Should You Be Concerned about Inulin or Chicory Root Fiber?
April 25, 2016 25 Comments
I noticed when I started looking at lower calorie Greek yogurt that inulin (also known as chicory root fiber) is popping up everywhere.
Inulin is a type of fiber that is found in certain edible plants such as chicory root. Your small intestine does not absorb inulin so it is essentially calorie free (it passes out of you).
It is sweet, makes yogurt creamy, and increases the amount of fiber in processed foods. Why would you want fiber in your yogurt? I am not entirely sure why anyone would want high fiber yogurt because you can get fiber in fresh fruits and vegetables. I think they add it because of the “mouth feel” and sweetness for zero calories.
People take 15 grams of raw inulin (from a jar) to reduce constipation and it does seem to help.
But, it may cause others problems such as bloating, flatulence, cramps, and diarrhea. When I posted about Dannon’s Oikos someone told me that they couldn’t eat it because the lactose made their stomach hurt. It might not be the lactose at all – but the inulin.
I don’t think that inulin is a bad addition to no-sugar added yogurts as long as people are aware that they might have an issue with it. It is a plant based compound that we eat all the time in:
- Leeks and onions
I am guessing from the packaging that Dannon’s Oikos has about 6 grams of inulin added (since there is 6 grams of fiber and none of the other ingredients would include fiber). If you eat three of these per day, you will be treating constipation. Clearly if constipation isn’t a problem for you, you are going to create another problem with too many of these yogurts.
My advice is to eat these in moderation if you like them and they don’t cause any issues. Some people might call these yogurts "Frankenfoods" because they are designed by food companies versus being completely natural - and I hear that - but they lack the single biggest problem ingredient in the American diet - added sugar.
If you are trying to cut the sugar in your diet, these yogurts can give you a creamy treat instead of ice cream or higher sugar yogurts - and that is a good thing. I would not feed these to children though because of the dose of inulin might be too high (creating stomach aches).
What do you think of inulin or chicory root fiber? Do you avoid it?
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