The present study was carried out to examine the effect of the daily intake of 10 g inulin on fasting blood lipid, glucose and insulin levels in healthy middle-aged men and women with moderately raised total plasma cholesterol (TC) and triacylglycerol (TAG) levels. This study was a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled parallel study in which fifty-four middle-aged subjects received either inulin or placebo for a period of 8 weeks. Fasting blood samples were collected before the supplementation period (baseline samples 1 and 2, separated by 1 week) and at weeks 4 and 8, with a follow-up at week 12. Compared with baseline values, insulin concentrations were significantly lower at 4 weeks (P < 0.01) in the inulin group. There was a trend for TAG values, compared with baseline, to be lower in the inulin group at 8 weeks (P < 0.08) returning to baseline concentrations at week 12. On comparison of the inulin and placebo groups, the fasting TAG responses over the 8-week test period were shown to be significantly different (P < 0.05, repeated measures ANOVA), which was largely due to lower plasma TAG levels in the inulin group at week 8. The percentage change in TAG levels in the inulin group during the 8-week study was shown to correlate with the initial TAG level of the subjects (rs -0.499, P = 0.004). We therefore conclude that the daily addition of 10 g inulin to the diet significantly reduced fasting insulin concentrations during the 8-week test period and resulted in lower plasma TAG levels, particularly in subjects in whom fasting TAG levels were greater than 1.5 mmol/l. These data support findings from animal studies that fructans influence the formation and/or degradation of TAG-rich lipoprotein particles, and the insulin data are also consistent with recent studies showing attenuation of insulin levels in fructan-treated rats.