A study found that inulin, a type of fiber from chicory root, helps improve some health markers in overweight and obese children. Published in the FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) Journal, the study divided 39 overweight and obese children, aged 7 to 12, into two groups: one group received 8 grams of inulin (Orfati Syngery 1 ingredient by Beneo) per day for 16 weeks, while the other group received a placebo for the same amount of time. Researchers measured the children’s body fat, levels of insulin and pro-inflammatory cytokines (molecules used for communication between cells that trigger the protective defenses of the immune system), and gut bacteria at the beginning and end of the study. Here’s what the researchers discovered:
Children who consumed the inulin fiber had a statistically significant increase in bifidobacteria, a beneficial organism that is normally present in the gastrointestinal tract, compared with the placebo group.
Children who consumed the inulin fiber also had reduced waist circumferences, as well as lower levels of interferon gamma (a pro-inflammatory cytokine) and insulin, compared with the placebo group, although these changes were not statistically significant.
Inulin is known as a “prebiotic,” meaning that it can help promote the growth of probiotics in the gut. This preliminary research shows that it may also have other benefits apart from an increase in friendly bacteria in overweight and obese children. However, the findings should be viewed with caution since it appears that only 13 of the children had completed the study by the time the study was published, and researchers were awaiting results for the other 26 participants.
Source: FASEB Journal