Inulin

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Inulin is a water-soluble starchy fiber found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs.[1] These include things like wheat, onions, bananas, and asparagus.[2] It is often considered a health food, since it is a form of edible fiber which is not digested in the stomach, but facilitates probiotic (beneficial bacteria) further on in the digestive system. It is a "fructan" which means that it is composed of fructose molecule chains which are linked in a specific way which the body cannot digest.[3]

Uses

Inulin seems to reduce triglyceride levels in humans by up to 19% after eight weeks of consuming 10-14 grams daily.[2] Many suggest that it helps with weight loss, if for no other reason because it is a sort of filler with is not easily absorbed by the body.[3] Inulin provides about 1.5 calories per gram, which is a relatively low caloric value.[3]
Some also believe that moderate amounts of inulin help reduce the risk of diabetes. However, they also sometimes say that large quantities could actually cause type 2 diabetes, and therefore recommend deliberate but moderate consumption.[4]

Sources

While Inulin is found in many parts of nature, and has been refined for numerous purposes, the following are some particularly good natural sources. (percentages shown by weight)

  • Chicory root: 36%-48%[3]
  • Jerusalem artichoke: 16%-20%[3]
  • Garlic: 9%-16%[3]
  • Jicama: 10%-13%[3]
  • Yacon root: 7%-8%[3]
  • Onions: 1%-8%[3]
  • Asparagus: 2%-3%[3]

References