The fact that fiber aids in digestive health, heart health, and regulates blood sugar levels, to say nothing of potential benefits for weight control are becoming increasingly well known in the general public. In addition, these benefits are extremely well supported by scientific research, at least by the standards of nutrition science. There are many reasons for this, none of which I will explore here.
While Americans are finally increasing their much needed and long deficient fiber intake, there is a potential downside, and it helps to be well aware of it. That is what this post is about. Kind of like a public service announcement. If you are playing with fiber, without knowing what you are doing, you risk all kinds of problems you didn’t bargain for, from nutrient deficiencies to social stigma.
The reason for this is that not all “fiber” is created equal. In addition to quantity of dietary fiber intake, the quality of it matters a great deal. I’m not only talking about the crucial difference between soluble and insoluble fiber, but also the specific kind of fiber. As the thrust of this post is practical in nature, I don’t want it to devolve into a lecture on metabolic biochemistry, so we will stay clear of a discussion of saccharide polymers and the like.
The bottom line is that things are – as usual – more complicated than they seem.
Here is the take home message: Just because you cannot digest a particular kind of fiber does not necessarily mean that the bacteria in your gut can’t.
On the contrary.
There is no point to single out any one “bad” fiber, but one of them has recently become much more common than it used to be. Since the notion that fibers are good for you is becoming common sense, more and more foods tout their high fiber content. Predictably, the food industry is meeting this demand by simply adding fiber to processed foods. These days, this typically takes the form of Inulin, which is most commonly derived from chicory root extract. Worst offenders – at this point – are some popular “diet” bars, such as those by “Fiber One”, “Kashi” and “Kellog’s Fiber Plus”. As usual, it helps to read nutrition labels. The ingredients are listed in order of decreasing weight per serving.
There is nothing inherently wrong with chicory root or Inulin. As a prebiotic, it has quite a few documented health benefits. However, most people can tolerate it only in small quantities, even if they tolerate other kinds of fiber quite well. The reason for this is that Inulin provides a veritable feast for certain types of gut flora. Many people don’t have a well balanced gut flora to begin with. In the age of antibiotics, dysbiosis is common.
Feeding the wrong kind of bacteria can cause serious (no really, serious) amounts of gastro-intestinal upset, gas, explosive diarrhea and discomfort. This is obviously not good for nutrient absorption, either.
The actions of gut bacteria can have a profound effect on all bodily systems. What kind of effect that is depends on the kinds of bacteria you have in your gut as well as what you feed them.
In the spirit of keeping this practical, I will spare you links to the scientific literature on the topic and rather provide a connection to the best writeup of vox populi on this subject.
I strongly encourage you to read this. The comments are of particular interest.
As a psychologist, I cannot fail to notice that this topic seems to provoke a great deal of levity. This is quite curious, as I am not aware of any research on the issue.
Of course, few things are intrinsically good or bad. Valence usually depends on what one is trying to achieve. For instance, these can be quite effective for weight loss (given the double-whammy of low caloric content and likelihood of diarrhea), relieve constipation, make great gifts for bad neighbors and safely enrich the intestinal biome when introduced gradually and in small quantities. Perhaps, they could even be used to strengthen primal social bonds – one could imagine some kind of social gathering where all participants are required to consume large amounts of Inulin containing food.
In conclusion, there is such a thing as ingesting too much fiber. And – as always – it matters to know what one is doing. This is a responsibility that cannot be outsourced to agencies with a divergent incentive structure.
Update: When I wrote this, I would never have anticipated that it would turn out to be one of my most popular posts. I’ve also learned a lot from the comments. So if you had a lot of gas lately, particularly after starting to ingest Inulin, please do share you story below. It might be helpful to someone else.
PS: I understand that this may sound pretty outlandish to those outside the trade. I suggest you buy a box of the diet bars with chicory root extract as the primary ingredient (Fiber one will do), eat it, then relate the experience in the comments below.
Note: As pointed out above, there is plenty of evidence that the ingestion of fiber has positive health effects, including a reduction of all cause mortality. The message of this post is not that fiber is bad for you. Far from it. The message is that the source matters, as also pointed out in the research paper in the previous link. I personally make sure to eat at least 40 grams of fiber per day. However, I would like to emphasize that nutrition science is full of irreducible correlations. In other words, high fiber intake might just be a proxy for a certain kind of dietary style. If you eat something, you are less likely to eat something else. Hard to control for that, particularly in a questionnaire study. If you *do* want to increase fiber intake, most people have great results with Psyllium husks. 10 grams a day of that take care of most exhaust that is of a swampy/muddy consistency and generally allow to achieve – given adequate water supply – a consistent 4 on the Bristol stool scale. They do make a quite noticeable difference in achieving smooth outcomes (literally), to be sure. Don’t overdo that either, though. It tends to turn the whole thing into sort of a paste and can probably clog things up quite a bit. Everything in moderation and caveat lector.
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I would like to also add Clif bars to worst offendors!!! I have never had such violent gas as I have when I was eating Clif bars and they have chicory root in them! Thank you for the informational piece.
Yes! I agree! Clif Protein Builder bars. Delicious, but not good if you’re sensitive to inulin.
Oh my, I ate 4 Luna bars thinking I needed MORE fiber!? Never again, they had chicory root and inulin. Should have known better, the Kashi cereal about killed me 2 months ago. Looking pregnant when I am not and the pain, so not worth it:(
I’ve eaten tons of fiber heavy foods but only one gives me unending excplosive gas, Quaker Simply granola cereal!! when i read the ingredients i saw inulin and wondered, which brought me here.thnx for the info. too bad tough cuz i really liked that cereal.
Same problem with Quaker Simply Granola cereal brought me here. Really bad. They should have a warning on the label.
Agree on the Quaker Simply Granola – gas is awful I hate to throw away two big bags but it has to go.
Same. I googled “Quaker simply granola gas” and found this. I looked at the ingredients and sure enough, straight up “inulin” is in there. I ate 2 bowls of cereal today and that’s it (was too busy for lunch) and my tummy started feeling soooooooo bloated and bumping this evening. Never eating that cereal again!
Thanks for this brief but informative piece. I started taking a gummy vitamin with Inulin Fiber approximately 3-4 weeks ago. Since then I’ve had increasingly worsening gas, not attractive when you are also in the psychology field trying to work with clients and their families. As I thought it through, I realized the times when I had the fewest (or no) problems has been when I’ve been away from home and did not take the vitamins with me. I am going to stop taking them for a few weeks and see if this is indeed the culprit as I’m not about to stop eating salads and other healthy, fibrous foods I’m accustomed to!
Thanks. How is that working out?
I’m trying to figure out whether my increased reliance on sugar substitute stevia (with inulin fiber) is the culprit in my recent bloating & gas-fests. I’ll be cutting it out for now, to test this theory. Thanks for your chuckle-inducing, informative article.
Yes. It’s the insulin! I can’t tolerate stevia with inulin, it’s what brought me to this page actually … Stevia without additives is great, try Now Better stevia, its really good….:)
Ps they have it at iherb, you can use my coupon if it’s your first time ordering…it’s EGA347, if you want, it saves a few dollars and I get some rewards from it. …I did not post this comment to tell you about iherb! Lol. Just adding that in case it’s something you would use. Good luck…!
So I was right, packets of Stevia have additives and liquid does not? I went back to drinking the only tea I like, chia, and again, horrid gas. So went looking at ingredients, the first search was chicory, and found this site. Lots of good info! Thanks all =)
I was wondering what the culprit was. I just bought a box of Fiber One bars. Worst gas in a long time. I didn’t know some many other items had inulin in them.
I went to my doctor yesterday because of my unending “rumbly-tumbly” as the Brits say. Extreeeeme gas pain, diarrhea bloating, and you know the story.
He thought it could be a lactose problem, or some type of intestinal infection, and ordered up huge battery of tests for me $$$. I haven’t done the tests yet.
I got to thinking about the lactose thing, and decided to check if my new craze food, Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bar had any milk products. No, but the 4th ingredient is Chicory Root Extract, which I Googled and here I am. Thank god I know what to do now. (Put these bars out in our break room at work with a “FREE” sign, or give them out to trick or treaters. This latter is a good idea, actually. They get both a trick and a treat! I just wonder if I will get arrested, tho)
I had the exact same experience with the Nature Valley protein bars… and just wanted to say that placing them in the break room with the “for free” sign is an excellent idea. This gave a quite a chuckle and I am sure that this will be the best advertisement that Nature Valley could wish for 🙂
Uh, I’m British, over 40, and I have never heard “rumbly tumbly”…
That would be a Winnie the Pooh thing.
And since Winnie the Poo was created in Winnepeg, Canada, that would be British-like. Canada still has Queen Elizabeth’s face on their money.
