Inulin supplementation in inulin-rich diet plan (16 g daily) in obese patients decreases body weight by 1.1 lbs (0.5 kg) to 40.79 lbs (18.5 kg) over 12 weeks (Hiel et al., 2020).
Inulins are a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides, most often extracted from chicory (Roberfroid, 2005, 2007, in press).
Inulin consumption significantly reduces weight (by ~7.5%), hunger (by 8% to 10%), calorie intake (by 10% or up to 3,500 calories in 17 days) and fasting glucose (by ~11%) and increases fat loss (by 3.7%) (Guess, 2015). For an average individual of 260 lbs (118 kg), this is weight loss of 20 lbs (9 kg) and fat loss of 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg).
Inulin decreases ghrelin (hunger hormone), fasting glucose (by ~11%) and weight loss (by ~7.5%) and improves gut flora composition (Guess, 2005; Topping, 2001).
Inulin is a soluble fiber found in 36,000 plant species (wheat, onion, banana, garlic, asparagus, etc.) and in some bacteria and fungi. The chicory roots are the richest source of inulin. Several manufactured forms of inulin are Chicory inulin and High-Performance (HP) inulin. In 2018 the FDA approved inulin as a dietary fiber component used to increase the nutritional value of processed food products in the United States. Inulin stimulates growth of beneficial bacteria, which in turn helps improve bowel function and gut health, curb appetite, and boosts immunity.
Inulin Effect on the Digestive System
Inulin is prebiotic, and a fructan, which feeds the good bacteria in the gut. It helps balance the amount of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli part of the good bacteria colony in the gut. It inhibits the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and potentially treats colonic dysfunctions. Fermentation of inulin in the colon promotes release of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as acetate, propionate, butyrate, lactate, etc., which are important anions in the colonic lumen. SCFA’s nourish colon cells, increase mucosal blood flow, and promote metabolic benefits.
Inulin Effects on Weight Reduction
Inulin causes weight loss of ~7.5% by decreasing ghrelin (hunger hormone), resulting in reduced calorie intake. In an average individual who is 260 lbs (118 kg), this is a 19.5 lbs (9 kg) weight loss. It also reduces complications accompanied by obesity such as hypercholesterolemia.
Inulin supplementation (16 g daily) in 150 obese patients, along with inulin-rich diet plan, decreases body weight by 1.1 lbs (0.5 kg) to 40.79 lbs (18.5 kg) with a mean of 5.95 lbs (2.7 kg) over 12 weeks (Hiel et al., 2020).
Inulin consumption helps overweight individuals lose ~5.3% body weight over 18 weeks during the weight loss phase of a regimen, maintain the reduction and lose a further 2.3% during the maintenance phase (Guess, 2015). For an average individual of 260 lbs (118 kg), this equates to 13 lbs (6 kg) plus an additional 6 lbs (2.7 kg) weight loss.
Inulin (14 g daily for more than 2 days) leads to a 10% decrease in calorie intake and body weight loss of 4 lbs (1.9 kg) over 3.8 months (Howarth, 2001). Decreased calorie intake results in long term sustainable weight loss.
Inulin consumption significantly reduces weight (by ~7.5%), hunger (by 8% to 10% after 9 weeks), calorie intake (10% or up to 3,500 calories approximately in 17 days) and fasting glucose (by ~11%) and increases fat loss (by 3.7% after 18 weeks) (Guess, 2015). For an average individual of 260 lbs (118 kg), this is weight loss of 20 lbs (9 kg) and fat loss of 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg).
Inulin decreases ghrelin levels, and therefore reduces total caloric intake (Cani, 2004). This reduced caloric intake results in long term weight loss.
Inulin reduces total cholesterol (by 55 mg/dL), low density lipoproteins (LDL) (by 23 mg/dL), very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) (by 14 mg/dL) and triglyceride concentrations (by 64 mg/dL) (Balcázar-Muñoz, 2003). These results benefit the complications associated with weight gain such as cardiovascular conditions and overall health.
Inulin causes 2.9 lbs (1.3 kg) weight loss and ~0.7 lbs (~0.3 kg) fat loss over 6 weeks. The effects pertain even 2 weeks after termination of inulin use (Yang, 2012).
Adding inulin to metformin results in enhancement of weight loss effects by 12 lbs (5.5 kg) (Greenway, 2014).
Inulin Effects on Cravings
Inulin reduces cravings by increasing satiety (by 8% to 10%) and healthy gut flora (from 7.9 to 9.2^10 CFU/g), thereby reducing caloric intake (by 10%) and promoting weight loss 2.75 lbs (1.25 kg) per month).
