Prebiotics as functional food ingredients preventing diet-related diseases

Food Funct. 2016 May 18;7(5):2147-55. doi: 10.1039/c5fo01459j. Epub 2016 Mar 10.


This paper reviews the potential of prebiotic-containing foods in the prevention or postponement of certain diet-related diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases with hypercholesterolemia, osteoporosis, diabetes, gastrointestinal infections and gut inflammation. Also the data on prebiotics as food ingredients and their impact on food product quality are presented. Prebiotics are short chain carbohydrates that are resistant to the digestion process in the upper part of the digestive system, are not absorbed in any segment of the gastrointestinal system, and finally are selectively fermented by specific genera of colonic bacteria. The mechanisms of the beneficial impacts of prebiotics on human health are very difficult to specify directly, because their health-promoting functions are related to fermentation by intestinal microflora. The impact of prebiotics on diet-related diseases in many ways also depends on the products of their fermentation. Prebiotics as functional food ingredients also have an impact on the quality of food products, due to their textural and gelling properties. Prebiotics as food additives can be very valuable in the creation of functional food aimed at preventing or postponing many diet-related diseases. They additionally have beneficial technological properties which improve the quality of food products.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bifidobacterium / growth & development
  • Bifidobacterium / physiology
  • Body Weight Maintenance
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control
  • Diet Therapy*
  • Diet*
  • Digestive System
  • Digestive System Physiological Phenomena
  • Fermentation
  • Food Additives
  • Food Ingredients*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Quality*
  • Functional Food
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / prevention & control
  • Immune System
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Insurance Benefits
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Prebiotics*


  • Food Additives
  • Food Ingredients
  • Prebiotics