Fructooligosaccharide (FOS)

Fructooligosaccharide (FOS) Oligofructoseor Sucrosetrisacchride

1) Brief Introduction of FOS
Fructooligosaccharide (FOS) is also known as Oligofructoseor or Sucrosetrisacchride. It exists in fruits and vegetables, such as burdock (3.6%), onion (2.8%), garlic (1.0%), rye (0.7%) and bananas (0.3%). It is an indispensable element of human diet, ranking 7th among nutrients. FOS was discovered in 1950, produced industrially by Japan and first marketed in 1982. In 1992, the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Japan approved it and designated it as a specific health food, to be applied in more than 500 kinds of food; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States has also recognized FOS as a GRAS food ingredient to be widely used in food production; in Europe FOS is also widely used in food as a functional sweet substitute that can control levels of cholesterol. In the mid-and-late 1990s, FOS was extensively used in Taiwan and Korea. In China, the research and development of FOS was listed as a key project to be tackled in the Ninth Five-Year Plan. Now FOS production has reached a sizable scale, and it is used in many famous brands of health food. Following the world trend, more and more Chinese enterprises in the food and health food industries are using FOD to upgrade their products or develop new ones.
2) Physiological Functions of FOS
After years of research, many countries (including China) have recognized that FOS is very effective in improving the functions of the intestines, preventing constipation and diarrhoea, lowering blood cholesterol, and increasing the body¡¯s immunity.
Its functional mechanism is twofold:
First, with its unique structure, FOS cannot be digested by hydrochloric acid and enzymes in the digestive tract; therefore it can reach the large intestines, to be swiftly and selectively absorbed by bifidobacterium, a useful bacteria group, which enables bifidobacterium to reproduce quickly. It will simultaneously produce a kind of fatty acid, making the PH value in the intestines a bit acidic. Then it can check the growth of harmful bacteria group, lower the activity of some harmful reeducates, and reduce the formation and accumulation of carcinogenic substance and harmful metabolites in the intestines, thus clearing the waste in the intestines.
Second, FOS is a water-soluble diet fiber that can lower serum cholesterol and improve fatty metabolism with consistent usage.
3) Physical and chemical features of FOS
1. Sweetness and tastiness:
FOS, with a purity of 50%-60%, is 60% as sweet as cane sugar, and FOS, with a purity of 95%, is only 30% as sweet as cane sugar. It tastes good and pure, so when it is used in drinks and food, it will moderate their sweetness and improve their tastiness. It can also be used with highly sweet agents such as Aspartame to replace cane sugar so as to enhance the sweetness of the food. FOS is a sugarless, low calorie and high fiber food ingredient.

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