The food industry is constantly shifting focus based on prebiotics as health-promoting
substrates rather than just food supplements. A prebiotic is “a selectively fermented ingredient that
allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora
that confers benefits upon host well-being and health.” Prebiotics exert a plethora of health-promoting
effects, which has lead to the establishment of multimillion food and pharma industries. The following
are the health benefits attributed to prebiotics: mineral absorption, better immune response,
increased resistance to bacterial infection, improved lipid metabolism, possible protection against
cancer, relief from poor digestion of lactose, and reduction in the risk of diseases such as intestinal
disease, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, obesity and allergy. Numerous studies in both animals
and humans have demonstrated the health benefits of prebiotics.
Keywords: Prebiotics, sweeteners, dietary fiber, sugar substitutes, oligosaccharides, probiotics, lipid metabolism, immunity,
cancer, diabetes, allergy, gastrointestinal tract.
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