You’re Eating Inulin And You Don’t Even Know It!
You might not be familiar effects with inulin, but it’s pretty much everywhere! Inulin is a type of carbohydrate that’s not digested in your body but serves as food to the good bacteria living in your gut. Here are just some of the foods you probably eat regularly that contain inulin
What Is Inulin?
While you might not be familiar with inulin, it’s pretty much everywhere. Inulin is created by plants and is then used as an energy source by them. This prebiotic dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that’s not digested in your body but is used as food by your gut’s good bacteria. Unfortunately, there are few sources of dietary fiber today, so making sure you eat foods high in inulin should be a priority for most people today to boost their gut health and immune system. Foods rich in prebiotics like inulin have also been linked to improved heart health and weight loss.
Why Should I Eat Inulin?
The main health benefit of inulin is that it’s a prebiotic fiber. When consumed, inulin feeds our good gut bacteria and promotes growth. While you might think that more good bacteria is never a bad thing, eating too much fiber—especially fiber you don’t need—can have negative effects on your digestive system. This occurs because fibers are considered indigestible carbs; as with other carbohydrates, they’re broken down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream and raises your blood sugar levels.
What Foods Have The Most Inulin?
Side effects of inulin are minimal, especially when taken at doses as low as 1 gram per day. To put that into perspective, two to three servings of most high-fiber cereals will provide you with around 2 grams of inulin. However, if you’re not used to eating a high-fiber diet or if you have digestive issues, then taking high doses can cause gas and bloat. Because inulin is not digested and is a fermentable carbohydrate—meaning it can be consumed by our gut’s good bacteria—it may also increase gas for some people (especially if you have too many bad bacteria!).
Are There Any Side Effects?
Side effects are rare, but if you experience any unpleasant stomach pains or gas after eating inulin, it’s worth checking with your doctor. Since it’s a type of carbohydrate, there is a potential risk of a negative reaction to inulin if you suffer from celiac disease or are gluten intolerant. This is due to inulin’s similarities to wheat. However, most individuals can enjoy consuming small amounts of inulin without suffering adverse effects. Overall, safe and mild side effects should be expected when taking supplemental or food-based forms of inulin.