Inulin is a polysaccharide that is produced by plants such as onions, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, and garlic. It can also be referred to as neosugar, alant starch, Alantin, and diabetic sugar. Many manufacturers are putting it in processed foods because it has tremendous health benefits. It can also be used to replace higher calorie ingredients such as fat, sugar, and flour. However, there is also some controversy about how much it should be used.
There are many ways that plants store energy for themselves, with inulin being one of them. As such, it can be found in the roots and rhizomes of many plants. When eaten, this substance does not increase blood sugar, which makes it an option for those with diabetes.
There are many benefits of inulin. It has one-third to one-fourth less food energy than that of sugar and a sixth to a ninth less energy than fat. It is also a soluble fiber which means that when it passes through the body, it creates a gel. Since fiber is not digested in the human body, it passes through to the intestine largely intact. There, it feeds the good bacteria that live there. It also helps to reduce the absorption of bad cholesterol in the body.
This substance can increase calcium absorption and can be characterized as a prebiotic. A prebiotic is a substance that feeds the healthy bacteria in the body’s intestinal system. This allows the bacteria that feed on them to thrive and increase intestinal function. However, it should be noted that too much can produce bloating, gas, diarrhea, and other symptoms in some people. This is especially true for those who are sensitive to the substance.
There are some who denounce the use of refined inulin as an additive to food. These opponents argue that refining one substance out of its food context can cause more harm than good. They cite the fact that the substance doesn’t just encourage the growth of good bacteria but can also feed certain yeasts found in the instestine. It can also feed bad bacteria such as klebsiella. Klebsiella has been named as the cause of permeability in the intestine, i.e. leaky gut.
In addition, opponents argue that when a product is refined and put into more and more food out of context, allergic reactions may increase. There are not many instances of people being allergic to inulin. However, critics argue that instances will increase as the additive permeates society. These opponents do agree that this substance has many benefits. However, they seem to advise that people eat it in its natural form instead of using it as an additive to food.