Aid Overall Health

The word fructooligosaccharides can seem overwhelming at first glance, but broken down, the word becomes more meaningful. Fructo is short for fructose, which is a fruit sugar. Oligo simply means few, and saccharide is sugar. 

Fructooligosaccharides have been added to infant foods, such as baby milk formula, yogurt and numerous food products. These include medical foods administered via enteral feeding or consumed under a doctor’s supervision. 

Fructooligosaccharides is also a dietary supplement that comes in powder or capsule form. 

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The History and Use of Fructooligosaccharides In the late 1980s, people were becoming more health-conscious and thinking about what it was they were putting into their bodies. In 1990, fructooligosaccharides was introduced as an alternative sweetener.  Fructooligosaccharides is a simpl... more

The History and Use of Fructooligosaccharides

In the late 1980s, people were becoming more health-conscious and thinking about what it was they were putting into their bodies. In 1990, fructooligosaccharides was introduced as an alternative sweetener. 

Fructooligosaccharides is a simple carbohydrate, created from plant sugars that are linked in short chains of glucose and fructose molecules. It is also used as a bulking agent, flavor enhancer and humectants. A humectant is a substance that helps another element to retain moisture. 

Fructooligosaccharides are also called oligofructose or FOS. It is known for its prebiotic properties. Fructooligosaccharides are akin to inulin, although they are differentiated by their chemical structures.

Natural Sources of Fructooligosaccharides

According to the USDA website, the natural sources of fructooligosaccharides are found in a great variety of fruits and vegetables. These are bananas, tomatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, yacón, onions, asparagus, garlic, wheat, barley, chicory root, endive, dahlia, murnong and leeks.

The Benefits of Using Short-chain Fructooligosaccharides are Numerous

Fructooligosaccharides possess many decisive physiological effects that are considered beneficial. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the National Institutes of Health, the benefits of fructooligosaccharides are as follows:

  • Low risk of causing cancer
  • Improved mineral absorption
  • Prebiotic effect  which stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines
  • Decreased levels of triacylglycerols, serum cholesterol, and phospholipids
  • Calorie free
  • Low sweetness intensity
  • Soluble dietary fiber
  • Does not cause cavities
  • Reduces constipation
  • Enhances magnesium absorption
  • Promotes calcium absorption
  • Increases production of butyrate and other short-chain fatty acids
  • Improves elimination of toxic compounds

The Recommended Daily Dosage for Fructooligosaccharides

The U.S. FDA classifies fructooligosaccharides as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). The Acceptable Intake Level was determined from clinical studies of tolerance to fructooligosaccharides. 

The results from the studies indicated that the general population, with the exception of infants under one year old, could safely consume up to 20 grams of fructooligosaccharides each day. In the U.S., baby formula contains fructooligosaccharides and is categorized as safe.   

The average intake for adults for the fructooligosaccharides supplement is 5 to 10 grams each day. Infants less than one year old can safely tolerate 4.2 grams per day.   

Scientific Studies on Fructooligosaccharides for People with Diabetes

In an exploratory trial, fructooligosaccharides supplements were administered to people who suffered with Type II diabetes. Eight grams per day were given over a period of two weeks. 

The test results revealed that serum total cholesterol levels as well as fasting blood sugar levels were notably lowered. 

The American Society for Nutritional Sciences completed a study involving the chronic consumption of short-chain fructooligosaccharides. The ASNS reported the complete study in the Journal of Nutrition.    

Patients who suffered with abnormal hepatic, renal and thyroid functions, as well as patients who had insulin treatment, even transiently, were excluded from the experiment. Patients with Type II diabetes daily ingested 20 grams of short-chain fructooligosaccharides over a four week period.

The study concluded that there were no adverse effects on lipid and glucose metabolism. It was also observed that chronic consumption of short-chain fructooligosaccharides does not affect basal hepatic glucose production or insulin resistance in Type II diabetics.

Side Effects of Fructooligosaccharides

Overall, consumption of fructooligosaccharides is tolerated well. High quantities that exceed 40 grams per day may prompt diarrhea and increase flatulence. 

Anyone who is allergic or highly sensitive to inulin should likely avoid fructooligosaccharides. Fructooligosaccharides are not known to interfere or interact negatively with any prescribed drugs.

Fructooligosaccharides is an inulin-type prebiotic. As such, it can stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria. 

On the downside, Fructooligosaccharides can also increase the growth of bacteria known as Klebsiella Pneumonia, as well as Clostridium and E. Coli. Other possible side effects of ingesting high quantities of fructooligosaccharides may include abdominal discomfort, bloating and gas. 

People who suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis, food intolerances, or gut dysbiosis should avoid fructoogliosaccharide supplements. 

This article is strictly for informational purposes. Before taking any supplements, it is advised that you should consult your personal physician or pharmacist, particularly if you are suffering from any ailments.

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  • Side Effects
  • Other Names
  • Uses
Contraindicated For Certain Medical Conditions
Abdominal Discomfort
Inulin, Fructo Oligosaccharides
Absorption Of Calcium
Aids In Absorption Of Minerals
Food Additive
Bulking Agent
Enhances Magnesium Absorption
Flavor Enhancer
Stimulates Growth Of Good Bacteria