Thank God for this post – I have had a week of issues and have been keeping a food diary to track it. I suspected the Nature Valley Protein bars but thought since they were gluten free, they weren’t the suspect. Then today, it is all I have eaten and lo and behold the horrors are back – culprit, 3rd on the ingredient list, Chicory Root Extract!
Nature Valley Protein bars brought me here too. I wondered why I have gas. I mean I eat whole foods only and the amount of fiber I get is around 40 to 50 grams a dat and my digestive system is very normal. Except I rarely have gas this bad, might fart once in awhile but its been non-stop for 12 hours.
When the fiber ones first started hitting the stores, my mom started buying them. I ate one 3 or 4 days in a week for the past 3 years and each of those days I noticed that I was getting gas.
Based off my observation, I noticed that the onset of bowel sounds (gurggling, rumbling, discomfrot, ect) began 4 hours after ingestion of the bars. At around 6 hours after ingestion, I would have significant amount of gas/flatulence. My gas would cease after 2 hours after persisting intermittent flatulence.
For example, I would eat a fiber one bar at 10am and anticipate having rumbling in the stomach by 2:00pm; by 4:00pm I would be farting for the next 2 to 3 hours. This really sucked. Knowing I needed to get my fiber intake in, I continued anyways, and I had to eat the fiber bars around my class schedule so that gas would not coincide during school. I tried eating before bedtime…Big mistake…couldnt sleep, my abdomen hurt so much during the middle of the night, had to walk around to pass the gas…
But anyways, enough about my experience with Fiber One Bars… Heres the punch line… What I do now to meet my fiber demands is, I eat WHEAT BRAN on my yogurt or in my pancakes, or in my cereal. I also eat LENTLE in sloppy joes or soups or sometimes by itself. These ingredients are HIGH in fiber… They are like pure fiber…I dont get any gas with these types of fiber sources…also my bowel movements are regular, formed, and easy to pass. Unlike eating FIBER ONE BARS…I actually felt more constipated… and had inconsisten bowel movemnets which was the primary reason are started become more in tune to my GI tract. I realized FIBER ONE BARS or any bars with Chicory ROOT . #1 Gave me Huge amounts of gas and discomfort, and #2 Didn’t do a damn thing for my bowel movements.
My final observation I would like to share is…My dad usually has gas, especially when eating beans…however he only notes minimal amounts of gas when eating FIBER ONE BARS. Same observation occurs with my mom. This suggests, some people are just SENSITIVE to some forms of fiber.
The CONCLUSION, Everyone responds to food uniquely, Chicory Root as a source of fiber has a history of causing significant gas in some people, (and in my case, lack of bowel regulation/causing constipation). IF this does not happen to you…lucky you! Enjoy your Chicory Root Bars (dont forget to eat other sources of fiber though; just to be safe). 🙂
Joshua, I so appreciate and relate to the timeframes you gave regarding the onset and duration of the gas attacks. When I started Weight Watchers 4 1/2 years ago, I looked for a substitute for my favorite Zaro’s chocolate muffin (which was just too caloric) and found Vitalicious Vitatops (muffin tops which are high in fiber; you guessed it – Inulin). It’s in all the Weight Watchers prepared foods, too. Since then, I have experienced exactly what you’re describing in the same timeframes, minus the constipation. I am starting to feel like a social outcast and my doctor was going to test me for all sorts of food intolerances. I see now I will have to find a substitute for these great-tasting muffins. Thanks to all of you for publicizing your experiences.
I recently had a “Lilly’s” chocolate bar sweetened with stevia…and powered by inulin. The inulin was noted nowhere on the packaging other than the very very tiny print of “ingredients” and it hadn’t occurred to me that someone would spike a dark chocolate bar with FIBER. Jesus. Chocolate is already a laxative. I actually had to leave my own office one day to get away from the stank! I eat a high fiber diet, but apparently the big dose of inulin plus chocolate is a bit much even for me.
I was eating 1/3 of a bar, less than one serving, after dinner. I woke up with stomach cramps and gas in the middle of the night. I didn’t connect it to the candy bar as I was sleeping. At work the next day, particularly in the morning, things got unbearable. Thank god I do not share an office. Gas-ex had almost no effect on the effects. I could have been fired. After day 3, and the end of the bar, I found it took about 3 days for the gas and discomfort to subside.
It was a delicious candy bar though…
Oh dear. After not eating sugar for two months I indulged in the ol’ Russell Stover sugar free chocolate turtles-for diabetics plan to take the edge off my pms which ultimately unleashed a worse set of symptoms….bloating, forest-killing butt fumes, cramps and achy consti-rhea explosions in addition to Pms irritability and discomfort. Needless to say, I learned the hard way that sugar alcohols are as bad for your gut as Olestra. Today, in Effort to alleviate my noted Pms I once again ventured off in search of a more friendly sugar free chocolate and harvested myself some Lilly’s. Also quite delicious, not to mention gluten free even though the bar was chock full of rice crispy bits (usually those contain malt)…this chocolate was heaven sent. my taste buds thanked me and my mood soared. But guess what? Half a bar and two hours later my butt has yet again taken on a personal attack against all things living with its gaseous warfare. Ugh.
Maybe you’re lucky your problem is spread over days. I get it all at once and have a bathroom explosion. Ouch!
I bought my first box of Kroger high fiber bars (store brand of Fiber One bars) and after eating one for breakfast two days in a row, I realized they were giving me serious gas. That’s when I looked at the ingredients and saw chicory root as the #1 ingredient, and here I am. No pain or other GI symptoms, just very gassy! Not fun. I’m going to eat them in the evenings from now on and see what happens.
“So Delicious” coconut milk ice cream unfortunately contains this! I was so happy to have found a tasty dairy free ice cream option, but just realized why I’d get so gassy for hours after consuming it. It contains chicory root! Not worth it
It took me about six months and several boxes to figure out the same thing was happening to me from eating Kashi cookies. Intestinal discomfort and gas, and by a process of elimination (unintentional pun…) figured out the chicory root extract had to be the problem. “Seven whole grains on a mission” would be so much better without the dang chicory root extract. Surely this is costing them money… Isn’t there a substitute they could use instead??
Oh yeah! I figured out all the Fiber One product were virtually causing me to lift off from my office chair! Fortunately, I don’t have people pass through or by my office much! I also cannot open the window! LOL! WHEW!
INULIN! Sheeesh! For months, I couldn’t figure out why I was gassing the world. Got tired of the grandkids saying, “Eeeeww, who’s stinky? Must be Mimi!” Tried not eating this food, tried taking that supplement. Started getting worried! Came across an article about inulin (and FOS) quite by accident, went and looked on my big jar of morning Fiber/Protein chocolate drink and there it was: INULIN. Very next morning I didn’t use it and voila! NO GAS! Immediately! Next day, tried half a dose and guess what? Stinky Mimi. Never used it again, and just in time… the very next week I had planned a road trip with an old friend. Whew! Dodged a very embarrasing trip!!!
I knew of the risks of inulin based on past experiences with Fiber One bars, but never made it a point to double check other foods. Now, I am lactose intolerant so I know what excess methane in the digestive tract is like, but I could have sworn I was having morning sickness the last few days. I had successfully had ice cream for about a week before bed time when I ran out and switched to some leftover Skinny Cow ice cream bars. Last two days I had awful mornings with digestive issues. I finally read the ingredient label for the ice cream sandwiches, and there was the culprit of my problems, inulin! Beware of any food that advertises as having less of anything or more fiber, I have learned my lesson!
I cannot eat Fiber One products either! Terrible bloating, gas and tummy pain. So I haven’t eaten them in quite some time. However, I had some Naked Pizza last night and had the same problem later in the evening and this morning. Sure enough, they use inulin in their dough! I doubt I’ll be ordering their pizza again.
Was at the supermarket and saw the Fiber One brownies on sale for $10 for 3 boxes.
I bought 3. Within the span of 3 days, I had consumed 13 brownies. BIG mistake.
After the first day, I had stomach discomfort and bloating. I didn’t think it was the brownies. I kept eating the bars, and by the end of the 3rd day, the bloating got worse, more stomach cramps and got really bad diarrhea. I was on the toilet almost every hour! Took 3 days until the diarrhea started to get better.
I know it was the Fiber One because last year I had purchased a box and got the runs after eating only 2 bars. At the time I thought I had eaten something bad, but now after my most recent experience, I know it was those damn Fiber One stuff.
I did a Google search and saw so many posts from people experiencing the same symptoms. I couldn’t believe how many people were having problems with these bars.
I can take all kinds of fiber (and a lot) without any problem (whole wheat bread, noodles, etc), but Fiber One brownies will mess me up real bad.
Fiber One, NEVER again!
If I had 5 hands, I’d give that stuff 5 thumbs down.
