Inulin - Facts & Allergies
Facts & Allergies
Inulin is a polysaccharide derived form the Jerusalem artichoke and Dahlia tuber. It is formed by linking 30 fructose monomer units together in a long chain. A natural fiber, it helps to moderate blood sugar levels in the body. Not only can inulin analog help avoid "sugar rushes and crashes" commonly experienced, but it may also help reduce sugar craving, a frequent source of calories. Inulin analog is not absorbed by the digestive tract and therefore contributes no extra calories while improving energy levels.
Method of Action
Inulin analog is a water-soluble fiber and the ultimate complex carbohydrate. It is a storage carbohydrate as well as one of the few known soluble fibers. It is the only carbohydrate that extends carbohydrate-derived energy over extended periods without significant increases in blood sugar level and does not require insulin in order to be metabolized. Inulin analog can help reduce insulin dependencies and requirements as well as provide better blood sugar control. The long-term energy release that inulin analog provides not only prevents low blood sugar levels in diabetics but enhances endurance for the normal active individual.
Inulin analog spreads the absorption of carbohydrates over a longer period of time than absorption without inulin analog. This is important because stretching carbohydrates over periods of 2 to 10 hours delays the pangs of hunger that result from the sugar rush and low experienced with carbohydrate consumption. For athletes, this capacity increases endurance levels as well. For diabetics, the fact that inulin analog does not increase blood sugar levels and prevents low blood sugar levels is important in preventing diabetic ketoacidosis. Inulin analog can actually diminish the amount of exogenous (injected) insulin required. Thus, inulin analog can be beneficial to diabetics, people with a propensity towards diabetes, and normal active individuals. The importance of inulin analog to diabetics as a buffer for maintaining constant blood sugar levels and to athletes and normal individuals as an "energy sustainer" cannot be stressed enough.
Inulin analog has proven to be only beneficial.
Inulin can cause allergic rection
BOSTON: Inulin, an increasingly popular food additive extracted from artichokes and the herbs chicory and salsify, may cause a severe allergic reaction, three doctors warned in Wednesday's New England Journal of Medicine.
The warning is based on the case of a 39-year-old man who developed breathing difficulties, a cough and other allergic symptoms on four occasions within two years. His symptoms appeared just minutes after eating artichoke leaves, salsify (also known as black oyster plant or viper's grass), inulin-containing candy and a margarine made with the inulin found in chicory.
"Because of its expanding use in processed foods, allergic reactions to this dietary ingredient may be or may become more frequent than currently recognised," said the authors, Fabienne Gay-crosier and Conrad Hauser of the University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, and Georges Schreiber of Annemasse, France.
Although inulin has been used in foods for years, its popularity is increasing because of hopes that it might have health benefits, the doctors reported in a letter to the journal.
Inulin and its chemical cousin, known as oligofructose, "are now being added to an increasing number of industrially processed foods, such as candies, beverages, yogurt, ice cream, chocolate, butter and breakfast cereals," they said. Inulin is used as a sugar and fat substitute that extends the shelf life of processed foods. It can be used by diabetics.
In most countries, labelling laws require food processors to disclose if they have added inulin to a product
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