What is FOS?

Fructooligosaccharides (usually abbreviated FOS)- and inulin, are terms referring to naturally-occurring, mildly sweet, indigestible carbohydrates.

How do fructo oligo saccharides help the body?

FOS does not affect blood sugar levels and so is suitable for diabetics and hypoglycemics. All forms of FOS act as dietary fiber. thus, consumption of FOS may help to shorten fecal transit time increase fecal bulk and reduce constipation. It has also been shown to reduce both cholesterol and triglyceride levels and may provide improved absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphate.

Foods containing FOS:

FOS is commonly extracted from chicory roots and Jerusalem artichokes (as it occurs in relatively large quantities in these items,) but it is also found in onions, leeks, garlic, common artichokes, bananas, rye, barley, dandelion leaves, burdock roots and honey. Some presence of FOS has been noted in over 36,000 plants worldwide. FOS cannot be broken down by the human digestive system, but they can be broken down and consumed by the bacteria in the digestive tract. For this reason, FOS is considered to be a prebiotic-a substance which provides nourishment for the good gut flora.

FOS high food--Jerusalem artichoke tubers.

FOS high food–Jerusalem artichoke tubers.

Prebiotics, like probiotics (such as live-culture yogurt substances actually containing bacteria beneficial to the digestive tract,) help promote regularity, prevent yeast overgrowth and are beneficial for those with Crohn’s disease, colitis or who are on kidney dialysis.

Note to those who bloat after eating: Nonspecific extracts of FOS will provide nourishment for friendly bacteria (lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, et.) and pathogenic bacteria (E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Clostridium, etc.) alike, whereas standardized extracts of long-chain inulin will selectively nourish only the friendly flora.

Helpful Links and References for FOS:

Sources for FOS as a sweetener: Try Chicolin, from Bioquest Imports International, Inc. (www.greenalive.com/chicolin.html.)