Fructooligosaccharideis a representative prebioticthat many people are now familiar with. It is a natural substance found in vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, etc. and has been used as a food material. No serious side effects have been reported, so it can be said to be a raw material whose safety has been sufficiently confirmed.
When we consume fructooligosaccharides, they are barely digested and reach the intestines where they become food for beneficial bacteria. In addition, in numerous human application tests, an increase in intestinal beneficial bacteria has been reported from the intake of fructooligosaccharide. However, I often recommend fructooligosaccharide as an essential ingredient for a successful diet. Today I will review it through research papers.
1. Improves Constipation
The biggest reason why I consider fructooligosaccharide an essential ingredient for diet is because it helps improve constipation. The functionality of fructo-oligosaccharides recognized by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is also included in the category of ‘can help with smooth bowel movements.’
In fact, in 2017, a paper was published in Nutrients that evaluated the effect of consuming fructooligosaccharides to improve constipation.
“When fructooligosaccharide was supplemented in healthy participants who consumed dietary fiber irregularly, it showed a laxative effect that improved bowel movement by reducing stool hardness without causing gastrointestinal disorders.”
Reference : Buddington, R. K., Kapadia, C., Neumer, F., & Theis, S. (2017). Oligofructose provides laxation for irregularity associated with low fiber intake. Nutrients, 9(12), 1372.
2. Reduces Blood Sugar and Weight
In general, the functionality of fructooligosaccharides is known to serve as food for beneficial bacteria in the intestines and help them proliferate. This is true in broad terms, but the actual operation is a bit more complicated. The ingested fructooligosaccharides are fermented by intestinal bacteria in the large intestine, and the short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) produced as a result of fermentation acidify the intestinal environment and create a favorable environment for beneficial bacteria to reside.
Short-chain fatty acids, which are the end products of fructooligosaccharide fermentation, not only improve the intestinal environment but also act as substrates or signaling molecules in various metabolic processes such as immune response, glucose homeostasis, and regulation of lipid metabolism.
In 2016, the results of a meta-study comprehensively reviewing the various benefits of consuming fructooligosaccharides were reported.
“As a result, (consumption of fructooligosaccharides) may reduce blood sugar levels, body weight, and risk of colon cancer.””
Reference : Caetano, B. F., De Moura, N. A., Almeida, A. P., Dias, M. C., Sivieri, K., & Barbisan, L. F. (2016). Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) as a food supplement: health-promoting benefits of fructooligosaccharides. Nutrients, 8(7), 436.
3. Improves Nutrient Absorption
The third reason why I recommend consuming fructo-oligosaccharides during diet is because fructo-oligosaccharides can help improve the absorption of minerals. A representative example is calcium. As a result of human application tests, it has been reported that calcium absorption through the large intestine increases when fructooligosaccharide is consumed.
As the results of human trials accumulating showing that ingestion of fructo-oligosaccharides improves nutrient absorption in the intestines, a result was published in Archives de Pédiatrie reporting a meta-study examining changes in nutrient absorption according to ingestion of fructo-oligosaccharides.
“It has been reported that fructooligosaccharides increase calcium absorption in the intestine and stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria in the colon, reducing iron uptake by intestinal pathogens and increasing absorption of these minerals.”
Reference : Costa, G., Vasconcelos, Q., Abreu, G., Albuquerque, A., Vilarejo, J., & Aragão, G. (2020). Changes in nutrient absorption in children and adolescents caused by fructans, especially fructooligosaccharides and inulin. Archives de Pédiatrie, 27(3), 166-169.
Today, we looked at the benefits of fructo-oligosaccharides that have been verified by academia. If you were thinking that you should simply consume it to proliferate beneficial bacteria in your intestines, it would be a good idea to pay more attention to the resulting benefits of consuming fructo-oligosaccharides introduced today.
In addition, fructooligosaccharide can be consumed alone, but it can also be consumed as a substitute for sweetener in drinks or mixed with unsweetened yogurt, so if you are looking to reduce sugar intake, kill two birds with one stone by choosing fructooligosaccharide instead of sweetener.
I hope you have a healthy day both physically and mentally. This was Jinny.