For many years physicians have sought to replace the starch in the diet of diabetics by some other carbohydrate which is well tolerated by the organism and which can be eaten in sufficiently large amounts without discomfort. Prominent among these substitutes for starch stands inulin, a carbohydrate closely resembling starch in its physical properties.1 Like starch it exists in the underground parts of many plants, as a reserve carbohydrate, but, unlike starch, it is a polysaccharid of levulose, the isomer of dextrose, which is the sugar yielded by starch on hydrolysis. Inulin occurs in the roots of many of the Compositæ, particularly in the tubers of the dahlia, the artichoke, elecampane, and other similar plants. Of these vegetables, the artichoke is the best known as an article of diet, and is most frequently recommended for diabetics.
Inulin is readily hydrolyzed to levulose by dilute acids, and inasmuch as this sugar
LEWIS HB. THE VALUE OF INULIN AS A FOODSTUFF. JAMA. 1912;LVIII(16):1176-1177. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04260040192004