So glad I stumbled across this information. I was having lots of gas from Cliff Bars, and South Beach Diet Meal Bars. Yep. Inulin. For a year now I’ve been wondering if I was lactose or gluten intolerant and I’ve tried switching/eliminating different foods. but this definitely sounds like the culprit.
I started a Jenny Craig diet and after the first 2 weeks I experienced serious discomfort from their meals. I really didn’t want to throw in the towel, so I did some Internet research. I found out that Inulin was the culprit. The Jenny Craig counselors were able to single out all the products they have containing Inulin and I have been able to avoid them. The difference is night and day! I too am amazed at all the products out there that contain Inulin (also listed as Chicory Root). So many of the Jenny Craig deserts contain it too. I can see adding this to entrees, but why add it to deserts? Is there anyone out there who is seriously LOOKING for fibre in their deserts? We all know that deserts are a luxury item for dieters. Why make them even more out of reach by adding these pain inducing fibre products?
My ribs actually hurt from amount of gas that built up in my stomach from these Duane Reade fiber bars. Ouch!!
For a hilarious rant on Fiber One bars, go to Amazon and read the comments. One woman realized what was up and then—I kid you not–dumped the box in the breakroom at work as a set up for fellow employees. She wrote something like, “I left them in the breakroom at noon and it’s almost 2:00” in anticipation of seeing shy employees leap for the bathroom, and less delicate ones hoping no one will hear when the winds roar. Don’t buy anything that shouts “High Fiber!” in a product like cottage cheese–it’s always inulin. And please write to manufacturers and complain. It is pathetic that lactose-intolerant people like me (who already cope with the socially unacceptable consequences of consuming dairy) have to pass up non-dairy foods because some schmuck decided to spike them with inulin.
Inulin is evil! Five years ago I was eating Fiber One bars daily and going to Weight Watcher’s where almost all of their food contains some Inulin. I found that it caused me to immediately vomit and have explosive diarrhea so I avoided it. However, when we traveled to Germany I thought that I was eating a safe yogurt at our Marriott hotel (being in Europe) and found out after I ate the yogurt that it had Inulin. I was sick for most of the rest of the trip. I ended up with severe IBS. It was my allergist who put it all together when I was my most ill; I told her I was allergic to Inulin and she immediately put me on a Low Fodmap diet. The diet (and avoiding all Inulin) has been amazing. I’m almost back to normal and only eat whole, fresh foods now that have no added fiber. If I need fiber, I eat pumpkin seeds.
OMG – the pain that I had in my stomach were horrific! I was not “sure” if it was from the Fiber One bars, so I googled chicory root and as I suspected, it was the culprit. I was doubled over in pain. Much gas, but really much more pain. I have similar problem when eating yogurt… but this was worse and lasted a very long time…
Thank goodness I found this article & all the comments!
I’ve been drinking Crystal Light ‘fibre’ & thought all my gas was from iron iv.
No issues today after iron infusion, but I didn’t drink my ‘fibre’ Crystal Light. I’m not even going to try that drink again. I know it is the problem.
The Senior Citizens & babies in the neighbourhood can once again rest easy. There will be no noxious fumes eminating from my rear thanks to inulin.
Ps.. Paint Peeler is an understatement!
You people are amateurs. If you want an epic combination of naturally occuring inulin and the old gas producing standby of legumes, get yourself some hummus and slice up some raw Jerusalem artichoke to eat it with. The Jerusalem artichoke is crunchy and slightly sweet. Ithas tons of inulin and makes a delicious combination with the hummus. Your intenstinal flora will be so happy you will cry. Make sure your calendar is clear for the next 8 hours or so.
Here’s another one to look out for. For those trying to quit caffeine, beware Teeccino caffeine-free herbal coffee. Because it has 650 mg of chickory root in each cup, the label states it contains three times the daily recommended amount. Wow! Although this is a natural source, not commercially produced, I am having gastric distress almost immediately upon starting my first cup. It may be partly because I have continued to use my psyllium husk fiber also. The website states if you have distress to take a good probiotic and slowly work your way to a stronger brew. I will try that and eliminating the fiber for now to see if I have any relief.
I’m having the same issue but it’s with these new “organic” bars such as Kind and Luna. I did a comparison of botha nd the only things that are common between them is this ‘Chicory root fiber’ and ‘Vegetable glycerine’… i’m assuming it’s the inulin that’s the cause. Although my main problem was just really bad gas (like i had to walk away for a few minutes), I don’t understand why these companies don’t produce products with an alternative to inulin?
Wow…, I am quite relieved to know that I not dying from ebola or being poisoned by the beechy barista that makes my coffee in the morning. I seriously thought that is what happened to me, as I was completely fine earlier.
I am not quite sure what possessed me to eat an entire box(-1 that I gave to my daughter,oops) of generic oatmeal and chocolate chip fiber bars, but I can promise you it will never happen again. We are low on groceries, and I sometimes forget to eat when I am busy so I stopped at the local save a lot and picked up some bananas and these bars to hold us over for snacks until I did major shopping tomorrow when I get paid. I had a bunch of errands to run all day, and wound up making those bars my meals all day. Let me just say I NEVER have diarrhea. I can count on 1 hand how many times in my adult life I have ever had this problem..I suffer from the opposite actually quite frequently. About 6:30 this evening I was at the farm store(HUGE store) picking up bird seed since I was all excited it felt like spring, when all of a sudden I had the worst pain in my upper rib cage…I thought maybe I was having a heart attack…I am 30 yrs old and in pretty good shape, so I talked myself of that idea. Pretty soon the pain started spreading all over my abdomen…all of a sudden …AND I SWEAR TO THE HOLY MOON ABOVE, a 45 second long “air horn” was let out of my behind. I thought how in the hell is that even possible….to have that much air inside me, I should have completely deflated. You cant make this stuff up. Writing this is reminding me of reading those gummy bear reviews on Amazon, but I swear to you this is real and much worse. I got home as fast as I could thanking the lord, and apologizing to everyone on the way out of the store. Ran to the bathroom, and felt as if bombs were exploding out of my behind…It started off as semi formed poo, but by the time it(the first toilet session) was over, it was pure water with little bits of brown shreds. How can that much air possibly reside in one 125 lb person?
After I could sit up straight again, I went to the trash to look for that box…sure enough the very first ingredient was chicory root…which led me to google, and to this article.
Two things I am taking away from this…One, I will never again eat a whole box of fiber bars again. Two, if I need assistance going to the bathroom again, I WILL buy a box of these bars…not only did they work really quickly, they only cost $1.99 a box. Thats a heck of a lot cheaper then Miralx and it worked much quicker.
This is the funniest comment I have ever came across. I was literally crying/laughing while reading this. I had almost the same experience with some krisda chocolate chip… seriously funny stuff you wrote right there. Thank you some much, you made my day.
I bought the Krisda Chocolate chips 2 weeks ago. I was putting a handful in a bowl and eating them as a snack each night (probably4 nights in a row). Every day after, I had the worst gas pain, horrible cramps, and looked pregnant. It was awful, but my period was coming so I just thought maybe it was related to that. A week goes by, and today I grabbed a handful of the chocolate chips. Well, I am experiencing the same symptoms, which led me to Googling, which led me to this article. No more chocolate chips for me!
Inulin should be banned from food and supplement additives. I am convinced even a little bit (regardless of one’s intestinal friendly/unfriendly balance) causes HORRIFIC, and I mean HORRIFIC as in you want to run away from yourself but can’t GAS. I bought an almond based yogurt from Whole Foods the other day and was banished to solitary confinement because upon discovery, it contained chicory root extract (inulin) which gave it 9g of fiber in a 6 oz container. PLEASE leave the fiber to the consumer to manage. We can figure it out by now. ALSO – I just discovered one of my favorite supplement line from Doctor Wilson, author of ADRENAL FATIGUE & THE 21st Century Stress Syndrome, HIS entire supplement line contains INULIN. UGH. The one supplement line by the foremost author and coiner of the phrase ADRENAL FATIGUE, has added this to the supplement line. I now begin my hunt to find a new line without this #%@#~! unnecessary additive. #pissedandgassy
Same here! Ordered the Simply Bar, 2 boxes. 9g of fiber (chickory root fiber-Inulin) in each bar. Since I’m gluten free and trying to go low-sugar, I thought these were ideal. Only 1g of sugar and 15g of protein. Oh well…
Thank you so much for writing this piece. I also found it after searching for inulin after being able to connect it to gastrointestinal distress I was having. I have intolerances to many of the fake sugars, etc. The fake sugars are the cause of the most severe bouts of gas and diarrhea I have with my I.B.S. As many others probably are as well, I’m generally able to manage my IBS by eating more or less fiber depending on the current state of affairs in my gut. A couple of weeks ago, I had a sweetened ‘French vanilla’ coffee from a coffee vending machine at work. I haven’t been able to get ahold of the ingredients list yet, but I’m sure that something funky in there was the culprit. Horrible gas and diarrhea for the better part of a week. This is how things are with me. Sometimes I’ll have between a half and one and a half days of issues because of a food, and other times the effects last longer, when a food will ‘open the flood gates’ so to speak. Anyhow, was finally doing better and had issues again this morning, linked it to the one food I ate yesterday that I don’t usually, which made making the connection easy. It was ‘Rudi’s’ gluten free cinnamon raisin bread, containing inulin.
