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INULIN IN THE DIET OF DIABETIC PATIENTS

JAMA. 1932;98(6):483-484. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02730320043014.
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Inulin is a polysaccharide carbohydrate that resembles starch in being distributed in plants as a store of energy. Whereas starch, on hydrolysis, is converted into the sugar dextrose, inulin is changed under the same conditions into levulose (or fructose). Both dextrose and levulose are readily assimilated by the body. Neither starch nor inulin can be utilized without preliminary conversion to sugar; in other words, they must first be digested. In the case of starch there are suitable mechanisms available for this change. The salivary and pancreatic amylases readily convert starch into dextrins and sugar. For inulin, such digestive ferments— inulinases—seem to be lacking in the alimentary tract. Accordingly it might be anticipated that inulin would traverse the gastro-intestinal canal unchanged, as other undigested carbohydrates do. It happens, however, that inulin is readily hydrolyzed by even weak acids at body temperature to sugar; hence there remains the possibility that some levulose

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