Effect of Inulin-Type Carbohydrates on Insulin Resistance in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J Diabetes Res. 2019 Aug 27:2019:5101423. doi: 10.1155/2019/5101423. eCollection 2019.


Background: Insulin resistance (IR) is a physiological condition related to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and obesity, which is associated with high blood insulin and glucose. Inulin-type carbohydrate (ITC) is a kind of fermentable fructan that can reduce glucose and ameliorate IR in an animal model, but the effect in clinical trials is controversial.

Objective: The authors conducted a systematic literature review to evaluate the effect of ITC supplementation in ameliorating IR in T2DM and obese patients.

Methods: Multiple databases were queried for studies before December 25, 2018, which involved supplementation with ITC in ameliorating IR in T2DM and obese patients. Studies that involved meta-analysis of the body mass index (BMI), fasting plasma glucose (FPG), fasting insulin (FI), HbA1c, homeostatic model assessment IR (HOMA-IR), and quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI) of T2DM subjects were included. HOMA-IR and QUICKI were identified as the primary outcomes. A systematic review was performed to evaluate the effect of ITC on IR in obese patients.

Results: The database search yielded 25 studies, which met the inclusion criteria; 11 articles were meta-analyzed, and 5 other articles on T2DM and 9 articles on simple obesity were systematically reviewed. Our results did not find ITC supplementation decrease postintervention and reduction data of BMI (P = 0.08). However, it can significantly decrease postintervention and reduction data of FPG, FI, HbA1c, and HOMA-IR. Heterogeneity was eliminated by subgroup analysis according to baseline BMI. There was no significant difference in the amelioration of QUICKI between the ITC and control groups. However, the difference was statistically significant and the heterogeneity was eliminated after subgroup analysis according to intakes of ITC. 14 articles for a systematic review found that the results of blood glucose, insulin, and HbA1c were controversial. Only one of the seven studies on simple obesity concluded that ITC intervention significantly ameliorated HOMA-IR, while the other six did not.

Conclusion: Supplementation of ITC can ameliorate IR in T2DM, especially in obese T2DM patients, but the effects are controversial in obese patients.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Inulin*
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diet therapy*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Insulin
  • Inulin