What is agave inulin? In brief: this is a carbohydrate and natural sweetener with potential health benefits. It can be used both in everyday life as a prebiotic and food supplement as well as in cooking. It does not contain any sugar, so it’s a great choice for diabetics.
What is a “prebiotic”? A prebiotic is defined as an indigestible food ingredient that benefits the host by stimulating the growth and activity of “good” bacteria in the colon.
What is Agave Inulin?
Inulin belongs to a class of compounds called fructans. Another term that is often used for them is fructo-oligosaccharides, although the two aren’t exactly the same. These are carbohydrates with varying structure. Inulin is considered to be a fiber because it is not absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike cellulose, it is soluble. It is also referred to as Neosugar, Atlanta Starch, Dahlin and Diabetic Sugar. It can and is being used as a sugar substitute. Agave inulin’s glycemic index is particularly low, making it a good choice for diabetics.
Inulin is found in onions and garlic in small amounts and in chicory root and Jerusalem artichokes in somewhat bigger ones. The exact content in these vegetables depends on the season and storage. Organic agave inulin has a mildly sweet and clean flavor. It is an excellent way of obtaining dietary fiber. This inulin is extracted from the blue agave plant. Blue agave inulin is a nutritious sweetener known for potential intestinal health and blood sugar benefits, among others. In general, inulin has very low impact on blood sugar levels.
The following nutritional information about agave inulin is available:
One tablespoon (10 grams) of organic blue agave inulin contains 40 calories. This is 0% fat, 0% protein and 100% carbohydrates. Agave inulin powder contains no cholesterol, no sodium, no potassium, is 100% dietary fiber (no other carbohydrates). It does not contain any amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium or iron. One tablespoon of it would make up 2% of the recommended daily calorie intake based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Agave Inulin Benefits
What are some possible health benefits of agave inulin? The 100% dietary fiber content makes it a low-glycemic, highly nutritious sweetener. It is a recommended sugar substitute for diabetics because it does not result in blood sugar increase associated with sugar and other everyday sweeteners. The fiber helps improve digestive health by acting as a prebiotic that facilitates the good bacteria in our body. Inulin increases the body’s absorption of magnesium and calcium, thus stimulating and supporting bone health.
As inulin is basically transported to the large intestine without undergoing any change, it fertilizes the bacteria in the colon. There is evidence that some lactobacillus species of bacteria ferment inulin/FOS, which is why it is recommended as a supplement. The bacteria consume inulin to produce acetic, butyric and other short chain fatty-acids. Acetic acid is used by the liver to produce energy, while butyric acid has been known to help prevent intestinal cancer. Research on animals has shows inulin to prevent precancerous formations in the colon. Inulin was able to lower very low-density lipoprotein in hamsters, although it isn’t clear how this happened. Its high fiber content facilitates the absorption of many vitamins and minerals.
Admittedly, more research on humans to demonstrate the positive effects of inulin is needed at this time. Studies have shown that it may be possible to prevent various gastrointestinal complaints by targeting bacteria selectively. “Good” bacteria like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria inhibit pathogenic bacteria by modifying pH, making compounds that are toxic to the “bad” bacteria and creating surfactants that keep pathogenic bacteria from binding to the gastrointestinal lining.
How to Enjoy Agave Inulin Powder
Organic agave inulin is a beneficial and natural sweetener that can replace sugar. Its high solubility in cold water and sweet taste make it a great choice for both foods and beverages. Agave inulin improves the texture and softness of low-fat desserts, which is a great advantage because the lack of suitable ingredients where these foods go often results in a certain deficit in these areas. It also serves as a binder in many foods and helps baked goods stay moist. It can be used every day to sweeten tea, coffee and other beverages. How much you use depends on your taste – start with a teaspoon or two and just see how it is.
Baking with agave inulin is also possible – it can substitute for sugar in many recipes. For instance, it will add sweetness and improve the binding in granola bars. It modifies the texture in frozen desserts, especially dairy ones, acts as a prebiotic and ensures satiety due to its fibers. It also serves as a prebiotic in bars, beverages, bakery, confectionary, pudding, table syrup, creamer (both dairy and non-dairy) and even baby food. Using it in bars, beverages, and bakery will make you feel full and sated.
Inulin is also great in desserts with frosting – if you’re like most people, you probably struggle with sweeteners to keep desserts light, so inulin is worth a try. The fine powder dissolves well in smoothies and sauces and works well in all kinds of sweet treats.
Dietary and nutritional diversity is another advantage of using it in beverages, bakery, and confectionary. Its water binding characteristics make it a good option for bakery and baby foods, making them thicker and tastier. Again, how much you use is a matter of taste.
Can it substitute directly for sugar (1:1 ratio)?
It’s worth a try, but start with a teaspoon in your cup of tea. It’s not as sweet as sugar, which is something you also have to keep in mind. Table sugar is an extremely unhealthy food additive, even referred to as the “white death” in some cultures, along with salt.