There is evidence that fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin can impart a range of health benefits if consumed on a regular basis. The health benefits include increased mineral absorption and improved immune response and while there is mounting evidence that prebiotics play a role in colorectal cancer prevention, their role of satiety and weight management is still being investigated.
In this review we look at the evidence published so far on FOS or inulin supplementation and weight management. We also establish whether prebiotic enriched breads are feasible in terms of dough machinability, bread characteristics and consumers acceptance.
Addition of inulin to bread generally resulted in smaller loaves with a harder crumb and darker colour. The limited sensory studies on those products reflect those findings and acceptability decreased with inulin content. However, a fortification of 5% seems achievable. Despite evidence that yeast invertase and dry heat degrade inulin, the extent to which this is the case and whether the prebiotics maintain their activity is not known.
There is still a great deal of work to be done to establish whether a bread prepared with enough inulin to retain a significant activity can be manufactured without compromising consumer acceptance.