Inulin (40 g daily) increases healthy gut flora numbers from 7.9 to 9.2^10 colony forming units (CFU) per g (Topping, 2001; Kleessen, 1997). Unhealthy gut flora increases cravings for substances like sugar to feed them, resulting in increased carbohydrate intake and weight gain (Eaton, 1992).
Inulin (10 g daily for 16 days) increases healthy gut flora, including faecalibacterium (by 4.2%) and bifidobacterium species (from ~1% to 4.5%) (Ramirez-Farias, 2009). This improves the ratio of healthy gut flora which reduces fat mass, improves insulin sensitivity and glucose control (Delzenne, 2011; Kootte, 2012).
Inulin increases short chain fatty acids in the gut. Increasing short chain fatty acids plays an important role in attenuating reward-based eating behavior and food craving (Byrne, 2016).
Inulin improves the ratio of healthy to unhealthy gut flora, and therefore reduces sugar cravings (Eaton, 1992). If cravings are satisfied, serotonin and dopamine are released to reward the body (Kim, 2000; Eisenhofer, 1997), forming a positive feedback loop which encourages more cravings.
Inulin (6 g daily for 8 days) enriched yoghurt reduces cravings (Heap, 2016).
Inulin (16 g daily for 3 months) consumption increases healthy gut flora including bifidobacterium and faecalibacterium (both cause decreases in lipopolysaccharides) (Salazar, 2015; Dewulf, 2013) and decreases unhealthy gut flora including bacteroides intestinalis, bacteroides vulgatus and propionibacterium. This results in decreased body fat mass and cravings (Dewulf, 2013).
Inulin (10 g daily for 3 weeks) increases healthy gut flora, including atopobium, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli group, and decreases unhealthy bacteria, including bacteroides, prevotella (Costabile, 2010) and clostridium (Linetzky Waitzberg, 2012) numbers. This significantly improves the ratio of healthy gut flora which reduces fat mass, improves insulin sensitivity, glucose control and cravings (Delzenne, 2011; Kootte, 2012).
Inulin Effects on Diabetes
Inulin decreases fasting blood glucose (by 8.5%), HbA1c (by 10.4%), fasting insulin (by 34.3%) and insulin resistance (by 39.5%). It also enhances the effects of metformin in diabetics.
Inulin added to metformin results in enhancement of blood glucose lowering effects (for an additional 46%) (Greenway, 2014). This helps to control sugar levels in diabetics, which in turn reduces cravings and increases satiety. Reduced cravings and increased satiety decreases ad libitum food intake and promotes long term weight loss.
Inulin enriched pasta consumption for 5 weeks decreases fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c, total cholesterol and triglycerides, prolongs gastric transit time and increases high density lipoprotein cholesterol (Russo, 2010).
Benefits, Side Effects, Interactions
Inulin decreases atopic dermatitis by improving immune responses associated with the gut flora (Moro, 2006).
Inulin is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) according to FDA.
Flatulence, bloating and abdominal cramping: Inulin increases intestinal and gut gas production resulting in increased flatulence.
Loose bowel motions: Excessive intake of Inulin may result in diarrhea.
These symptoms may be minimized or avoided by gradually increasing intake of fiber-rich foods and increasing water intake to 3 liters per day.
Antidiabetic drugs: As both Inulin and anti-diabetic drugs decrease blood glucose levels, it is important to monitor glucose levels and speak to a physician about decreasing the antidiabetic drugs if required.
Interactions with herbs and supplements
Interactions with electrolytes
Calcium: Inulin affects neither the absorption of dietary calcium nor the ionized calcium, parathyroid hormone levels, or calcium excretion (Teuri, 1999).
Interactions with lab tests
Pregnancy and breastfeeding: There is limited research, and therefore best to avoid Inulin during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Diabetes: As Inulin lowers blood glucose levels, it is important to monitor glucose levels to avoid hypoglycemic episodes.
Hiel S et al., Link between gut microbiota and health outcomes in inulin -treated obese patients: Lessons from the Food4Gut multicenter randomized placebo-controlled trial, Clinical Nutrition, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2020.04.005
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This research was sponsored by GLOBESITY FOUNDATION (nonprofit organization) and managed by Don Juravin. GLOBESITY Bootcamp for the obese is part of GLOBESITY FOUNDATION which helps obese with 70 to 400 lbs excess fat to adopt a healthy lifestyle and thereby achieve a healthy weight.