Dietary Fructans

Annu Rev Nutr. 1998;18:117-43. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.18.1.117.


Fructan is a general term used for any carbohydrate in which one or more fructosyl-fructose link constitutes the majority of osidic bonds. This review focuses on the fate of inulin-type fructans (namely native chicory inulin, oligofructose produced by the partial enzymatic hydrolysis of chicory inulin, and synthetic fructans produced by enzymatic synthesis from sucrose) in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as on their systemic physiological effects on mineral absorption, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, hormone balance, and nitrogen homeostasis. The scientific evidence for the functional claims of inulin-type fructans is discussed, as well as their potential application in risk reduction of disease, namely constipation, infectious diarrhea, cancer, osteoporosis, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, obesity, and non-insulin dependent diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Carbohydrates*
  • Digestion
  • Digestive System / metabolism
  • Food
  • Fructans* / administration & dosage
  • Fructans* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inulin / administration & dosage
  • Inulin / metabolism
  • Preventive Medicine


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fructans
  • Inulin