You may have never heard of inulin or you may have heard about the benefits of this fiber that comes from some roots. Even so, you must have questions about what it is and what it is for.
Today, we’ll tell you what people talk about when they talk about inulin, as well as what its benefits and side effects are. Since food is so closely linked to health, it’s important to know what we eat and what companies want to sell us when it comes to low-fat or weight-loss products. Let’s start!
What is Inulin?
Inulin is a fructooligosaccharide, a type of healthy fiber that comes from the roots, rhizomes, and tubers of certain phanerogamous plants, such as chicory, dandelion, and burdock, among others. When we eat inulin, it has some good effects on our bodies. Also, it is a soluble fiber, and because of its properties, it is sold as an ingredient in all kinds of food supplements. It is also often mentioned in the recipes for low-fat products that you can buy.
And, in this last case, inulin is used to get rid of some of the fat in these products because it replaces it. With this method, it is possible to cut down on fat, and the product has fewer calories but the same taste.
Because you’re probably wondering why, if it’s possible, a lot of the fat isn’t just cut out and that’s it, instead of being replaced with something else. The answer is simple: because removing the fat from a piece of meat, for example, and making it leaner makes it taste different. The mouthfeel is so different in foods with less than 10% fat that the goal is to keep the mouthfeel as close to the original product as possible to keep consumers happy. And, by the way, make use of the benefits of eating this healthy fiber.
Among the benefits of inulin that have been shown by studies, such as those done by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN), its prebiotic activity and the fact that it promotes the growth of intestinal flora, which is good for our digestive system, stand out. In the same way, it helps lower blood levels of cholesterol and insulin, helps the body absorb minerals like phosphorus and magnesium, and lowers the risk of osteoporosis. Also, because it makes people feel full, it helps control obesity and is used as an appetite suppressant in diets to help people lose weight.
Because of its benefits and qualities, inulin is one of the star ingredients in second-generation meat products like sausages, where it is used to replace fat. And this is one of the most important things about it. It can be used in place of fat and has a neutral taste, so it doesn’t make your mouth feel funny.
But there are many other food products that use inulin as an ingredient to add value and take advantage of its health benefits. This is true of bakeries, flour mills, and other similar businesses that can use inulin in their products.
The AESAN says that you shouldn’t eat more than 9 grams of inulin and fructooligosaccharides every day. This is because eating too much of either can make your gut feel uncomfortable. In fact, this is the main risk, since it can cause problems in the digestive system if you eat too much of it or if you have a disease or disorder of the stomach or intestines.
If you are taking it for the first time, you should be aware that it can cause diarrhea and abdominal swelling. Also, if it is taken in large amounts, it is not hard to develop an intolerance to it.
Lastly, people who can’t handle fructose should be careful about how much they eat because inulin fiber is mostly made of fructose, which is bad for your health.
But if you don’t have trouble digesting fructose, you don’t have digestive problems, and you’re told to take inulin as a food supplement, you should know that you can get the benefits of inulin by eating foods that naturally contain it, and you don’t have to take food supplements unless your doctor or nutritionist tells you to. Onions, garlic, asparagus, radicchio, and yams all contain a lot of inulin.