ask the RD

by Jennie McCary, MS, RD, LD on Sep 27, 2011

Food for Thought

Jennie McCary, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian and wellness manager for the Albuquerque Public School District. She focuses on childhood obesity prevention and employee wellness. She was New Mexico’s 2009 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year. 


I’ve seen inulin listed as an ingredient in more and more food products. What is it, and is it healthy?


Inulin is found naturally in fruits and vegetables and also appears as an added source of fiber in food products such as yogurt and high-fiber snack bars. Inulin that is added to processed foods comes from chicory root extract and is used to increase fiber content and replace sugar, fat and flour. A soluble fiber like that found in oats and apples, inulin passes through the body undigested, and the gel-like substance helps improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Inulin is an oligosaccharide—a prebiotic that can feed the beneficial bacteria found in the gut and that may promote immunity and gastrointestinal health. Food products containing the functional fiber inulin can boost fiber intake for people falling short of their daily needs. Still, because of all the other health benefits that whole foods offer, the best way to fill up on fiber is to eat fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains during meals and snacks.

Fitness Journal, Volume 8, Issue 10

Find the Perfect Job

More jobs, more applicants and more visits than any other fitness industry job board.

© 2011 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Jennie McCary, MS, RD, LD

Jennie McCary, MS, RD, LD IDEA Author/Presenter

You can pose your own question to our contributing editor Jennie McCary, MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian and worksite wellness consultant with Presbyterian Health Plan. Please send your questions, along with your name and city/state/country, to editor Sandy Webster at