Effects of inulin-type fructans on appetite, energy intake, and body weight in children and adults: systematic review of randomized controlled trials

Ann Nutr Metab. 2013;63(1-2):42-54. doi: 10.1159/000350312. Epub 2013 Jul 23.


Aim: To systematically evaluate the effects of inulin-type fructan (ITF) supplementation on appetite, energy intake, and body weight (BW) in children and adults.

Methods: The MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases were searched up to December 2012 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared the effects of supplementation with well-defined ITF with placebo or no intervention.

Results: For the pediatric population, 4 RCTs (n = 232) met the inclusion criteria. In infants, very limited evidence (1 RCT, n = 62) showed no effect of ITF supplementation on energy intake and BW. One RCT involving 97 nonobese adolescents aged 9 to 13 years found a reduced increase in BW in the oligofructose + inulin (8 g/day) group compared with the control group after 1 year. For the adult population, 15 RCTs (n = 545) met the inclusion criteria. Five RCTs found no effect of ITF supplementation on appetite sensations. Eleven RCTs found no effect of ITF supplementation on daily energy intake or energy intake during a meal tolerance test. Among 3 RCTs that assessed the effect of ITF supplementation on BW, 2 RCTs showed a (significant) reduction in BW. Of 3 RCTs that evaluated body mass index (BMI), 1 RCT showed a significant reduction in BMI in subjects supplemented with ITF.

Conclusion: Limited data suggest that long-term administration of ITF may contribute to weight reduction.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Appetite / drug effects*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Energy Intake / drug effects*
  • Fructans / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Inulin / administration & dosage*
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Fructans
  • Inulin