It is well known that fiber is important for digestive health, weight
management, and bowel movements. What is not so widely known is that
inulin, a fiber type, may improve heart, gut, and promote metabolic health.
Inulin is also one of the key ingredients in our delicious Skinny Piggies fiber gummies.
Inulin is a plant fiber that is found in not only chicory plants, but also in 35,000 other plants. Inulin is a fructan (a special kind of carbohydrate) that improves digestion. Dietary fiber has been used to improve gut health and curb appetite naturally for hundreds of years.
Other plants containing inulin naturally include onions, wheat, garlic, bananas, Jerusalem artichokes and asparagus. These plants are also known as prebiotics - meaning they support the health of good intestinal bacteria.
Inulin is found in the plant root and is used to store energy and regulate the internal temperature of the plant. It is naturally resistant to human produced enzymes and can absorb high amounts of liquid.
Once eaten, inulin fills a lot of space in a digestive system. This helps you feel fuller, while it also absorbs water, helping to form stool. Inulin sticks to cholesterol and thus prevents metabolic syndrome.
Inulin has the following benefits:
Dietitians often recommend that to lose weight, people should eat plenty of fiber. This will help them have fewer blood sugar fluctuations and feel more satisfied. When inulin combines with water, it bulks up and becomes gel-like. This substance then expands in the digestive tract, decreasing cravings and appetite. This could help with weight loss as the process of food emptying from the stomach is slowed down. As inulin takes up a bigger volume, this results in a decrease of appetite hormones.
This results in you feeling full for longer after eating and decreases hunger pangs. As a result, consuming fiber leads to satiety.
The Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph in Canada conducted a study in 2016 that confirmed this. Inulin was added to a yogurt breakfast for eight days. Healthy, young females participated in the randomized, controlled trial. Researchers reached the conclusion that adding 6 grams inulin to normal yogurt changed feelings of appetite, but did not alter energy intake after it was consumed repeatedly. This suggests that inulin might be suitable for increasing the consumption of dietary fiber, and could impact appetite. (1)
Inulin is fiber that is soluble. A carbohydrate with soluble fiber characteristics dissolves in water and forms a gelatinous substance. The solubility of inulin is higher than most other fiber types. This means it can absorb water easier than any other carbohydrate does and assists in forming stool that is passed easily.
Inulin, mixed with any liquid, turns into a smooth gel. This gel naturally relieves constipation. In the gel form, inulin's structure is similar to that of lipids (fats). This helps in lubricating the digestive tract and decreased the risk of getting hemorrhoids.
Inulin does not only increase feces' water content and fecal biomass, but also improves bowel functions as a result of how it affects digestive functions.
The International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition published a study in 2011 examining chicory inulin effects on people with constipation. Researchers noted that a daily supplementation with inulin reduces constipation and improves elderly people's life quality. (2)
Inulin passes through both the large and small intestines unabsorbed, making it a non-digestible prebiotic. Inulin ferments naturally and feeds beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacterium in the gut during this process.
One British study (3) reported that inulin improves gut health. Thus, this results in many extensive benefits such as protection from diabetes and heart disease, better immune function, improved weight management, curing leaky gut syndrome, improved nutrient absorption, and many more.
When inulin ferments in the intestines, it stimulates bacteria growth. This results in major positive effects to the structure of the microflora in the gut and decreases potentially harmful bacterial species, parasites, and yeast significantly. Inulin therefore assists in managing inflammatory bowel disease and reduces the occurrence of colon carcinogenesis. (4)
Inulin takes waste, toxins, cholesterol particles and fat with it as it moves in the digestive tract without being absorbed. This is precisely the reason why high-fiber diets have been associated with heart health by many studies.
If a diet contains soluble fibers it can lower "bad" cholesterol by reducing the amount of cholesterol being absorbed. This reduces the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome and hypertension. (5)
An additional inulin benefit is that it does not trigger the secretion of insulin. This results in carbohydrates/sugars not being broken down and blood sugar not rising. (6) Although limited amount of fructans can be processed by the body, inulin's fiber is absorbed. This stabilizes blood sugar. Inulin is used to treat diabetics and could be useful in managing illnesses relating to blood-sugar and metabolic syndrome risk factors.
A study reported on in the AJCN (7) reported that especially in older women and younger girls, both at high risk of calcium deficiency, using inulin increases calcium absorption. This could eventually protect against disorders such as osteoporosis.
Many studies link using inulin prebiotics to a host of health benefits, including: (8)
As inulin fiber can't be digested by humans, it is basically "calorie-free." It moves in the digestive tract without being broken down and feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut (probiotics) in the process. This is why inulin fiber is said to have "prebiotic effects." It helps healthy probiotics in human microbiome repopulate, survive and thrive.
Desirable bacteria need the fibers in a diet. This is why foods with a high fiber content such as leafy greens, fruit, and legumes promote good gut health.
While there is no recommended daily dose for inulin, a regular intake will add to daily fiber consumption.
Many people don't consume enough fiber, so inulin would be a good supplement to their diet. Studies indicate that in America, the fiber consumption of adults is not even half the suggested levels. This is lower when people are on a low-carb diet like the South Beach or the Atkins diet (9)
Health authorities support inulin as a low-cost, easy way to reduce the discrepancy between the amount of fiber people actually consume and daily fiber recommendations.
Inulin uses a lot of space in a digestive system, making you feel full. It also acts as a prebiotic, thereby improving gut health. Studies suggest it may improve heart health, reduce constipation, curb appetite, improve calcium absorption and reduce risk factors of metabolic syndrome.
Research data suggests Inulin may be beneficial in preventing colon cancer; gastrointestinal health; healthier cholesterol levels; improved control of blood sugar; better lipid metabolism; fatty liver disease protection; better bone mineralization; better immunity and protection from obesity.
One easy and delicious way to increase your daily inulin intake is to use Skinny Piggies fiber gummies for suppressing your appetite. Skinny Piggies contains 1 gram of inulin per 1 serving (1 gummy) in addition to other appetite suppressing ingredients such as 5-HTP and inositol.