Inulin and Diabetes
Jul 07, 2021

Type 2 diabetes mellitus, as a noncommunicable disease, is the main public health challenge in the 21st century. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus adjusted for the world population in Iran was 8% until the year 2010.Lipid levels are considered as important parameters to be evaluated, as high serum lipid levels are often reported as a complication in patients with diabetes mellitus.It is claimed that functional foods may improve complications of diabetes mellitus, so this study was designed to evaluate the effects of high performance inulin on glycemic status and lipid profile of women with type 2 diabetes.

Inulin supplementation may control levels of glycemic status and improve lipid profile in type 2 diabetic patients. These findings support the use of inulin as a safe treatment for managing diabetes. Our findings must be scrutinized in further clinical trials.

inulin benefits-1

inulin benefits and diabetes

Helps control diabetes

Several studies suggest that inulin may improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes and prediabetes.

However, this may depend on the type of inulin. The high-performance (HP) type may be especially beneficial. For example, one study found that HP inulin decreased fat in the livers of people with prediabetes.

This is significant, as some research says that reducing fat in the liver can help reduce insulin resistance and potentially reverse type 2 diabetes.

In another study, females with type 2 diabetes consumed 10 g of HP inulin per day. Their fasting blood sugar decreased by an average of 8.5%, while hemoglobin A1c — a marker for long-term blood sugar control — fell by an average of 10.4%.

However, although HP inulin may benefit diabetes and prediabetes, results from older studies using some other types of inulin are less consistent.

Is inulin safe for diabetics?

Diabetes. Short-term use of inulin along with antidiabetes drugs may improve blood sugar levels in some people with diabetes. The benefit of long-term use is unclear. High levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia).

Inulin Side Effects

What are the side effects of inulin?

Side effects of inulin typically involve the digestive system. Some people may experience stomach pain and gas if they consume too much inulin. Other common side effects include feelings of nausea and diarrhea. Usually, side effects occur if people unknowingly eat foods with added inulin or take inulin supplements. It is possible for inulin to cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Does inulin contain sugar?

The manufacturing process for inulin is rather similar to that of sugar extracted from sugar beets. The roots are typically harvested, sliced and washed. Inulin is then extracted from the root by using a hot water diffusion process, then purified and dried (Belval 1927). The resulting product has an average degree of polymerization (DP)2 of 10–12 and a distribution of molecules with chain lengths from 2–60 units. The finished inulin powder typically contains 6–10% sugars represented as glucose, fructose and sucrose. These are native to the chicory root; they are not added after extraction.

A “high performance“ (HP) type of inulin has also been made available recently to the market. This product is manufactured by removing the shorter-chain molecules. HP inulin has an average DP of 25 and a molecular distribution ranging from 11 to 60. Thus, the residual sugars as well as the oligomers have been removed. This product provides almost twice the fat mimetic characteristics of standard inulin with no sweetness contribution. Oligofructose is derived from chicory in much the same manner as inulin. The major difference is the addition of a hydrolysis step after extraction. Inulin is broken down using an inulase enzyme into chain lengths ranging from 2 to 10, with an average DP of 4. 

The resulting oligofructose product has ∼30% of the sweetness of sucrose and contains ∼5% glucose, fructose and sucrose on a dry solids basis. Oligofructose may also be synthesized from sucrose by transfructosylation, which is accomplished by means of an enzyme, β-fructofuranosidase, that links additional fructose monomers to the sucrose molecule. Fructans formed in this manner contain 2–4 fructose units linked to a terminal glucose. The glucose and fructose molecules formed as by-products of the process, as well as any unreacted sucrose, may be removed with the use of chromatography (Crittenden et al. 1996). Typical commercial products contain 5% sugars.

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