I eat plenty of gluten in general, but started to eat gluten free for a few years around 2003 thinking I might have celiac disease. I later found out that I didn’t, but had such terrible IBS at the time that I figured I would try gluten free for a while. I thought it was ‘Rudi’s’ that I used to eat, so when I saw it at the small grocery near my house I decided to buy it. Ate it in the afternoon on Saturday and then troubles on Sunday morning. Ugh. At least it was Sunday and not Monday.
Thank you also to the poster who distinguished between stevia and stevia with inulin. Most likely I won’t be able to tolerate stevia even without inulin, but good to know.
I just bought two boxes of Kashi cereal two days ago because for once they were on sale and I’d always wanted to give them a try. Healthy, look tasty, people say they ARE tasty. So okay. Bought it, ate one small bowl. That night and the next entire day my intestines were churning and I did, ya know, not normal poop. So I didn’t think anything of it and ate another bowl the next day. Now I am still suffering from the pain of that cereal. I researched and found out that it was the chicory root extract-like you said, that causes bowel problems. I guess I got to throw out the cereal or something. Even though the cinnamon one tastes so good. Urgh.
If anyone wants to laugh along with other people who suffered from eating Kashi cereal, look up Kashi Go lean crunch-gas and go to pleasegodno.com. HILARIOUSSS.
You are ALL in violation of code34898 of the Earth preservation directorate, subsection 4.327 which prohibits the unnecessary release of methane gas or methane gas mixtures. You shall cease all unulin ingestion immediately or be subject to the flatulence surcharge which will be determined by the installation of gov’t approved equipment to monitor your personal release volumes of specified gases.
The equipment will be installed on your person at the site of the unlicensed gaseous release and you will be subject to all fees associated with the equipment cost, qualified professional installation and concentric storage of data associated with the infraction.
So that’s what the issue is. I started back on Atkins a little over 3 weeks ago and at first things went normally as planned. But then at the end of the 2 weeks I went through a week’s worth of diarrhea. I was exhausted from losing fluids and I wasn’t thirsty and my hunger was completely gone. I thought back to what did I eat to start this. I buy a good number of Atkins products and some of these never affected me before so I focused on any new items like the frozen dinners and bars. Lo and behold, I found a box of bars called Chocolate Caramel Mousse Bar that have Inulin in the ingredients. It takes only one bar to flush things out for days. I was about to quit Atkins but now that I know what it is I can get back to normal. At least I know what to eat if I ever need a colon cleanse. I guess Atkins was correct – eat everything fresh – no processed food.
Great thread! So true! Thanks for your stories, everyone!
There IS an alternative to inulin, and it’s fantastic. It’s called Sweet-It. It’s a soluble fiber that has a clean sweet taste and great texture. You can make ANYTHING with it. Cookies, brownies, protein bars, chocolate, syrups, sauces, smoothies, nut brittle, macaroons, crepes…well, you get the idea! http://www.mysweetsolution.com http://www.shop.mysweetit.com
After looking at all the reviews, I felt compelled to respond here. I want to say that Chicory is actually not that bad and in most cases, super duper beneficial!
First, you do realize that only people with chicory root fiber problems would be coming to this site through google search, and hence you see most comments being negative. This is a highly skewed observation.
I now have ZERO problem with chicory root fiber. But I started off with most people here with gas problems. Turns out that my body just had to adjust to this new kind of highly beneficial fiber. So I gradually increased my uptake from half a bar (Oorja Nutrition bars) for the first week and then going on to a full bar piece. Now I have no problem. Sure, I always feel full after eating one bar because of the high fiber content. But now that just helps me control my diet.
But like another poster said, we all react differently to chicory. Some of you may never be able to enjoy. Most of us can very well tolerate and absorb. And a few like me just had to get used to the prebiotic soluble fiber found in chicory.
Please do your research and try it out in small quantities first and then gradually increase instead of just reading all the negative reviews here. Once you make an informed conclusion you will have only yourself to thank.
You have posted THE ONLY sensible comment on this entire page.
While yes, it perhaps shouldn’t be the first ingredient in a so-called food product, in general, these farting and gas issues can’t be blamed on just ONE ingredient.
The Fiber One bars and Clif Bars are LOADED with different forms of sugar, and fructose and (sometimes) chocolate — all of which can cause diarrhea and bloating.
As you say, do your research before jumping to stupid and convenient conclusions.
Stupid? Excuse me the problems described are anything but stupid and can result in not absorbing nutrients properly. I have been eating Lily’s chocolate for years with no problem. I am 90 percent carnivore and have been feeling great for 3 years as I approach my 71st birthday. Just a few months ago I started having all the digestive issues mentioned and knew it was something with the Lily’s because if I stopped them everything went back to normal. But I enjoy chocolate and I was glad it was stevia sweetened. Who the hell puts this crap in a chocolate bar? It is unnecessary. I have complained to Lily’s. Will not be purchasing any more and have found some great if not better fudge recipes keto friendly without this garbage in it. I am thankful for these posts because I was beginning to think something serious was going on and I don’t believe we are a small percentage of the population. My bet is the use of it has increased because of some cost reduction. It’s never for our benefit.
Thank you for this article. I’ve been brewing it for a week and I have terrible gas pains. I love how it helps curb my appetite and don’t want to give it up but the gas pains are worse than labor pains. I will cut back and gradually work my way back up. Thank you so much!!
What is the difference between chicory root extract and chicory root? I noticed that some new fiber rich snacks have chicory root extract and I wondered what the difference is. Fiber One bars with chicory root as the 1st ingredient was SO bad for me. I was taking Levsin/SL from my doctor, and that helped quite a bit, but I developed an allergy to that and I had to stop taking it. Then I found you with a web search.
I first encountered extreme inulin-related gastrointestinal distress when eating “healthy” chocolate bars (Chocoperfection & Lily’s). A few herbal teas containing chicory (usually roasted) have also given me such bad gas and cramps that I’ve had to take a day off from work (various Celestial Seasonings & Tazo Decaf Chai, among others). I wish they would put a warning on these things.
I agree that there should be warning labels on these products!
I ate a Clif bar for lunch today, and I could barely make it through the end of my work day. I had such severe gas pains that it was doubling me over. I just wanted to die!
YESSSS. That’s it! Its inulin. I’m like a balloon right now. I bought CLIF bars AND Kroger brand Simple Truth Honey Almond Flax cereal two days ago and I’m miserable today. I’ve also noticed it in certain brands of stevia blends. NO MORE INULIN for this girl.
For the last months I’m having a lot of gas and digestive problems. I’m always constipated and the smell of the gases really make me believe that have something wrong with me. Also my belly is really bloating. Sou Celiac and lactose intolerant, so if I feel something weird I blame my allergy. But i’m not having products with gluten or lactose. Whatever I’m still feeling bad. So I stopped to think about what new I’m eating or what I’m eating more than before. And the answer: Quest Bars and So Delicious Ice Cream. Both I’m used to eat, but now I’m eating almost every day. And the something new is lily’s chocolates.
I take a look on the ingredients and inulin (so delicious ice cream) and dextrin is there.
I believe that this is the problem. I’ll stop one at time. To make a test. The sad thing is… all are supposedly “healthy”. I blame my over fiber ingestion.
Was having some stomach issues so tried to boost my probiotics in the foods I was eating to see if it would calm things down (mostly bloating, lack of appetite, heartburn, nothing “liquid”).
All was good and normal until I started drinking Helios Coconut Kefir a few days ago. I thought, “Kefir’s supposed to be good for you,” especially as this one touts 7 or 8 kinds of probiotic strains. I’m almost sure that it’s the Helios Kefir that has been gifting me with noxious gas shortly after consumption (I mean, awful) and I also now have the trots. (Thanks, Helios!). And yes, inulin is in this kefir.
People! Do not exaggerate, try raw butterfish waxes topped with great deal of polyols instead! I guarantee you would have fun with it.
This is so enlightening. I think this confirms my suspicion that inulin has been causing my somewhat regular diarrhea. I had already red-flagged it when I noticed queasiness after eating my gluten-free Van’s cereal (with inulin). Stopped eating that but began having almost daily diarrhea. Then discovered that my new calcium tablets, Citracal, contain Oligofructose Enriched Inulin which sounds even worse if you’re fructose intolerant. I was taking two tablets a day. Just stopped those as well and am hoping this resolves my problem–until I accidentally ingest something else with hidden inulin!
