Inulin helps “even out” feelings of hunger so that a person doesn’t feel ravenous for the next meal and, thus, is less likely overeat.

Inulin helps with dietary management by generating long-lasting feelings of satiety hours after the food has been consumed.

As a soluble dietary fiber, it works in concert with other forms of fiber to produce feelings of fullness so a person is satisfied by their meal, explains Brian Tungland, vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Imperial-Sensus, Sugar Land, Texas. The company produces Frutafit® inulin from chicory roots. The mildly sweet powder is heat stable, relatively pH stable and dissolves readily.

Inulin has a glycemic index of 0, indicating that it does not raise glucose levels in the blood. It passes through the stomach and the small intestine undigested. Then, as a prebiotic in fermented yogurts and other products, it serves as food for beneficial active bacteria (e.g., bifidobacteria and lactobacilli) in the human colon.

At inulin concentrations below 6%, a solution’s viscosity is negligible. Generally, viscosity does not significantly increase until about 15% (w/w) concentration.

The use of multiple types of fiber in a food results in a time-release effect. Less fermentable fiber like cellulose, bran and cereal grains absorb water and occupy space to swiftly give a feeling of fullness. Non-starch (gum-type) polysaccharides bind water and create viscosity, slowing transit time, nutrient and glucose absorption. Then inulin, which is non-thickening, completes the satiety effect with long-term feelings of fullness.

Inulin also supports the immune system and helps maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Inulin is a good pair with dairy foods and other products that are high in calcium, since it assists calcium absorption.

Formulation Assists

Inulin can be used to formulate lowfat and reduced-calorie foods, adding to the fiber content without sacrificing quality and flavor.

In lowfat muffins, for example, inulin works in concert with guar gum, fruit-based pectin or high amylose starch for fat-like rheology effects and moisture retention. For sugar replacement, inulin teams up with sugar alcohols, low D.E. maltodextrin and a small amount of high intensity sweetener. The functionality of the sugar in the application would indicate which sugar alcohol and high intensity sweetener to choose, and the ratios of ingredients that would work best.

For more information: Imperial-Sensus
Contact: Pam Galvin at 281-490-9522