A well-known correlation between diet and general health state of man makes it possible to rationally utilize nutritional and non-nutritional food ingredients. Food manufacturers enrich their products with bioactive compounds, among other things, with fructans (inulin and oligofructoses). Fructans are linear or branched polymers composed of ß-D-fructose units (joined by ß(2-1) and/or ß(2-6)-glycoside bonds) and of one glucose molecule that is usually at the end of the chain. Besides their many pro-health properties, the fructans are characterized by some useful technological properties such as: ability to form structure and to gelate, high water holding capacity, ability to replace fat or sugar, ability to impart cream texture/consistency to food products. Therefore, they may be utilized in many branches of food industry: dairying, confectionery and bakery, or fruit and vegetable processing. Commonly, the fructans are applied as thickening agents and stabilizers. It is possible to modify their viscosity and improve their rheological properties when using them in aqueous systems at low concentration levels. Owing to those properties, the fructans are utilized to make desserts, creams and coating glazes, as well as in the meat processing industry and the production of margarines. Beside their impact on the structure of food products, which has contributed to their use in the food production industry throughout the world, the fructans have one more significant quality, namely the ability to decrease the energy value of the ready-made food product. As an effective fat & sugar replacing food component, the fructans are a promising food ingredient appearing helpful in controlling the body weight.
functional food, fructans, inulin, oligosaccharides