Tried a MOJO dark chocolate bar. Had same gassy headachy symptoms I have with KIND bars. For the first time I saw organic inulin on the ingredients label. Found your article. Just want to add that I can drink chickory tea without trouble, but still reap the benefits of a mild laxative. Also since inulin can be derived from other vegetable substances, and I as many others am intolerant of corn, perhaps that is the problem.
Oops confused Chickweed with Chicory in above comment. Chicory gives me cramps, not chickweed
I’m so glad I found this article online. I started having problems my junior year of highschool. Thinking it was normal, I pushed through. I remember asking my doctor about it and she said to just take beano. During my junior year of college I almost died (not literally. ..just gastrointestinally I guess) I had one of those awkwawkward high pitch sounds come out of my body during a silent class session one day in college, and I remember a girl sitting in front of me, she turned around and said “you must be REALLY hungry!” I played it off like i hadn’t eaten in awhile when in reality i had just inhaled a yogurt parfait with granola on my walk over to the class. I bet that stuff was laced with chickory root extract!!I lived with several people that were lactose intolerant, so I gave up dairy and took hundreds of lactaid pills to deal with gas. Thinking I’d found the cure, I went on with life and was embarrased to discover that despite not eating dairy I still had discomfort after eating certain foods. I took lactaid pills, and probiotics, and beano and mylanta but i still had issues.I decided to try giving up gluten..that was difficult and annoying especially when living with other people and having to have such a restricted diet. I felt like I should just live in a bubble.
My recent encounter and realization occured today I had a Nature Valley Protein Bar for breakfast probably around 9 AM. I started feeling really uncomfortable and bloaty around 1PM and by 2PM when I went to an event where I was required to sit I wanted to just curl up into a ball and die. The pain was so intense. I was bloated and gassy and I had those embarrasing grumbly noises. I excused myself several times “to blow my nose” “to use the bathroom” etc. And whatever excuses I could come up with. Whenever I feel horrible likeb this I get really bad anxiety about having to be around large groups of people or if I have to sit for extended periods of time. After the event about an hour later, I STUPIDLY missed out on eating a proper lunch and STUPIDLY resorted to those demon bars knows and Nature Valley blah blah. The gas fest was horrible. I started googling my symptoms and went over everything I ate today. Then I realized I had two of those so I read the box and what do you know. Still uncomfortable after hours of enduring the worst stomach cramps ever. I read some of the other comments and was disheartened to see that it may take time, like days, before I am normal again. Ugh. Almost embarrased to say that while in college it wasn’t abnormal to eat up to two clif bars a day. Oh and because of my so called lactose intolerance I started eating products from So Delicious. And I take gummy vitamins. The perfect storm to destroy my gi system and make me socially reclusive. Awesome. So I will NEVER touch another one of those horrible fiber/energy/health bars again! I will read labels. I will try to be smarter about what I eat. A simple elimination diet of everything that contains this crap should work. And I will make sure to pass on this article to all of my friends that have similar issues like mine. Thank you for posting!
Chicory root causes almost immediate 93-4 minutes) gastrointestinal distress for my digestive tract resulting horrible gas and bloating. I grow weary of the food industry jumping on the lastest fad with a voracity that cares nothing about prudent research. More in excess is rarely better. I have to diligently read all cereal, yogurt, food bar etc. labels to make sure I don’t bring any chicory root home with me. I had hoped Kashi and Clif bars would have higher standards that immediately jumping on the proverbial “band wagon”.
Agree!! I had 2 Kasha dark chocolate with sea salt granola bars Tuesday night. It is now Friday morning and I adjust now feeling and looking better. Huge, depressing bloating. Really looked 4-5 months pregnant and had so much gas. Really 48 hours worth of gas – not acceptable. Is it the inulin? I’m afraid to ever have any sort of granola bar again.
I bought organic sunchokes for the first time and prepared them by slicing them and adding olive oil, salt and pepper and cooking them in the oven until crispy. My husband and I loved them but at 3:00am I started sweating profusely and had gas and stomach cramps so bad that i had my husband call the Health Link. I took my temperature and it was normal but continued to sweat so bad, there was a little puddle on the floor by the toilet. I was literally glued to the toilet and could not move. I had nausea and was dizzy. After about one hour, and a bout of diarrehea, the sweating stopped and the cramps slowly subsided. My body then reacted by having severe chills. I managed to get more sleep after but at 8:00am my tummy was still a bit crampy. All that went away after I ate some cereal with almond beverage. I read that sunchokes are high in inulin. Obviously my body cannot tolerate it. My husband experienced some gas and bloating. We are never eating sunchokes again…
I just realized that the chicory root fiber in the Kashi Dark Almond granola bar gave me terrible pain today. I thought it was pain in my heart. It hurt to try to take a deep breath. I’ve had pain like this before but it has only lasted a few minutes. This pain lasted for 4 hours! Now I know to avoid this ingredient.
same thing happened to me. bought a probiotic from a well known vitamin company.
got so much gas and cramps that i thought i was gonna explode. guess what was in it?
you got it !– good old inulin. so check the labels.
I’ve been aware of the horrible side effects of chicory/inulin for some time and avoid it like the plague. Sometimes though I have been caught out when buying something without reading package labels. One big area to watch out for these days is in ‘Gluten Free’ products. In particular, Udi’s brand and Rudi’s brand breads. All Rudi’s breads contain inulin and some Udi’s. And sometimes a brand which previously was ‘safe’ will have inulin added without warning – then you find out the hard way! Just about anything which would normally be made with wheat & has been made ‘gluten free’ by substituting with starches (potato, corn, tapioca) could have inulin thrown in to provide the missing fiber. The double-whammy with these fake breads is that the powdered starch substitutes seem to also feed the bacteria which is already feasting on the inulin.
Lot of herb teas as someone mentioned – particularly ‘throat soothing’ teas which list chicory root.
Also agree with the timeframe someone gave – about 5-6 hours after ingestion, 2-4 hours duration and gradually abating after about 12 hours. Not fun if the source was in your evening meal!
Discovered my issue with Inulin a number of years ago trying Stonyfield yogurt. Caught onto this site while reading the ingredients list on my Nature Valley protein bar and saw chicory root extract listed as the 3rd ingredient. As we all know the higher up in the list the more there is in the food item. Did not know until today chicory root extract = inulin but now I fully understand the major stink I produced at work today after my morning bar. I must say I am very lucky as I do not experience the bloating or pain that I see others have. I am going to try my Kashi Go Lean Crunch tomorrow and hope for the best…. the chicory root is like ingredient #7. Thanks to everyone on this post for the major insight.
I discovered my sensitivity to inulin with fiber one bars many years ago. Since then I’ve been noticing it is being added to more and more foods. It naturally occurs in a lot of vegetables, too. I am so hyper sensitive, I can no longer eat onions artichokes, etc. it’s no fun. I have to avoid so many foods now! I had no idea it naturally occurred in so many things. Most people aren’t as sensitive as I am, but if you’re having a lot of indigestion and you’re not sure why, you might look up other foods that contain inulin naturally, not just what’s added on the label. You’ll be surprised! My lactose intolerance is nothing compared to inulin! At least I can take a lactase supplement and be okay with dairy 🙂 it took an elimination diet to discover the true culprit!
Great and Funny Gut wrench laughter while reading some of these posts…they were like the farting preacher-if you have not seen that on u-tube, I”ll bet he ate some or lots of inulin. This problem is really not funny though, it is painful, and debilitating! Our food sources in this country are obviously (which I do not have to tell anyone) are horrid. I personally do not like being a human guinea pig. Well my problem with inulin was discovered today, as I found your great page today! I have been Gluten and dairy free for going on 3 1/2 years. The main good thing about this has been losing weight, I was not even trying to do this, and slowly during this time, I lost 35 pounds, and now am at the weight on my drivers license. Today I just could not figure out why I was so so sick, with the weirdest bowel problems I have had during this experience.
I also recently printed out the fodmap diet, which inulin was on, in the not okay area. I have mostly stayed on Udi’s breads, or a local baker’s. This past week my son went to a different store that had Rudi’s multigrain bread, and I thought fine. I have been eating this for approximately one week, with a new loaf just opened, and a sandwich made today! (I am so mad). Well I finally read the label trying to find out why I have been so so sick! I see inulin on the label…well now it all makes sense-I will never buy this again obviously. Thank you so much for this great post, I now know about chicory root also. I do not understand these companies, why would they put a known additive in their bread, if it could cause any problem to the people buying these specialized products. By the way watch out for DGL licorice, and it’s sweetners-got very sick from those too, xylitol, manatol, sorbitol, ect. are not good for people who are taking these products also. Find one that uses real sugar, or there is one with no sugar, who cares what it tastes like! you are taking it to soothe your intestines.
