9 Fructooligosaccharide Foods (Is there FOS in Probiotics?)


Table of Contents

What’s the use of FOS in Probiotics?

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are prebiotic fibers that are used in probiotic supplements and can’t be digested by the body, so they travel undigested through the intestines. They are digested by our gut bacteria which turns them into short-chain fatty acids and vitamins. They are generally used by people as an alternative sweetener or to treat several health conditions including the following:

  • Constipation
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • High cholesterol

However, there’s a need for further investigations to support these health benefits claims. A study published in the Journal of Functional Foods in 2020, concludes that the growth of FOS in prebiotics is directly dependent on the structure of its components.

Which Foods have the highest concentrations of Fructooligosaccharide?

Foods that have the highest concentrations of Fructooligosaccharides include the following:

  1. Garlic
  2. Onion
  3. Jerusalem artichokes
  4. Blue agave
  5. Soybeans
  6. Tomatoes
  7. Chicory roots
  8. Asparagus
  9. Bananas

FOS can also be found as an ingredient in some brands of the following products:

  1. Yogurt
  2. Diet sodas
  3. Nutrition bars
  4. Dogs and cat foods

Even though a study published in the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry in 2009, shows that FOS helps with treating constipation, another study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2006, revealed that it may cause mucosal intestinal irritations in humans.

In the video below, Helena Davis (Gut Health Expert) explains the therapeutic benefits of Prebiotic Fructo Oligosaccharides:

This is our recommended Probiotic Supplement with Fructooligosaccharides (FOS):


Gut+ from ProBiology (Probiotics + Prebiotics Formula)

Are Fructooligosaccharides high in FODMAP?

Fructooligosaccharides are high in FODMAP. In fact, it’s recommended that people with digestive system disorders (like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)) avoid consuming FOS, as they may experience digestive side effects.  

A review study published in the Journal of Nutrients in 2017, reveals that even though a low FODMAP diet can be very beneficial in reducing symptoms of bloating and diarrhea in IBS patients, it can also lead to several deficiencies when used long-term. 

Thus, it’s recommended to follow up with your doctor so that they can prescribe suitable nutritional supplements for you.

What are Oligo and fructans?

Both Oligos and Fructans are dietary fibers that are considered carbohydrates. But where Oligos are longer and made up of chains between (3-10 monosaccharides), fructans are made of shorter chains (2-9 monosaccharides). They are classed as prebiotics, serving as food sources for beneficial gut bacteria. 

A study published in the Journal of Current Gastroenterology Reports in 2014, discusses the interrelationship between oligos, and fructans, their role in FODMAP, and how they affect patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What’s the effect of Fructooligosaccharides on the Skin?

The effect of Fructooligosaccharides on the skin involves the following benefits:

  • Provides the surface of the skin with a younger look
  • Strengthens the skin since it’s the first line of defense against pathogens
  • Reduces skin aging
  • Balances out the number of good and bad bacteria 
  • Eliminates any risk factors causing redness, dryness, or weakness of the skin

Scientific evidence was published in the Handbook of Diet, Nutrition, and the Skin, in 2012, describing the anti-inflammatory effect of FOS on the skin, especially in chronic conditions like atopic dermatitis.  

Moreover, a recent study published in the Journal of Nature Scientific Reports, in 2022, recommended the use of Fructooligosaccharide in skincare products to regulate skin microbiota and prevent acne.

Do Fructooligosaccharides affect IBS?

Fructooligosaccharides have a negative effect on IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) where it can aggravate the disease and cause unwanted symptoms including the following:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Rumbling noises in the stomach
  • Flatulence
  • Constipation
  • Loose stool
  • Cramping in the stomach

A clinical trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2000, reported that initial consumption of fructooligosaccharides (during the first 4-5 weeks) resulted in aggravating symptoms of IBS, however, with time and after completion of the study (12 weeks) no worsening symptoms were observed. 

Can you use Oligofructose in the Keto diet?

Oligofructose can’t be used in the keto diet owing to its very high carbohydrate labels which in turn will raise insulin levels and lead to the release of glucose in the bloodstream.

Moreover, the keto diet consists of the following food groups:

  • Low carbohydrate
  • High fat
  • Adequate protein

What are Inulin and Oligofructose?

Inulin is a type of carbohydrate that consists of a mixed blend of fructose subunits and is found in plants while oligofructose is a subtype of inulin. Both inulin and oligofructose can’t be digested in the upper gastrointestinal tract.

A review study published in the Journal of Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2001 describes that both inulin and oligofructose are dietary fibers that are absorbed in the small intestine and metabolized in various parts of the body. 

Another study reveals that they are used in the following applications:

  • Fruit preparations
  • Milk desserts
  • Fructose syrups
  • Baked goods

What’s the Nutritional Value of Fructooligosaccharides?

The nutritional value of Fructooligosaccharides is produced after it’s broken down in the large intestine by ample probiotics (beneficial bacteria) to produce the following:

  • Gases (hydrogen)
  • Short-chain fatty acids
  • 1.5-2.7 kilocalories per gram

It’s important to note that artificial fructooligosaccharides are made from inulin by yeasts so they are not vegan-friendly.

Why do Fructooligosaccharides have low Calories?

Fructooligosaccharides have low calories because they are not hydrolyzed by digestive enzymes and are not used as an energy source by the body. So, they are not harmful to diabetics and can be used as alternative sweeteners.

In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine in 2021, Fructooligosaccharides are low-calorie, containing 1.0- 1.7 calories per gram, or less than half the caloric value of sucrose.

Want to know more?

Click the links below to access the individual topic pages:


This article makes use of information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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9 Fructooligosaccharide Foods (Is there FOS in Probiotics?)
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