FOS – Fructooligosaccharides

FOS – Fructooligosaccharides

icon icon

What is FOS (Fructooligosaccharides)?

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are a type of carbohydrate that are typically classified as fibre. FOS are considered prebiotics as they serve as food for the “good” bacteria that resides in the human gut.1

There are three types of FOS, each of which are structurally distinct, but have the same health benefits: inulin, oligofructose, and sc-FOS (short chain FOS). You may find these terms on the ingredient lists of product labels.

Benefits of FOS (Fructooligosaccharides)

icon icon

Helps growth of “good” bacteria in the colon1

icon icon

Reduces some digestive issues1,3

icon icon

Does not raise blood sugar2

icon icon

Improves blood cholesterol levels1

FOS selectively stimulates the growth and activity of “good” bacteria in the gut, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. As a side product of FOS digestion, “good” bacteria release beneficial substances in the host (e.g., SCFA short chain fatty acids), supporting better immunity and metabolism, reducing inflammation, and even enhancing brain function!

It has been shown that FOS reduces digestive issues, such as constipation or diarrhoea. It may also help with managing intestinal inflammation.3

FOS may be especially important for people with type 2 diabetes mellitus, who are trying to manage their weight and keep diabetes under control2. Unlike most carbohydrates, i.e., sugars and starches, FOS is not digested in the small intestine, so it does not increase blood sugar levels. On the contrary, FOS reduces glucose peaks in the blood that occurs after eating.

FOS dissolves in gut fluids forming a gel-like substance that slows digestion, increases perceived satiety, and regulates appetite. These effects make FOS a desirable ingredient in a well-planned, healthy diet1.

FOS consumption improves lipid metabolism. Cholesterol and triglycerides may contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls (atherosclerosis). FOS reduces the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream, aiding in the prevention of atherosclerosis and heart disease1

icon icon

Recommended Intake of FOS (Fructooligosaccharides) 4

For adults, multiple studies suggest that the addition of FOS is safe and beneficial for use in foods, in general, at levels up to 20 g/day.4

For young children, it is beneficial to consume 4.2g/day of FOS to support their gut health. 4

Sources of FOS (Fructooligosaccharides) 

FOS naturally occurs in a variety of fruit and vegetables. They are also often found in milk formula, as well as paediatric and adult oral nutritional supplements to help maintain a healthy digestive system.

article article

Importance of FOS (Fructooligosaccharides) 

FOS selectively feeds only the good bacteria in the large intestine, helping to support the gut health. A healthier gut not only aids in effective digestion, but is also linked to stronger immune system, heart and brain health, potential prevention of some cancers and autoimmune diseases.5

Did You Know?

In Adult food, FOS is commonly added as a sweetener to improve the taste . As it has a low glycemic index (GI) , it reduces the GI of any consumed food or drink.6

Adding FOS to children milk formula helps to increase the counts of beneficial bacteria (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium) in the gut. 


Sabater-Molina M et al. J Physiol Biochem. 2009 Sep;65(3):315-28. 
Post RE et al. J Am Board Fam Med. 2012 Jan-Feb;25(1):16-23.
Pituch-Zdanowska A et al. Prz Gastroenterol. 2015;10(3):135-41.
GRAS Notification for Fructooligosaccharides. 2016, 2022
Slavin J. Nutrients. 2013 Apr 22;5(4):1417-35. 
Respondek F et al. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;68(5):575-80.

SG.2022.33234.AND -PND.1 (v1.1)

Discover more nutrients

Discover Our Products

Related Articles