Well enough of my garble, I hope my day is better tomorrow- and I again was laughing sooo hard at some of these posts…even though it is not funny, I thought I was going crazy-so thanks again!!! Cheri
I have bought “SO DELICIOUS” Almond milk frozen desert twice now. They should change the name to “SOOO INCREDIBLY SICK” This is like a lactose night mare times 10. I WILL NEVER, NEVER buy this again. This makes lactose intolerance seem easy. SAY NO, NO, NO to “INULIN or CHICORY ROOT PRODUCTS.
BAD, BAD stuff.
I was so excited to see Stonyfield’s came out with an organic protein drink. I drank it on the way to school on a day we were going out on a fieldtrip. I had such bad pains in my stomach and twice had to find the nearest bathroom. My stomach continued to gurgle and bother me for a day and a half. I actually liked the flavor and thought I found a new healthy breakfast item. I had nothing else that day so I have to assume that this is what did it. I just got one of the 3 I have left in my fridge, and it has organic inulin as 7th ingredient, and organic stevia as 9th. Could this amount have been the culprit. I’m afraid to try it again.
“The reason for this is that Inulin provides a venerable feast for certain types of gut flora.”
Venerable: Accorded a great deal of respect, especially because of age, wisdom, or character.
I think it is possible that you mean ‘veritable’, not ‘venerable.’
Add Oikos Net Zero Greek Yogurt to the list! I had a HUGE problem with this yogurt! Very painful cramping, gas, and diarrhea. Chicory root fiber is the 3rd ingredient! Had the same issue with Fiber One bars a few years ago. Luckily I figured it out a lot quicker this time around!!! Chicory root fiber should be banned as an additive!
I wish I had found this out earlier about the Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt. I had made a number of diet changes at the same time I started eating this yogurt so I though my excessive gas problem was a result of everything.
I stopped eating as I had been recently because we were moving and had a baby. I ate what was available. Well today I finally bought more of this yogurt and whoah the gas came back. It was the only thing I ate differently than everyone else in the house and I was the only one paying for it.
I have had the same reaction to dannon oikos triple zero Greek yogurt!!! Excessive, thunderous, gas so bad I almost went to ER. Never ever buy again!!
I had a Fiber One Choco-chip bar this morning. I have been achieving a zen-like state with consciousness about the basic functioning of my body starting about 2 hours post-ingestion. Oh my lord, I feeeeel clean. Here it comes again. Ooooooooooooooooooooom.
Trying to reduce my allergies by milk replacement, I thought I’d be safe with Woolworth’s “new & improved”oat milk. Ha! Gas has been the least of my problems with inulin. At least now I know the primary cause of the asthma and facial rash.
I’m in the same boat as several of you. Got hooked on fiber one bars a few years ago when I was doing weight watchers and had mad crazy gas and bloating. Walking around like there were fireworks going off in my gut. Finally figured out the chicory root extract was the culprit. Have avoided those and other products like kashi cereals like the plague since then.
Yesterday I went to the grocery store to get a box of Cascadian Farms granola. Love the stuff. But they were out. So I looked at the Quaker granola version and thought I’d give it a shot. Didn’t see anything on the label that jumped out at me. 12 hours later, after eating a bowl before bed and then again in the morning, my stomach is doing back flips and I’m bombing myself out of the house with stinky gas. Went back and looked at the box….you guessed it, inulin. Dang.
By the way, we’ve jokingly called fiber one bars “fart bars” since the weight watchers days. Anything with chicory root as the first ingredient is guaranteed to shred your insides. Beware!
I had diarrhea and serious gas issues before with various “low-carb” products – desserts and protein bars mostly – but had chalked it up to the sugar alcohols and started avoiding anything with maltitol or the like. However, in a bout of (non-clinical) depression recently I went through two boxes of Breyer’s CarbSmart fudge bars in a single evening, suffered no ill effects, and only afterward noted that the #2 ingredient is maltitol syrup and I had just consumed 60g of sugar alcohols.
A week later, suffering a similar funk but with the store out of CarbSmart bars, I tried Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom fudge bars instead, and spent most of the next day on the toilet. The whole box had only 48g of sugar alcohols (and I hadn’t even finished it), so I was confused, but after reading the ingredients for each I noted that the Sweet Freedom bars have inulin as the #3 ingredient (after skim milk and maltitol), while the CarbSmart bars don’t list it or chicory extract at all. I suspected that might be the difference, and Googling “inulin sensitivity” brought me here and confirmed my suspicions.
My sister and I had to travel a distance a few years back for Dr.’s appointments. We were on WW at the time and would snack on Fiber One Bars. The drive home was a suicide mission! We both would get the most horrible, noxious gas that was impossible to hold in. I researched and found it to be the inulin in the bars. HORRIBLE!
We eat only organic whole foods, nothing processed or packaged.
Today we had ‘Sun chokes’ or Jerusalem Artichokes steamed for lunch,
(along with other vegies that cause no issues for us).
Decided to try them after reading that they were high in Inulin and were
considered a ‘prebiotic’ which would help increase the good gut flora.
Well, the result is lots of gas, bloating and going to the toilet even though
we are used to eating fibre rich foods. Would it have anything to do with the issue
that most people have dysbiosis and our microflora are out of balance?
Thank-you for your informative article
Basically, yes. You feed gut bacteria with prebiotics like Inulin or FOS. But who knows what is in there and which kind of bacterial population is amplified?
inulin dev will cause some bloating, cramps, but have to work it up in your system. If it causes these side effects, its the #1 sign your body/system is out of wack, so its not the inulin/fiber, its your intestines that is the main problem. I suggest starting slow using fiber and inulin. IMO.
Also, what I do is take fish oil supplement. The omega’s seem to really help the stomach and any side effects. I hope what I have shared helps others 🙂
So happy to find this great article and the hilarious comments! After thinking I had some serious gastric problems, I narrowed it down to the yogurt I had been eating every day over the past few weeks. Checked the label and sure enough second ingredient in was Chicory root fiber! Omg! So awful being at work, being that uncomfortable and not knowing why! Of course worrying making it even worse thinking I have something seriously wrong with my intestinal tract. Never again am I eating anything with this Chicory root fiber crap! I’m reading all labels from now on!
I’ve been experiencing HORRIBLE gas.. I started eating Oiko’s Triple Zero a few weeks ago. Started reading the label and saw it had “Chicory root”.. did some research on it and came across this article. I need to pay more attention to the ingredients on my food! Thanks for this article!
I has the same experience with Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt. I almost had to leave work early today. Horrible
I just bought the Oikos Triple Zero yogurt for the first time and after taking two bites I realized it had chicory root in it. Close call as I had horrible after effects with the Fiber One bars. Too bad that all four containers are going into the trash.
i would like to have a link so i can put this up on my timeline facebook page
i am researching jerusalem artichokes which grow well in nz climate and also chicoy root
I definitely agree – inulin in large amounts isn’t for everyone. It’s quite popular in Poland to add roasted chicory root to coffee in order to make it more healthy. Obviously it’s healthy for some people and for others it’s not. I wonder whether that inulin issue could be fighted with probiotics, and I guess probably yes.
There should seriously be warnings about products containing inulin/chicory root. I am sensitive to it and just one Fiber One bar will give me HORRIBLE gas, bloating and pain for hours. Last night on my way home from work I bought a box of Simply Nature organic Almond Cranberry Coconut Bars from Aldi. I ate one in the car on my way home. Several hours later I had SEVERE gas pains, bloating and horrible, deadly gas! My husband and daughter were appalled and alarmed by the stench. I didn’t know what it was from–until I read the box this morning. Even though it is not a high fiber product, sure enough, it has inulin in it, but it’s the 9th listed ingredient! I’m shocked I had such an extreme reaction to it. Off to the break room it goes!
My poor daughter has the same sensitivity, apparently. I remember a few years ago I sent the kids to day camp with Fiber One chocolate brownies. No issues for my son, but my daughter had terrible gas, gas pain and urgency for HOURS.
Rest assured, I will be a much more careful label reader going forward!
Oh my I became aware of this in KIND bars. But recently purchased VEGA ONE vegetable protein shake. My life and sleep have been so affected!!! TODAY i finally thought hmm go read the vega one bottle…. there it was- INULIN (chickory root)
SO. MUCH. GAS.
Good gracious, it seems like I’m violating the law of conservation of mass with all this flatulence!!! Surely there is more gaseous product than there ever was solid reactant here. @___@
Never again will I eat three Luna Bars in one day.
I, too, have discovered that inulin and chicory root fiber cause gas/cramping/bloating. Because of this, I am now scared of prebiotics in general! Are they all the same? Has anyone tried the prebiotic from tapioca? Does that cause gas, too? I’d like to try these new bars I found, but I am afraid of the outcome. :/ Any help is appreciated!
