Inulin is a polysaccharide that belongs to a group of naturally-occurring carbohydrates containing non-digestible fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Inulin is found naturally in more than 36,000 types of plants worldwide, including dahlias, asparagus, bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, salsify, wheat, chicory, onions, and garlic. It is estimated that approximately one-third of the earth's vegetation contains this substance. It is also used in a variety of processed foods for fat replacement and fiber enrichment. Inulin has a mildly sweet taste, but does not affect blood Sugar levels and is recommended for diabetics.
Oligofructose is a product of inulin that has been broken down into smaller molecules. Many countries add these fiber-rich glyconutrients to foods to promote colon health and to help increase calcium and magnesium absorption. Oligofructose has also proven to reduce the number of colds in young children who attend day care.