A Randomised Crossover Trial: The Effect of Inulin on Glucose Homeostasis in Subtypes of Prediabetes

Ann Nutr Metab. 2016;68(1):26-34. doi: 10.1159/000441626. Epub 2015 Nov 17.


Background: Fermentable carbohydrates (FCHO) have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in normoglycaemic and insulin-resistant subjects. However, there are no data on subjects with prediabetes. We aimed to investigate the effect of the FCHO inulin, on glucose homeostasis in subjects with prediabetes.

Methods: In a double-blind and placebo-controlled crossover study, 40 volunteers with prediabetes were randomly allocated to take 30 g/day of inulin or cellulose for 2 weeks in a crossover trial, following a 4-week dose-escalation run-in. Fasting insulin and glucose were measured for all subjects. Fifteen of the 40 subjects also underwent a meal tolerance test to assess insulin sensitivity, free fatty acids and glucagon-like peptide-1 concentrations. A subanalysis was carried out to examine any differences between the prediabetes subtypes.

Results: Inulin was associated with a significant increase in (0-30 min)incremental AUC (iAUC) for insulin (treatment: p < 0.04) and (0-60 min)iAUC for insulin (treatment: p < 0.04) compared to control. There was a significant reduction in insulin resistance measured by the homeostatic model assessment in the isolated-impaired fasting glucose (p < 0.05) but not in the isolated-impaired glucose tolerance groups (p = 0.59).

Conclusion: The FCHO, inulin, may have unique metabolic effects that are of particular benefit to people at risk of diabetes, which warrant further investigation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / blood
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Inulin / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prediabetic State / drug therapy*
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Inulin