I have found 2 types of Fiber One Bars without Inulin. They are: Fiber One Streusel and Fiber One Blueberry. Any of the others have Inulin and cause me much distress!
I found this thread because I was wondering if chicory caused I crease in bowel movement frequenting. I started using Teeccino chicory herb coffee alternative to break my caffeine addiction ten days ago. So far it is working great and I am down to 25% caffeine,by my very unscientific calculations. None of the horrible drug withdrawal side effects. Until today. The weather turned and the chill in the air made me want a hot beverage so I drank a cup of Teeccino at 100% no caffeine. About twenty minutes later I had my second movement of the day and an hour or so later the third. Not diarrhea just extra sittings. This is not hugely unusual as I do have hypothyroidism, hence the quest to eliminate caffeine and restore my adrenal health, and I flip between over active and under active thyroid function. But, since this happened right after I drank Teeccino I decided to investigate before I scheduled a doctor visit. Yep! I also have a box of those nature valley protein bars that I ate twice this week and I have had increased gas and bloating. I have one more week to transition off caffeine a d I intend to continue with the coffee substitute until I am free. But, no more inulin. One more ingredient to screen out. Every day I get one grocery aisle. Loser to the raw diet.
Thank you! You have helped solve a mystery.
I have been trying to eat healthier and it has really done a number on my husband. The candles by our bed are not for romantic reasons. It never used to be this bad. I have been buying protein & fiber bars to give me a quick and filling, low-calorie, gluten-free snack. My husband likes them too. The main fiber is inulin. At least now I know that he doesn’t have a strange disease, it’s probably just a comedic (although somewhat abrasive) side effect of the “healthier” snacks we have around.
I’m so glad I found this site. I’ve been sitting, hunched over in pain, burping constantly, full of gas and wondering what I ate that would cause this! I’m dairy and gluten free, and try to eat carefully. The chicory root was in Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice tea that I had this afternoon! I had the tea a few other times and now realize that’s why I got such terrible stomach aches, gas and I even threw up a few days ago. I will watch like a hawk for that bad word “chicory” from now on!
I’ll share your blog, I really liked it.
I have been miserable for a month now and cannot figure out why I am eating gluten free pretzels and today after reading this I looked at the ingredient list – chicory root is an ingredient and I know that bothers me. But, I had eaten them in the past and they must have changed the formula. Done with those – so full of gas and miserable – it goes on for hours after eating anything with chicory root – it should be highlighted like allergens in the food list – I need to remember to always check labels – I thought I was getting sick or something serious with how much gas I was having and burping – it was getting embarrassing to say the least.
I took straight Inuin powder in my smoothies for a week. Have had the worst diarrhea in my life, no joke. I had a Lyme scare from a deer tick bite and took a 5 week script of antibiotics to knock it out of my system. Along with Probiotics, decides to add Inuin to my diet to help grow back healthy bacteria. Well….it may be working, but it also did a number on my bathroom activities. No pain or bloating, just not solid and often. Lesson learned!
Protein shake mixes are a huge offender! I can’t believe it took me this long to figure it out! Lots of chicory in Shakeology and Naturade Vegan Smart, both of which have been causing me major digestive issues.
Jenny Craig food has inulin. Had to quit or else lose friends!
Nature Valley Protein Chewy Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Bars have chicory root extract and I finally figured out that this was causing my excess gas. I love eating them but it’s not worth the bloating and gas.
I will preface this by saying that for several months, I ate very few processed foods. I decided to return to protein bars recently. I ate a “Millville Carb Conscious Elevation better for you bar” from Aldi yesterday, along with some dried apples, and had painful gas and loose stool within two hours, lasting about 5 hours. I blamed the dried apples, although I’ve never had a problem with apples before.
Today, I had an Elevation bar by itself. Within two hours, I had horrible gas, crampy abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Looked at the label and- viola! Inulin. I’m glad I now know!
My husband picked up a box of Focus Pure Indulgent bars from Costco. I am gluten free, and while this doesn’t say specifically it is gluten free, there are no wheat or gluten products listed in the ingredients. I was happily eating one each day after work, and not understanding why I was getting sicker and sicker, bloating, diarrhea. After 3 days, I had to visit the bathroom in the middle of the night. Turns out, Inulin is an ingredient very high in the ingredient list on one of the bars. Like the 3rd or 4th ingredient! No more snack bars for me!
Read the list of ingredients, especially if the product claims to have more than 3 grams of fiber per serving. Inulin is often used to enhance the total grams of fiber. Watch out for “chicory root” in the list too, because it’s the same thing.
I ate two Fiber One bars once and wasn’t prepared for the outcome.
I get pretty intense gas from chicory if I haven’t had it in a while. But only the first few times. Then I seem to build up a tolerance for it and the gas stops. The Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt has this in it. I hadn’t had a Fiber One bar in quite a while, so the Oikos yogurt started the cycle again the other night. Good thing I work from home.
Oh my goodness, yes! It must be inulin. I was eating Quest protein bars and developed the WORST smelling and frequent gas. I stopped and totally forgot about it and then purchased some tracy Anderson bars. Gas AGAIN! I researched both Quest and TA ingredients and noticed the common denominator- inulin.
The only brand I’ve been able to eat AND enjoy are Oh yeah bars.
Dang I loved the Quest bars. The first time I had one I thought, this is gross, and then kept eating it and then loved it. ?? I think it’s the whole fake food thing that keeps you wanting more. But they are HORRIBLE. HORRIBLE. So much pain, yeah horrid gas, but it wrecked my stomach. Took a week to get it ok again. “Soluble Corn Fiber” has to be the culprit. BOOOOO. Works the same as chicory/inulin, oligosaccharides, anything considered “prebiotic.” And then of course there are the maltitol types. EVIL.
Wanna make your kids unpopular at school? Send them with an Oikis triple zero Greek yogurt by Dannon! They have some wicked flavors but within minutes of consumption, you can blast the room like an air horn. FINALLy…we understand it is the chicory root/inulin. There should be a warning label on these
WARNING: May cause extreme flatulence – avoid people you like after consumption of this product.
Like many others- I’m psyched and relieved to find this chain. Celiac for 5 years and pretty much “recovered” in my mind I still eat gluten free. My wife bakes amazing gluten free bread but for those occasions when it runs out we had Rudis in the freezer. First their cinnamon bread and and then their sandwich bread resulted in major stomach and intestinal cramps. Having a hernia currently the gas is felt fairly quickly and acutely. I’m grateful to have identified the probable cause. Here’s the wiki link on inulin.
It’s clearly not all bad but for some of us a real problem to be avoided or at least approached with caution.
I’m sooo glad I found this article and the discussions! I have been eating Kind bars lately thinking I was snacking on something really healthy, and I guess they are, but Ive had the most horrible unexplained gas, occasional diarrhea and tummy rumbling noises! Looked at the ingredients thinking it was probably just all the nuts, and found chicory root extra, which I now know is inulin! I had a similar experience with Truvia and finally linked it to erythritol. So glad to know what’s going on now and what to avoid! Thank you!
Holy crap. I cannot believe these vile companies are putting this crappy( pun intended!) Ingredient in so-called ” healthy” products.
Insulin and chicory must cause problems in the majority of people because almost everyone I know gets horrible gas/ pain/ diarrhea from even one serving. I ate one Fiber One bar, and one Oikos yogurt on two occasions and both times I had so much bloating my chest hurt and I had ridiculous amounts of gas. Not normal gas, hot, evil gas that smelled rotten. Farted 50+ times over a few hours. Even my pets were alarmed. From one bar.
Prebiotic shmebiotic, that kind of discomfort can’t be good for anyone. Boycott any products that use chicory. The Greenhouse effect is real, peeps. We don’t need no stinkin prebiotics.
Cheerios and oatmeal in general, pumpkin seeds, and recently discovered, any Aldi low carb bars with coconut, all make me hate being around myself. I’m glad I’m not alone…
Oikos Triple Zero yogurt actually makes me so uncomfortable that I get light headed & nauseous. If I could pass gas maybe I could tolerate it but I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack, seriously. Chicory root is the first ingredient and within 4 hours I can be so ill I can hardly drive…lasts for over 24 hours!
So glad I researched and found out about Chicory root/Inulin. A few years ago I picked up some Fiber One bars. I didn’t bring lunch, so I ate two of them. I was teaching a class and within a few hours I had to dismiss them. I had miserable cramping and bloating. Fast forward to this week when I picked up some Belvita breakfast biscuits and some Costco knock-off Kind bars. The cinnamon sugar biscuits are dry but tasty, and the “Kind” bars gave me a chocolate fix. I was eating them for breakfast and a mid-morning snack. By late afternoon and evening, I was miserable! The cramping and gas were killing me, and the gas was so stinky my eyes watered. I wish I had a dog to blame it on! The worst part was in the car on the way home from work. There was no escaping the smell! I will have to air out the car as my son said it smells like “old lady farts” and I have to agree! I will get rid of these and be much more cognizant with these ingredients in any other food I buy.
