Inulin is an active ingredient belonging to the F.O.S.(Fructo-Oligo-Saccharide) family, food fibres called fructans which are polymers of fructose.
Inulin is found in quantity in the roots of chicory and those of several plants of the Asteraceae family, including Jerusalem artichoke and burdock, but also, albeit in lesser quantities, in garlic and onions.
For its use in the food industry and the manufacture of dietary products with a prebiotic function, inulin has a unique source, chicory roots, which can contain up to 20% of its mass.
This inulin is extracted from the roots in a natural way similar to the extraction process of sugar beet.
Less sugar, less fat
The inulin thus obtained has nutritional and functional properties resulting from its capacity, in the digestive tract, when hydrated, to form a thick and unctuous gel, hence its interest as a structuring and thickening agent.
This makes it possible to reduce the quantity of sugar incorporated into products (or even to eliminate it) but also of fats: the advantage is twofold.
But that's not all.Inulin has prebiotic functions because the gel that inulin forms in the stomach is fibrous in nature.As we know, fibres are not assimilated during their transit through the digestive tract.It is found intact in the colon.
When it emerges in the colon, the inulin gel constitutes a nourishing substrate for the intestinal flora, mainly the bifidobacteria so precious to health.The bifidobacteria, which are probiotics (definition:elements beneficial to life) feed on this inulin gel.
This is why this contribution is characterised as "pre" biotic: they are the nourishing co-factors of probiotics such as bifidobacteria, whose quantity can increase up to 50% in the presence of inulin.
Thus, current regulations allow manufacturers of products containing such prebiotics to display the following claim: "Product helping to maintain a balanced intestinal flora. "
Now we know how much this balance of the intestinal ecosystem is a key factor in the DETOX.
Hunger suppressant action
There is an interest in incorporating inulin, instead of sugar, in diet products aimed at slimming.
Unquestionably, inulin helps to control the appetite by reducing hunger: the thick gel of inulin that forms in the stomach has an obvious power of replenishment.A message is then sent to the brain that there is no point in continuing to eat, as the belly is already full.
It is in this way that we can say that inulin has a "hunger strike" action.
That's not all.The unctuous inulin gel that forms in the stomach accelerates intestinal transit, a useful property for people with chronic functional constipation.
Clinical studies are underway, measuring the lipid-lowering functions of inulin: consumption of inulin-enriched products would significantly reduce bad LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which is beneficial in any DETOX action.
Other studies are evaluating the value of inulin in the dietary protocol of diabetics.
Other studies indicate that inulin potentiates the absorption of calcium by the intestinal mucosa.This is particularly indicated for children during the growth period and for post-menopausal women, in prevention of osteoporosis.