Table of Contents
- Can Inulin be used as a Sweetener?
- Why is Inulin used in Stevia?
- What is the difference when comparing Inulin vs. Erythritol?
- What is the difference when comparing Soluble Corn fiber vs. Inulin
- Is Inulin a sugar alcohol?
- What is the relationship between Inulin and blood sugar?
- Want to know more?
Can Inulin be used as a Sweetener?
Inulin is used as a sweetener in many products because:
- It is a non-digestible fiber
- It does not affect blood sugar level
- It does not drastically increase the calorie count of the product
- It has good enough sweetness
- Inulin can be used as a bulking agent for other high-intensity sweeteners.
To use inulin as a sweetener, simply add its required amount replacing the sugar in food products or in a beverage. However, adding inulin to replace sugar does come with compromises such as reduced browning in bakery products, less moisture content, and mouthfeel. But in the case of beverages, it does not have a significant effect on the nature of the final product.
Why is Inulin used in Stevia?
Inulin is used in stevia as a bulking agent. Stevia is a potent sweetener having almost 500 times more sweetness than sugar, such a potent sweetener is difficult to handle and use in daily cooking.
Inulin is a mild sweetener and offers various advantages to consumers similar to stevia. It also helps the formulator to adjust the sweetness profile of the product and makes it convenient for users to handle stevia in home settings. For these reasons, inulin is used in stevia.
In the video below, Dr. Sten Ekberg explains how Inulin is among the best Sweeteners you can eat:
This is our recommended Probiotic Supplement with Inulin:
What is the difference when comparing Inulin vs. Erythritol?
The following are some differences when comparing Inulin vs. Erythritol:
- Function: Inulin is primarily a prebiotic but can function as a sweetener as well, while erythritol functions as a sweetener and bulking agent in sweeteners.
- Nature: Inulin is a fructooligosaccharide and is also called fructan. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol.
- Source: Inulin is primarily derived from chicory root, while erythritol can be naturally found in plants and vegetables, and it can be produced by fermenting corn.
- Cost: Inulin is more expensive than erythritol.
- Sweetness: Erythritol is about 70% sweet as sugar, while inulin has a 30-50% sweetness level as sugar.
- In bakery products: Inulin can produce bakery products similar to using sugar to some extent in terms of browning, moisture content, and mouthfeel. Erythritol does not impart any of these characteristics to the food item when replaced with sugar.
What is the difference when comparing Soluble Corn fiber vs. Inulin
The following are some differences when comparing soluble corn fiber vs. inulin:
- Function: Inulin functions as a prebiotic as well as a fiber in various food products, Soluble corn fiber functions as prebiotic fiber and adds thickness to different food products.
- Structure: The main structural component of Inulin and soluble corn fiber is fructose and glucose respectively.
- Tolerance: soluble corn fiber is more tolerable than inulin because it is fermented slowly in the digestive tract than inulin. The gas produced from inulin has to travel a longer path due to early fermentation causing more abdominal discomfort.
- Source: Inulin is primarily derived from chicory root, and soluble corn fiber is made from corn starch.
Is Inulin a sugar alcohol?
Inulin is not a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates, while inulin although carbohydrate is considered fiber. Sugar alcohols are organic compounds derived from sugar, they are naturally found in plants, and commercially they are manufactured by hydrogenation of sugar.
Inulin is present in many plants such as:
Commercially inulin is primarily derived from chicory roots.
Inulin can offer the same functions as sugar alcohol such as sugar replacement, prebiotic, and bulking agents in food items. It also produces a laxative effect similar to sugar alcohol.
What is the relationship between Inulin and blood sugar?
The relationship between Inulin and blood sugar is a beneficial one because the consumption of inulin may lower blood sugar levels. A study was performed on middle-aged men in which the participants consumed inulin for 8 weeks. Various blood parameters of the participants were measured as a part of the study. The study found that the daily consumption of inulin significantly decreased fasting insulin levels possibly resulting from low blood sugar levels.
A clinical trial was performed on women suffering from type II diabetes to assess the effect of inulin on serum glucose levels. The participants consumed inulin for 8 weeks, the tests revealed that the women who consumed inulin had significantly lower levels of fasting blood sugar from baseline as compared to the placebo group.
Studies performed in animals also show that inulin can reduce blood glucose levels.
Want to know more?
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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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- Jackson KG, Taylor GR, Clohessy AM, Williams CM. The effect of the daily intake of inulin on fasting lipid, insulin and glucose concentrations in middle-aged men and women. Br J Nutr. 1999 Jul;82(1):23-30. doi: 10.1017/s0007114599001087. PMID: 10655953.