Add Combat Crunch to the list!!
I have had two miserable days back to back of painful gas, stomach rumbling and bloating and diarrhea…. Realizing I have eaten Oikos Protein crunch yogurt for breakfast the last 2 days and after looking at the ingredients , there it was : chicory root fiber ….. so glad I ran across this post and figured out the culprit! Back to scrambled eggs for breakfast !!
I had a bad reaction (severe bloating/stomach pain/gas) to Simply Protein bars, which contain chicory root fibre (inulin). Painful lesson learned to read package labels and avoid inulin in the future.
I have long known that chicory root and stevia have caused great amounts of bloating and pain, so I was relieved to find a new locally-made granola totally free of both! However, after happily munching on it for breakfast and a snack, I’ve been in constant searing pain for 2 full days. I was confused, dismayed, and verging on worried — nothing had changed in my regularly healthy diet. Sure enough, inulin is a key ingredient. How long can I expect this nightmare of gastric pain to last?!
I found this thread after consuming high protein shakes prior to surgery — same symptoms as most of the above comments, and INULIN is probably the culprit. I have IBD and IBS and blamed that!! Who wants a box of high protein shakes?
I’m so glad so glad I found this post. I, too, have been a victim of the Oikos Triple Zero yogurt. A question: I ate this for months without much of a problem, but suddenly this past two months I’ve had extreme gas. By using a process of elimination (no pun intended) I’ve linked this to the yogurt. Is it possible I have become less tolerant over time of the inulin? I have also recently had a pretty significant weight loss (intentional), so maybe that’s why I’m more sensitive? Any theories?
So glad I came across this article! I have also had some serious digestive issues (severe pain, mostly on my right side of my abdomen, gas, bloating and horrible churning and cramping in stomach and intestines), on and off the past couple of years. It has been so bad, I went to the emergency room one time because I thought it might be appendicitis. Another time went to my GP who sent me for a cat scan. Both times, I gradually got better over a period of days. I have ate several of the foods listed above on several different occasions, such as Kind bars, Lily’s Chocolate Bars. I finally realized they were bothering me, so I stopped eating them. However, I started drinking the Teccino’s Herbal Coffee lately and didn’t realize it had inulin too. I have experienced serious gastro issues this week, been in lots of pain, bloated, and having lots of churning and spasms in colon & intestines. Haven’t been able to sleep the past couple of nights because of all the pain. I will not be using this product anymore. These products should really be taken off the market! They are causing so much suffering! They have also costs me lots of money in doctor bills!
Some of these products folks are mentioning are considered “healthy”, so they also go for a low-carb profile… enter maltitol. That stuff can be killer on the ol’ digestive tract, too.
Inulin and maltitol are a particularly nasty combo for many… 🙁
Stop and Shop Nature’s Promise vegan ice cream: so delicious, but not worth running to the bathroom with diarrhea! I had never heard of inulin until I was trying to figure out what in these ice creams sent me running. There was only one ingredient I didn’t recognize that was common in all flavors: Yup, no more inulin for me!
OMG. The worst gas. I bought at Costco and have two big bags. Going in the trash. What a shame.
I have a vegetable garden and enjoy experimenting with new plants. Just for fun, I grew yacon root, a very tasty South American tuber, with huge success. My garden doesn’t usually have high yields of anything, so I was excited. Ate lots of yacon root. Started experiencing extreme and unpredictable, painful gas and diarrhea. Since I had also started eating a lot of tofu at this time (husband went vegan for a while), I was worried I’d developed a soy allergy. Did some research–and found that yacon is loaded with inulin! I stopped eating it, and haven’t had any more problems….This site is hilarious. But if you want some gut-busting, juvenile laughs, look up “Fiber One farts”–there are some impressive recordings out there!
I’m so happy that I found this post! I started using Inulin last week. For almost 2 days I experienced 2 of the worst days of gas, constipation and bloating that I’ve ever had! I’m so bummed. I cannot use it anymore! My poor boyfriend has been terrorized by noxious gas for days. At least he’s had a good attitude about it!
It gives me gas and bloating. Unfortunately it’s in more and more products, I wish they would stop pushing this additive.
I have to smile finding this article. Boy did I do it to myself today. Been on Keto for a little while and decided to use Whole Bar for energy and post work out. 10 grams of Chicory Fiber is the 1st ingredient. I had two and well you can guess what happened. Basically not going anywhere. I hope my poor gut forgives me. Not sure about eating anything unless there is a magic bullet that will stop this gas machine.
The FDA should require that food manufacturers label their products containing this ingredient. It’s horrible! They add it to increase the fiber content, add sweetness, and reduce the sugar content. It’s a strategy designed to appeal to weight conscious Americans. For those of us who are horribly sensitive to it, it can ruin a day or two if you eat more than one serving. Sadly, we are left trying figure out which food caused our tremendous discomfort. I am surprised this has not gotten the Press that weight loss supplements, such as Orlistat, has gotten. Sadly, the Food Industry supports its use and has not evaluated Gut Intolerance (https://www.grainmillers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2018-FDA-Scientific-Review.pdf).
For those of you who are intolerant to Fermentable Oligosaccharides such as Inulin and similar derivatives, Stanford has a diet they used to publish online and can be found here: https://ewhitecoat.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/low-fodmap-diet-for-ibs-handout-from-stanford.pdf
In the meantime, if you suffer from these food additives, please complain to the FDA. It is the only way for companies to be held accountable for labelling these food products:
I am researching how to purposefully add inulin to my diet, as I’ve read about its benefits…. And came upon this post and comments (which are awesome!) detailing accounts where folks have inadvertently added it to their diet and the horror of that. 🙂 Does anyone know if the purity of inulin and if it is added gradually to your diet (see below) results in less side effects? I’m tempted to try this one but you all have scared the crap (haha!!) out of me. Look forward to your comments.
SUGGESTED USE: START GRADUALLY THE FIRST FEW DAYS WITH 1 TSP (1G) IN YOUR TEA OR COFFEE, THEN WORK YOUR WAY UP SLOWLY IN THE COURSE OF THE FIRST 7 DAYS TO 5 TSP PER DAY.
Kind bars have the second ingredient listed as chicory root. Never had I had so much stomach cramping in my life!! Almost instantaneously. At first I thought it was from the peanuts. Which would be devastating. Turns out it was the chicory root luckily!
Have to agree with a previous commenter that “sunchokes” aka “Jerusalem artichokes” are in a league of their own.
The wife brought some of these home from the store. We peeled them — which was a little difficult because of their shapes — then sliced them and pan-fried lightly. They were delicious! Used them sort of like potato, except that they had this unusually good nutty flavor and a nice mouth-feel. So good that I ate 5. (Since they were small, in overall volume this was about equivalent to eating one restaurant-sized baked potato.)
45 minutes later there were gas pains like I have never experienced before or since. And just as my search on the net fingered the sunchokes as likely culprits … Boom! The pains and the gas were almost continuous for about 6 hours, followed by a couple hours of stragglers who just wanted a little more time to ferment.
Oh, and these all defied the usual rule wherein “the loudest ones aren’t so smelly.” They were horrid blasts accompanied by noxious, dizzying, end-of-world stench.
The English botanist John Goodyer, writing in the early 1600s, described them pretty well:
“which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men.”
Keep in mind that he was showing some restraint with this. Just imagine what he must _really_ have thought.
Inulin is a prebiotic often consumed to maintain a good digestive system in human beings.
Nature Valley Protein Bars also brought me here. I was searching for answers on why the bars caused overproduction in the fart factory. This article has been very enlightening. Costco had these on sale the other day. Now what to do with 2 Costco size boxes… My stomach can’t handle anymore.
I just started the very expensive PROLON 5 day cleanse and nearly everything in that has Inulin or chickory root powder as the first ingredient! I so want to finish the cleanse/fast and paid a lot of money for it but I am worried that I might actually be doing more harm than good to my GI by doing so? If I’m sensitive to it can it actually harm me? I know this is an old thread but any info would be helpful!
I had to give up the ProLon as of today. I did a round less than a year ago and don’t remember any negative feelings. However, this round day 2 yesterday almost did me in. I was doubled over in horrendous pain on my right lower abdomen and had the worst gas. Actually, the bad gas started on day one, but yesterday my body I guess had enough and couldn’t handle all the chicory root. Unfortunately, I had to dump the remainder of the box and a whole other one I ordered too. I kept the olives, vitamins, and tea. I would love to see them have a program without chicory root!