Sources of Inulin
If you have ever eaten a packaged food that bears the claim “high in fiber,” there is a good chance you have eaten chicory root fiber. Chicory root, a commonly added ingredient to cereals, bars and breads (to boost the fiber content), is a source of inulin, a type of soluble fiber. It is isolated from the roots of chicory plants - hence the name, chicory root fiber. In addition to being an added fiber in some high-fiber processed foods, inulin also occurs naturally in some veggies such as artichokes, onions, and garlic. Because of the creamy texture it lends, one might also find chicory root in food items that aren’t typically high in fiber, such as ice cream and yogurt. Gluten-free breads, probiotic and digestive supplements, and protein shakes may also contain inulin.
So, just what are some chicory root fiber benefits? Because inulin, the fiber from chicory root, is a source of soluble fiber, it passes through the body undigested. So, foods containing chicory root fiber may contribute to satiety after meals. Inulin is considered a “prebiotic,” promoting healthy bacteria growth in the gut. In addition, it may have a modest (positive) effect on blood sugar, insulin resistance, and blood triglycerides. Chicory root has virtually a zero glycemic impact on blood sugar, making it a smart choice for people following a low glycemic diet for diabetes or weight loss.
Consider that, while chicory root fiber yields benefit, research also demonstrates that too much may cause bloating and gas in individuals who are sensitive to it. In this case, more is not better though most people can tolerate 5 – 10 grams of inulin without experiencing discomfort.
Adding Inulin to Your High-Fiber Diet
The best sources of inulin are from foods that contain it naturally, while those to which inulin is added, such as fiber bars and breads, can be a healthy addition of fiber to one’s diet when eaten in moderation. Of course, they should not be intended as a replacement for whole foods that are high in fiber, and be cautious of foods that are highly processed and contain an excess of added sugar.
Chicory root fiber can be found in all flavors of NuGo Slim, which helps slow digestion and maintain blood sugar levels.
References: American Institute for Cancer Research Mayo Clinic, Nutrition and Healthy Eating