The effect of inulin and resistant maltodextrin on weight loss during energy restriction: a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blinded intervention



The objective of this study was to investigate the additive effects of combining energy restriction with dietary fibres on change in body weight and gut microbiota composition.


The study was a 12-week randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, parallel intervention trial. A total of 116 overweight or obese participants were assigned randomly either to 10 g inulin plus 10 g resistant maltodextrin or to 20 g of placebo supplementation through 400 mL of milk a day, while on a − 500 kcal/day energy restricted diet.


Altogether, 86 participants completed the intervention. There were no significant differences in weight loss or body composition between the groups. The fibre supplement reduced systolic (5.35 ± 2.4 mmHg, p = 0.043) and diastolic (2.82 ± 1.3 mmHg, p = 0.047) blood pressure to a larger extent than placebo. Furthermore, a larger decrease in serum insulin was observed in the placebo group compared to the fibre group (− 26.0 ± 9.2 pmol/L, p = 0.006). The intake of fibre induced changes in the composition of gut microbiota resulting in higher abundances of Parabacteroides and Bifidobacteria, compared to placebo. The effects on blood pressure and glucose metabolism were mainly observed in women, and could be attributed to a higher gut microbiota diversity after intervention. Finally, the fibre group experienced a higher degree of gastrointestinal symptoms, which attenuated over time.


Supplementation of inulin and resistant maltodextrin did not provide an additional weight loss during an energy-restricted diet, but reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Furthermore, the fibre supplement did stimulate the growth of potentially beneficial bacteria genera.

Clinical trial registry

The study was registered at, NCT03135041.

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Fig. 1
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Fig. 5



Alanine aminotransferase


Aspartate aminotransferase


Counts per minute


Energy percent


False discovery rate


Free fatty acids


Glycosylated haemoglobin A1c




Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance


High-sensitive C reactive protein


Intention to treat






Linear mixed model


Operational taxonomic unit


Principal coordinates


Principal coordinate analysis


Polymerase chain reaction


Per protocol


Parts per minute


Ribosomal Database Project


Ribosomal ribonucleic acid


Short chain fatty acid


Standard deviation


Standard error


Visual analogue scale


White blood cells


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The authors wish to thank the participants and the study staff (scientific employees, dieticians, kitchen staff, laboratory technicians, bachelor and master students) involved in the intervention study at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen. The authors would also like to thank Christian Ritz for statistical advice on data analysis.


This work was supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program, Grant agreement no. 613979 (MyNewGut).

Author information





TB, LHL, YS and TML designed research; JRI and CM designed and provided the intervention products; ALH, ABP and TML conducted research; ALH and ABP analysed data; ALH and ABP drafted the paper and had primary responsibility for final content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Anne Lundby Hess or Alfonso Benítez-Páez.

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All the authors declare to have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Data described in the manuscript, code book, etc. can be made available upon request pending on application and approval. The raw fasta sequences generated from the 16S amplicon sequencing of faecal DNA are publicly available at the MG-RAST server [1] upon the project accession number mgp88216.

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Hess, A.L., Benítez-Páez, A., Blædel, T. et al. The effect of inulin and resistant maltodextrin on weight loss during energy restriction: a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blinded intervention. Eur J Nutr 59, 2507–2524 (2020).

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  • Dietary fibre
  • Gut microbiome
  • Inulin
  • Maltodextrin
  • Obesity
  • Weight loss