Inulin, or chicory root fiber, is found in many different foods including artichokes, asparagus, onions, leeks, and garlic, says U.S. News. Inulin fiber is also commonly added to highly processed food products that are marked as "high fiber" or "gluten-free."
Other whole foods in which inulin occurs naturally include jicama, green or unripe bananas, and wheat. Inulin is a plant-based carbohydrate. This means that the bonds of inulin fiber cannot be broken by human digestive enzymes, states U.S. News. Because of this, inulin contributes to the bulk of human stool, and some people who suffer from problematic gas and bloating, such as those who have no digestive sensitivity, find inulin particularly difficult to ingest.
As it can be isolated from the roots of chicory plants and distributed into other foods, inulin is the added fiber of choice for such products as energy bars, cereals, breads, and granola. It also serves as a popular gluten substitute by food manufacturers in products that otherwise require the gummy, elastic properties of gluten. For those seeking to avoid inulin intake, it is advisable to scan the ingredient labels of low-calorie yogurts, ready-to-drink protein shakes and smoothies, and meal replacement bars for "inulin" or "chicory root," notes U.S. News.