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Inulin Gets Blood Sugar Health Claim in Europe

Inulin Gets Blood Sugar Health Claim in Europe

Thanks to a petition from chicory inulin suppliers, EFSA has approved an inulin health claim for European food and beverage manufacturers.

Inulin is a soluble fiber found in rich amounts in plants such as Jerusalem artichoke, agave, and chicory. The ingredient is used for fiber fortification, but inulin also contains simple sugars known as fructooligosaccharides (FOS). These FOS allow manufacturers to repurpose inulin as a sweetening agent.

EFSA has decided that, based on provided evidence, inulin FOS can lower blood sugar spikes from foods and beverages when FOS replaces sugar. The effect is due to FOS’s resistance to absorption in the small intestine. The effect is considered beneficial for humans, especially diabetics, and will be approved as the following health claim language:

 

Consumption of foods/drinks containing non-digestible carbohydrates instead of sugars induces a lower blood glucose rise after meals compared to sugar-containing foods/drinks.

 

EFSA admits that the effect is not unique to FOS, but because supporting evidence is based on chicory inulin studies only—submitted by Beneo-Orafti SA (Oreye, Belgium), Sensus BV (Roosendaal, the Netherlands), and Cosucra-Groupe Warcoing SA (Warcoing, Belgium)—the health claim only applies to chicory-derived FOS.

EFSA’s expert panel made its decision based on three “human mechanistic studies” and three human interventions on ice cream, yogurt, and beverages formulated with FOS.

 
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