Introduction

Over the last two decades, inulin-type fructans have become a topic of much interest for both the food industry and for researchers. A series of reviews and book chapters have already been published, and four specific international congresses plus a series of symposia have been organized to discuss the chemistry, technological properties, physiological effects, and nutritional benefits of these natural ingredients individually or as part of the prebiotic concept.1-16 At the end of this book in which all data available (until early 2004) on the nutritional properties of inulin-type fructans have been reviewed and evaluated, the general discussion will concentrate on three aspects:

1. Inulin-type fructans and the functional food concept

2. Inulin-type fructans: health and well-being

3. Inulin-type fructans and specific food applications

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