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FoodMarble Health For use by physicians
  • Last updated: 15 February 2024
  • Est. reading time: 5 minutes
  • Why Does Inulin Cause So Much Digestive Confusion?

  • What is Inulin?

    Inulin is a type of dietary fiber that belongs to a class of carbohydrates known as fructans and it is found in a wide range of food. It is especially prevalent in garlic, onions, and root vegetables. It is also a major component of wheat, so you will find inulin in foods such as bread, pasta, and cereals. Among the FODMAPs tested in the Food Tolerance Kits, inulin has been identified as a digestive troublemaker among AIRE 2 users as it has the second-highest positivity rate in every country in our dataset except Spain (where it has the third-highest positivity rate).

  • Est. reading time: 5 minutes
  • Why Does Inulin Cause So Much Digestive Confusion?

  • What is Inulin?

    Inulin is a type of dietary fiber that belongs to a class of carbohydrates known as fructans and it is found in a wide range of food. It is especially prevalent in garlic, onions, and root vegetables. It is also a major component of wheat, so you will find inulin in foods such as bread, pasta, and cereals. Among the FODMAPs tested in the Food Tolerance Kits, inulin has been identified as a digestive troublemaker among AIRE 2 users as it has the second-highest positivity rate in every country in our dataset except Spain (where it has the third-highest positivity rate).

Why is inulin such a troublemaker for digestion?

Inulin can be hard to digest because it ferments slowly. A slower fermentation process means that the onset of digestive symptoms are delayed until much later in the day or even as late as the next day! For this reason, many people don’t realize that inulin is the cause of their digestive problems, which leads them to eliminate the wrong foods and continue to experience symptoms.

For example, many staple foods that are high in gluten (think wheat bread and cereals) also contain high levels of inulin. Therefore, people commonly attribute their digestive discomfort to foods containing wheat rather than foods containing inulin.

What if I completely eliminate a food that does not cause digestive issues?

In order to promote a healthy gut, the complete elimination of foods is not recommended. For instance, inulin supports digestion by promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut, especially Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. Therefore, it is clear that a thoughtful approach must be taken when managing and tracking how much of it you include in your diet.

How can I determine if inulin is causing me digestive issues?

The good news is that we have all the necessary resources for you to properly identify if inulin does negatively impact your digestion! Next, we will demonstrate how you can use AIRE 2, the FoodMarble app, and the Food Intolerance Kit to track and manage the impact inulin has on your gut.

Inulin Challenge Results

We have carefully selected two user results from the Inulin Challenge (part of the Food Intolerance Kit), where each participant consumed 10g of inulin. Let’s dive into the findings:

User 1
Inulin Challenge Result: Low Fermentation Score

The final result for this user was 1.9/10. They didn’t experience any uncomfortable symptoms during the challenge. However, they did notice that the level of hydrogen on their breath had started to increase towards the end of the three hours and they began to feel bloated. It is likely that the culprit was a meal eaten after the test that contained more fructans and some lactose.

So, I should avoid combining high inulin foods with other high-FODMAP foods?

That’s correct! In order to mitigate rapid build-up of gas and uncomfortable digestive symptoms, our recommendation is to carefully plan meals to limit the combination of different high-FODMAP foods. This means that when eating foods with high inulin levels, you will need to be vigilant about the FODMAP levels prevalent in the other foods in the meal so you avoid digestive discomfort.

Our food database on the FoodMarble app is a great resource to help ensure that your meals do not contain too many high-FODMAP foods. Let’s keep the FODMAPs where they belong – in the database, not in your gut!

User 2
Inulin Challenge Result: High Fermentation Score

The final result for this challenge was 9.7/10. This user initially felt quite bloated with some minor flatulence, which was closely followed by abdominal pain. They felt an urge to pass gas but were unable, suggesting a build-up of gases. Based on the breath test results and the symptoms that occurred, it is clear that this user has a low tolerance to 10g of inulin.

If I have a high fermentation score for inulin I can’t eat any foods with high inulin levels?

Well, not exactly. Inulin does provide benefits to your gut microbes, like enhancing the diversity of the gut microbiota. For this reason, our recommendation would be to keep the level of inulin in your daily diet to a minimal level that is tolerable. You can do this by limiting the portion size of high inulin foods.

Track and Monitor Your Gut Health with FoodMarble

By avoiding unnecessary restrictions and including a variety of foods to nourish your gut, you can support the maintenance of your overall gut health.

Let FoodMarble be your trusted guide as you embark on a path of self-discovery, measuring your body’s unique response to different foods and providing valuable insights to help you make informed decisions about your gut health!

Say goodbye to uncertainty and embrace the transformative power of FoodMarble AIRE 2. This innovative device, coupled with the FoodMarble App and Food Intolerance Kit, takes the guesswork out of optimizing your gut health. Click here to check out our products.

  • 15 February 2024
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