Inulin is the multitasker of functional ingredients. While its main purpose in food products is increasing fiber levels, there are many of benefits of inulin. Intestinal health enhancement? Check. Calorie reduction? Check. Fat replacement? Check. Prebiotic properties? Check.
Let’s take a closer look at four documented health benefits of inulin as a functional ingredient.
Inulin is a Prebiotic
Inulin is an insoluble fiber. This means it passes through the stomach completely undigested, making its way into the gut as a rich source of energy for the beneficial bacteria that live there. This quality allows the consumption of inulin to improve gut health and overall quality of life in a variety of ways, from calming intestinal inflammation to preventing against gut infections after surgery. But that’s not the only benefit inulin can offer as a functional food ingredient in a variety of applications. (Learn more about the wide variety of ways inulin can be used in commercial food product development and production.)
Inulin is Low Calorie
Inulin contains only 1.5 kilocalories per gram of product. (For reference, most comparable carbohydrates contain 4 kilocalories per gram.) This makes it a perfect functional ingredient for low-calorie or reduced-calorie products. Its natural low-calorie nature dovetails perfectly with its ability to suppress appetite, enhancing its effectiveness as a sweetener in low-calorie foods.
Inulin Can Replace Fats in Many Foods
Combined with liquid, inulin develops a creamy mouthfeel similar to that of fat. However, a serving of inulin contains only a sixth to a ninth of the food energy contained in an equivalent amount of fat, making it great functional ingredient in foods designed to assist with weight control.
This health benefit was documented in a 2015 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Study subjects who ate yogurt enhanced with an inulin additive over an eight-day period reported depressed appetite levels in comparison with a control group, which ate yogurt without any added inulin.
Inulin Can Increase Bowel Health
Because inulin Improves gut health by feeding beneficial bacteria and flora in the gut, it can assist in digestive issues like constipation. A 2010 study published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition showed improvement in quality of bowel movements, lessened constipation and improved overall quality of life in elderly test subjects.
Inulin: the Right Functional Ingredient for Your Food Product
Are you looking for a functional food ingredient that provides highly-marketable benefits at the same time? Agave inulin is your solution. We grow and harvest our own agave for inulin on farmer-owned properties in Mexico, then process it in our own facilities just miles away.
Our agave inulin is sustainably produced and certified organic in both the United States and Europe. It’s also Non-GMO Project Verified, and certified Kosher, Halal, FSSC 22000, UL-Social Audit and Fair for Life Fair Trade.