Health benefits of oligosaccharides

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8 Scopus citations


Oligosaccharides received little attention in the nutrition community until recently. Oligosaccharides such as raffinose and stachyose were considered nuisance components in beans, onions, and garlic and many strategies devised to remove them from products because of their gas-forming properties. Recent evidence that fructooligosaccharides (FOS) enhance bifidobacteria in the gut as well as increase production of short chain fatty acids has increased interest in oligosaccharides. Isolated oligosaccharides are now available for incorporation into functional foods and have been added to medical foods and foods such as dairy products and desserts. Clinical trials are underway to document the health-promoting properties of oligosaccharides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nutraceuticals, Functional and Medical Foods
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Bifidobacteria
  • Cholesterol-lowering
  • Fructooligosaccharides
  • Gut fermentation
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Probiotics


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