Inulin and oligofructose, besides their effect on the gastro-intestinal tract, are also able to exert 'systemic' effect, namely by modifying the hepatic metabolism of lipids in several animal models. Feeding male Wistar rats on a carbohydrate-rich diet containing 10 % inulin or oligofructose significantly lowers serum triacylglycerol (TAG) and phospholipid concentrations. A lower hepatic lipogenesis, through a coordinate reduction of the activity and mRNA of lipogenic enzymes is a key event in the reduction of very low-density lipoprotein-TAG secretion by oligofructose. Oligofructose is also able to counteract triglyceride metabolism disorder occurring through dietary manipulation in animals, and sometimes independently on lipogenesis modulation: oligofructose reduces post-prandial triglyceridemia by 50 % and avoids the increase in serum free cholesterol level occurring in rats fed a Western-type high fat diet. Oligofructose protects rats against liver TAG accumulation (steatosis) induced by fructose, or occurring in obese Zucker fa/fa rats. The protective effect of dietary inulin and oligofructose on steatosis in animals, would be interesting, if confirmed in humans, since steatosis is one of the most frequent liver disorders, occurring together with the plurimetabolic syndrome, in overweight people. The panel of putative mediators of the systemic effects of inulin and oligofructose consists in either modifications in glucose/insulin homeostasis, the end-products of their colonic fermentation (i.e. propionate) reaching the liver by the portal vein, incretins and/or the availability of other nutrients. The identification of the key mediators of the systemic effects of inulin and oligofructose is the key to identify target function(s) (or dysfunction(s)), and finally individuals who would take an advantage of increasing their dietary intake.