Dog Food Ingredients A to Z: Inulin

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chicory root

Today we move to the letter “I” in our ingredient A to Z series and we are featuring inulin as our ingredient of the day.

 

What is inulin?

According to Wikipedia, inulins are a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides produced by many types of plants. Inulins are dietary fibers that are classified and known as fructans.  Chicory is a common source for commercially utilized inulin.  Inulins belong to a class of dietary fibers known as fructans.

 

Common names for inulin

The most common name variations for inulin include chicory extract, chicory inulin, dahlia extract, dahlia inulin, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), and prebioitcs.

 

Why is inulin included in dog food?

Inulin is added to dog food for two key reasons: 1) it is somewhat sweet and can be used to increase a food’s sweetness even though it is a relatively low calorie alternative to other fats or sugar and 2) it can be used as a prebiotic to aid digestion.

Is inulin a commonly used ingredient in dog food?

We found inulin in 6.10% of the foods in our dog food ingredient database.  We then searched for  the broader term “fructooligosaccharide” and found this in 8.1 % of all dog food.

 

Common benefits or risks of inulin

There are many benefits of inulin.  Inulin is a low calorie carbohydrate and fiber source with about 25% less calories than sugar and about 10-12% less calories than fat.  Inulin can increase calcium absorption and can be characterized as a prebiotic, which is a substance that feeds the healthy bacteria in the body’s intestinal system.

Too much inulin can produce bloating, gas, and diarrhea in some people, as would most any diet with too much fiber.  We have not found any research studies related to the levels of inulin needed to cause similar gastric distress in dogs.

 

Miscellaneous facts about innulin

Some of the more common sources of inulin include:

  • Agave
  • Banana
  • Chicory
  • Dandelion
  • Garlic
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Jicama

 

 

Sources and further reading

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inulin

http://journalfair.cepiec.com.cn/pdf/BJN093S125.pdf

http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FBJN%2FBJN96_05%2FS0007114506003151a.pdf&code=08883547bac74aba1339879b90c07d0c

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/12_7/features/Probiotic-Supplements-for-Canine_16138-1.html

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-inulin.htm

 
image We’re joining the Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop sponsored by Sugar, the Golden Retriever and Kolchak from Kol’s Notes:

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10 Comments

  1. I did a double take here…at first I thought the title said “Insulin”…so from what I can figure out (had to look some stuff up) this is a starchy substance that can or is used in place of traditional flours? We have a common vine here called smilax or greenbriar that was used by Native Americans for making bread due to the starch content …sorry, i got off on a tangent here
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Climbing High with Wellness WellBites Dog TreatsMy Profile

  2. good to know …… thanks !

  3. As i read the article, I remembered how much Maddie loved bananas, now realizing she went for the sweetness too. amazing to me that our pets have a special instinct about what is ok to eat. Once again, thanks for informative info….love this site!

  4. Lots of good information – I’ll have to check out my dog food ingredients!

  5. My favorite fruit treat, BANANA. Happy Tasty Tuesday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  6. Thanks for the great information. We are in the process of changing Freighter’s food so I have been spending quite a bit of time on your site. 🙂
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday–Hunting DogMy Profile

    • Great – keep us posted on what you end up with and how it works for him.
      mkob recently posted…Wordless Wednesday 10-23-13My Profile

  7. I did the same think as Gizmo. And I have new glasses….hmmmm ok I found out why I am bloating all the time, I am eating to much of that I word. Urgh
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Wordless Wednesday~Rain JacketMy Profile

  8. Wow, you’re a mine of great information, thanks for sharing!

    Hope you’re having a fun day 🙂

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂
    snoopy recently posted…Time out!My Profile

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