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What is verbascose?

Verbascose is a type of carbohydrate that is part of the family of complex sugars known as oligosaccharides. Verbascose is found in certain plants, including legumes such as soybeans, lentils, chickpeas and mung beans.

The structure of verbascose consists of three glucose molecules linked together by alpha-1,6-glycosidic bonds, with an additional galactose molecule attached to the middle glucose molecule via a beta-1,3-glycosidic bond.

Interestingly, Verbascose is not broken down by digestive enzymes and passes through our small intestine largely unchanged. Instead, it is fermented by bacteria in the large intestine, producing short-chain fatty acids and gases such as hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Verbascose is a FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharide, Monosaccharide and Polyols) and can cause symptoms in People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

The fermentation process it contributes to in the large intestine has positive effects on our gut health. The short-chain fatty acids produced during fermentation provide an energy source for the cells lining the colon while also promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and helping to suppress the growth of harmful bacteria. 

While verbascose is not well-known, its presence in certain healthy plant-based foods makes it a valuable substance in the diet. Legumes are a good source of verbascose, along with other beneficial compounds such as fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.

The fermentation of verbascose by gut bacteria has positive effects on gut health and overall well-being.



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