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Inulin

04 Jan

So yes, I will admit it:  I am a research junkie.  I love to have all the facts (or at least think I do!) so that I can make an informed decision.  I will also admit that sometimes my research does not give me the right answer!  But I hope that in those times I have people who will correct me, and that I will be humble and accept the guidance.  🙂

I do have to say though that in this blog, anything I bring forth as “my research” will have my opinions, and my bias, and I AM NOT A DOCTOR!!!  Please do your own research if something here peaks your interest and form your own opinions.

One of my recent research topics was on Inulin, mostly because I kept seeing this ingredient on the Keifer milk and yogurt I wanted to buy.  Being a “Crohnie” now means that I need to read labels, and understand them!

From what I understand, Inulin is a naturally occurring carbohydrate (or fiber) found in such foods as leeks, artichokes, onions, asparagus, garlic, bananas, wheat, rye, and chicory root.  It is not absorbed by the small intestine, but instead will travel to the large intestine and be used there. 

In a healthy person, Inulin can be great.  It can help feed the good gut bacteria, helps keep you regular (like other fiber products), and can even help diabetics in that it does not raise blood sugar.

In fact, Inulin is such a highly adaptable product that fat, sugar, and flour can be replaced by it in processed foods!

But here’s my problem with it:

If you DO NOT have a healthy gut (meaning, the bacteria in your system is out of whack), and you ingest Inulin, won’t it just feed the bad bacteria as well as the good?  And what does an overgrowth of bad bacteria lead to?  Gas?  Bowel Problems?  Yeast?

Possibly, yes. 

I am frequently coming to the conclusion that the less you process a food, the better.  Inulin as a NATURAL source is probably fine.  I love to cook with garlic and onions!  But when you take something that is good in nature, and process it so it can be added back to foods, it just doesn’t seem right.  I would rather sweeten my yogurt with natural honey than have it artificially sweetened with something like Inulin.   

At this point in time, it seems that Inulin is not really needed by me, so I will stay away from those products that have it.  If there is even a slight question of what it will do to my system, I don’t want it.  Maybe further on in my disease-life I will have minor amounts of Inulin in a commercial yogurt I just had to have.  But right now, at the start of my diagnosis, I have to be VERY careful of what I put into my system. 

And the last thing I want to do, if I do indeed have a bacterial imbalance in my gut, is put something in there that will help all the bad bacteria grow even more, and potentially cause more problems.

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Posted by on January 4, 2010 in Crohn's Journal

 

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