Our blog dated November 2019 discusses inulin and the benefits that this prebiotic has on the gut microbiome. To expand on this previous blog, we will consider how to incorporate inulin into your everyday diet.
Inulin can be found in many sources of food such as oats, leeks, wheat (1). However, it is chicory root that contains the most inulin, at 46%. As a supplement, inulin is typically presented as a syrup or a powder.
Inulin syrup is a plant-based, completely natural sweetener, which means that it does not normally contain refined sugar and has a low glycemic index (GI), whilst also being very high in fibre and vegan-friendly (3). Inulin has been shown to control blood sugar as it slows digestion, therefore, slowing the release of sugar without spikes in blood sugar levels (5). A study done in 2015 showed that inulin may benefit people with prediabetes.
Inulin syrup is a great alternative to using maple syrup, golden syrup or sugar when baking or for dessert toppings, because it has a very mild sweet taste with no aftertaste (2). Inulin powder is a great way to add fibre to your diet which can be dissolved into teas and coffee as a replacement for sweeteners or sugar, as it is also virtually flavourless. Inulin powder does also have a higher fibre content then inulin syrup - inulin syrup has 66g of fibre per 100g and inulin powder has 85g per 100g.
Including Inulin in Your Everyday Diet
As has already been mentioned above, inulin powder can simply be added to your everyday cup of tea or coffee as replacement for sugar or sweetener. You could also sprinkle some of the inulin powder on to your cereal to add fibre and to sweeten it instead of using sugar.
On the other hand, iInulin syrup can be used when baking as a replacement for some or all sugar. It is very popular as sugar replacement for people on a diet as it is low in calories and high in fibre. For example, one tablespoon of sugar syrup typically contains 60 calories and one tablespoon of inulin syrup contains approximately 17 calories.
A few example of foods that can be baked with inulin:
You can use the inulin syrup when baking any of these foods or you can use inulin powder. It is important that you start with a low intake of inulin (typically 5g a day) (4) and gradually increase this to about 10g a day. This is because like all fibres, the stomach needs to get used to them. If you experience side effects such as stomach cramps or bloating, you should reduce your intake. The recommended fibre intake for an adult is 30g a day. You should try to achieve this though fresh foods, but can make up any shortfall using inulin. You can also add inulin powder or syrup to smoothies, or use it as substitute of oils when making soup, sauces and condiments.
Few examples of recipes that include inulin powder is an inulin probiotic bowl which has muesli, nuts, chia seeds and 4 tbsp of morlife inulin powder. Another example is a Mango Inulin Smoothie which includes Greenk yogurt, 1 frozen banana, honey or maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon of inulin powder. These are just a few examples of different recipes that include inulin powder (6).
- Justin L Carlson., Jennifer M., Beat B Loyd, and Joanne L Slavin (2018) ‘Health effects of prebiotic Dietary Fiber ', Current Developments in Nutrition, 2(3),. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6041804/.
- How to Use Inulin. Available at https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-to-use-inulin-in-baking/
- Troo a Spoonful of Fibre. Available at https://freefromfestival.co.uk/marketplace/product/troo-spoonful-of-fibre-pure-inulin-syrup/.
- WebMD. Inulin Uses. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1048/inulin
- Nicola D Guess., Anne Dornhorst.,Nick Oliver, and Gary S Frost (2016) ‘A Randomised Crossover Trial: The Effect of Inulin on Glucose Homeostasis in subtypes of Prediabetes’, Ann Nutr Metab, 68(1),. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26571012/.