Oligofructose, also commonly referred to as Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) is a sweetener that is used as an alternative to sugar. Oligofructose exhibits sweetness levels between 30 and 50 percent of sugar in commercially prepared syrups. It came into use in the 1980s when consumers began demanding healthier food with fewer calories.
Oligofructose is found in many fruits and vegetables. High concentrations of oligofructose are found in bananas, chicory root, onions, asparagus, garlic, wheat, Jerusalem artichokes, tomatoes, barley, leeks and jicama. According to the Journal of Nutrition, another important nutritional attribute of oligofructose is its action as a dietary fiber. Oligofructose supplies the body with friendly bacteria that aids digestion.
The Journal of Nutrition states that oligofructose is referred to as a prebiotic because it is nondigestble and stimulates the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria. It improves the overall health of the gastrointestinal tract and is recommended as a treatment for yeast infections and candida overgrowth. Several studies have found that oligofructose promotes calcium absorption in animals and humans.
No serious side effects have been associated with consumption of oligofructose. According to Pubmed.gov, high-dose animal tests have been performed and none have revealed any toxic effects. A U.S. panel of experts categorized oligofructose as generally accepted as safe (GRAS) in 1992. There has been some report of increased flatulence and intestinal discomfort when consumed in large amounts, which varies according to the type of food that was consumed.
Individuals suffering from candida overgrowth may find success in controlling the yeast by supplementing the diet with oligofructose or FOA. Natural health food stores sell a variety of FOS products. Many of the natural health websites that sell these products, such as Drnatura.com, display consumer testimonies that credit the supplements with successfully controlling candida overgrowth.
Oligofructose is found in large amounts in our diet. It has been determined to be a safe alternative to sugar and an acceptable treatment for candida overgrowth. With no major side effects, it should be considered as a supplement to improve health by replacing regular sugar and reducing calories in sweetened foods.