Inulin

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Inulin (Oligofructose)
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Prevent blood sugar spikes
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Decrease appetite and cravings
+1 (Slight Evidence)

PRO

  • Inulin is a dietary fiber that dissolves easily in water. It is found especially in fruits and vegetables such as chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, banana, and asparagus. Because it passes through the intestines undigested, it is lower in calories than many other types of produce. Although it is spelling nearly the same, it has nothing to do with insulin.
  • Inulin raises blood sugars mildly, and so is sometimes used to reduce appetite and cravings. It has no aftertaste.
  • Standard inulin has a neutral taste, with 10 percent of the sweetness of table sugar (i.e., sucrose). Another substance, oligofructose, with 30-50 percent the sweetness of sucrose, is therefore used as a sugar replacement more often than inulin.
  • Inulin is classified as a prebiotic. It has a synergistic effect when used in combination with probiotics, which are found in fermented foods such as pickles, sauerkraut and yogurt. Prebiotics stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria, while probiotics are the good bacteria themselves.
  • Dietary inulin appears to increase the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut, and to improve the composition of your microbiome. The addition of 20 grams oligofructose daily significantly reduces fasting and after-meal blood sugar levels, and results in mild weight loss. Eight grams daily decreased hunger in healthy adults. There were no reported side effects.

CON

  • Adverse gastrointestinal side effects from inulin, such as gas, bloating or diarrhea, are more commonly noted in patients with pre-existing bowel disorders. Unfortunately, recovery may take weeks to months even after inulin intake is discontinued. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome or documented fructose intolerance should be extremely judicious about trying insulin, and may want to consider avoiding it altogether.
  • Inulin may interfere with absorption of the micronutrient copper.

* *ADVISORY* *
Patients with fructose intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome should avoid inulin. The FODMAP diet, originally developed to treat irritable bowel syndrome, recommends complete avoidance of inulin.

DOSAGE:Start slowly with 500 mg (1/2 gram) daily, and increase very slowly to a maximum dose of 20 grams daily.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that inulin is a safe, effective product for preventing blood sugar spikes. Inulin shows some promise for decreasing appetite, cravings, and improving the intestinal microbiome, but more research is required for a stronger recommendation. If you do elect to try it, make sure to tell your doctor, and observe carefully for any adverse effects.


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