium absorption. This may be of particular importance for people with physiological malabsorption.

Contraindications

Inulin is a short chain carbohydrate that is poorly absorbed in the intestines, it is rapidly fermented by bacteria in the intestines and draws excess water into the intestines. For people who have gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), adding or eating foods rich in inulin can be problematic.

Many people with IBS benefit from a low FODMAP diet . A low-FODMAP diet restricts certain types of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are defined as fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (hence the abbreviation FODMAP).

If you've been told to follow a low-FODMAP diet , you may need to avoid inulin. You can likely add it back to your diet if you find out that it is not the culprit. It is recommended that you work with a registered dietitian who specializes in this diet.

Allergies

If you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemum, calendula, or chamomile, you should avoid inulin derived from chicory root because it belongs to the same family.

Possible side effects.

Inulin can cause several gastrointestinal side effects, including:

  • Diarrhea from frequent bowel movements
  • Bloating and / or flatulence (gas)
  • Abdominal cramps

To reduce the likelihood of these side effects, be sure to:

  • Talk to your doctor about supplementation before starting.
  • Start slowly and gradually increase your intake
  • Drink much liquid

What to look for

Most Americans cannot consume 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day, or 14 grams per 1,000 calories per day. Your exact needs may vary based on your energy needs.

However, we do know that a high fiber diet has many benefits, including helping you lose weight, lower blood cholesterol, increase blood sugar, and improve gut health.

If you want to increase your fiber intake, it is always good to eat a wide variety of foods with whole fiber: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. This will ensure that you include all types of fiber in your diet and will reduce the chances of unwanted sodium and sugar additions.

Different types of fiber have different benefits – some work to lower cholesterol, while others can improve gut health. Therefore, it is important to have variety.

If you are looking for foods that contain exactly inulin, you can find good amounts in:

  • Wheat foods (look for 100% whole grains and less processed foods)
  • Asparagus
  • Leek
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Artichokes
  • Bananas
  • Herbs (cinnamon, parsley, ground red pepper, ground black pepper)

Adding inulin to food

Food companies also add inulin to processed foods. Inulin contains no calories and can be used as a fat substitute in margarine and salad dressings. In baked goods, it can be used to add fiber and in place of flour without affecting taste or texture.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently working to ensure that dietary fiber added to foods has health benefits. He pre-approved inulin as one of these fibers. If you are looking for a product with added inulin, the label will most likely list 'inulin or chicory root fiber' as an ingredient.

Be aware that the fact that inulin is added to food does not make it healthy. Be sure to rate the entire item before purchasing.

Inulin supplements

If you are considering taking an inulin supplement, you will find it in powder, chewable tablets (mostly gummies), and capsules. Inulin can be extracted from artichokes, agave, or chicory root.

Labels include statements like 'prebiotic', 'gut health', 'weight control', and so on. While inulin is good for you and has been shown to be beneficial in these areas, remember that these statements have not yet been approved by the FDA. supervision of the quality of food and medicines.

If you are looking for a supplement to increase your fiber needs, try choosing one that comes from a trusted and possibly organic source. This will provide better quality and reduce the risk of handling or the addition of impurities.

Storage, dosage and preparation

Inulin-rich foods should be stored following good spoilage prevention practices. Eating a variety of high-fiber foods can ensure that you are getting your daily fiber needs. Here are some good ways to make sure you are eating a wide variety of foods:

  • Try to eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal.
  • Choose whole grains daily (try to eat at least three servings) whole grain breads, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, bulgur, brown rice, farro, wheat berries, and more.
  • Eat one serving of nuts or seeds a day.
  • Make half a bowl of non-starchy vegetables.
  • Eat high-fiber foods like whole-grain popcorn, carrots with hummus or guacamole, whole fruits with peanut butter, and more.

The amount of fiber you should consume per day depends on your age, gender, and your overall calorie needs. Most people should get 25 to 38 grams of fiber a day. This is total fiber, not specifically inulin.

If you are taking inulin supplements, most servings contain 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving. Keep this in mind when you think about your total fiber intake. Check the drug labels, which will depend on the form of the supplement. Most powders can be added to smoothies, drinks, or baked goods.

Adding powdered inulin to baked goods can add a hint of sweetness and increase the fiber and prebiotic properties of breads, muffins, cakes, and other baked goods.

Check with your healthcare professional before starting any supplement. When adding sources of fiber like inulin to your diet, you should do so slowly and drink enough fluids to prevent constipation, gas, and bloating.

Get the word of drug information

Inulin is a type of fiber that has many beneficial properties. Eating a diet rich in inulin through food and supplements can help improve weight, cholesterol, and gut health.

Start by adding more fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes to your diet. This can improve your nutritional profile and reduce the risk of adding extra sugars and sodium that can be found in inulin-fortified foods.

If you want to add inulin in capsules, gum, or in powder form, consult your doctor first. Think about your total fiber intake and how much inulin you need to meet your recommended fiber needs.

Frequently asked questions

  • If inulin is added to food, it can be identified in the ingredient list by these names: chicory root extract, inulin, oligosaccharide, or oligofructose. Inulin can be added to foods like yogurt, protein bars, and cereals.

  • Yes, although the amount of "too much" can vary from person to person. The main risk is the side effects of too much fiber, such as gas, flatulence and general abdominal discomfort. In severe cases, excessive fiber intake can cause abdominal obstruction. Excess fiber intake can also cause problems with mineral absorption.

  • Inulin powder is a type of inulin supplement. These supplements can be in powder, gum, or capsule form. The inulin in supplements can be extracted from agave, artichoke, or chicory root.

  • Inulin can help with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A 2014 study concluded that inulin has a positive effect on bowel function in people with chronic constipation. If you have IBS, it's a good idea to ask your doctor if you should try inulin supplements.

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