When working with clients with IBS, one of the things that often needs to be reminded is to check the label for inulin, particularly in yoghurt and muesli bars.
What is Inulin and why does it need to be watched out for?
Inulin is a soluble fibre usually extracted from the root of the chicory plant, and is added to some foods to boost the fibre content. Inulin is also a prebiotic, meaning it provides food for the healthy bacteria that are found in your gut.
Is there any other health benefits of inulin?
There is some evidence that oligosaccharides can increase absorption of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron and zinc.
Unfortunately for people with IBS, this may mean some difficulty with digestion; inulin is what we call a fructo-oligosaccharide, or a fructan. Many of those with IBS don’t tolerate these compounds well, which can lead to developing symptoms of IBS.
If you have IBS, it is recommended you determine which FODMAPs you are intolerant of, and also determine your tolerance levels, so you are not unnecessarily restricting your diet, particularly when there is so many other health benefits to consider.
PS – some people get mixed up between inulin and insulin… insulin is a hormone which is involved in blood sugar regulation.