The name is Fructooligosaccharide but you can call me FOS
It’s a tongue twister of a name alright but it is one that you will come to hear more about if you haven’t already. FOS is classed as a prebiotic, or literally “before life”. I use it as a sweetener in my Better Protein powder and bars because it is one of the few natural things which taste sweet, and not only has no negative affect on us, is actually tremendously good for us.
The research is still preliminary but it does seem to indicate that taking FOS powder at breakfast and dinner increases satiety or the feeling of satisfaction we get from our food. This makes us feel less hungry which of course results in us eating less. Interestingly the way that FOS does this isn’t just by swelling in the gut, but rather by encouraging the production of proteins called glucagons-like peptides which control our hunger levels.
Encourages growth of good bacteria
Probiotic is a term you are probably more familiar with, given the popularity of the drinks and foods on the market which contain these beneficial bacteria. Probiotic means “for life” an indication of how important the scientists that discovered them considered these bacteria to be for our health. But like any form of life, the bacteria need a food supply, which is where the prebiotics come in. These carbohydrates aren’t digested in the small intestine as you would expect, but rather pass through to the bowel where they ferment and break down into smaller particles. These then provide food for the bacteria enabling them to flourish in our digestive system, preventing the overpopulation of undesirable micro-organisms such as the yeast Candida albicans as well as protecting our systemic immune system.
Improves calcium and magnesium absorption
As you know, calcium and magnesium are two of the most important minerals for the health of our bones, but having them in our diet isn’t enough to prevent osteoporosis; they need to get to and stay in the bone itself. FOS has been shown to not only help us absorb these minerals but to also increase the amount in our bones, which helps to increase bone mineral density as well as reducing the bone turnover rate or the rate at which bone is broken down.
Blood sugar friendly
Although it tastes sweet, FOS won’t have any affect on your blood sugar levels and because it is largely undigested, provides very few calories.