Agave, the plant that is used to make tequila, has been found to have natural sweeteners that could help fight obesity and diabetes according to a new study presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas.
But go easy on the shots.
The sweetener, called agavins, could suppress the appetite and lower blood glucose levels, but these sugars are not the same as found in the more widely known “agave syrup”.
The researchers fed mice a standard diet, then added agavins to some of their water. The mice who consumed agavins ate less overall and had lower blood sugar levels. These results were more significant than the group of mice that consumed artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or agave syrup.
“We have found that since agavins reduce glucose levels and increase GLP-1, they also increase the amount of insulin,” said Dr. Mercedes G. López, Ph.D, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados, Biotechnology and Biochemistry Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico, at the conference.
Agavins are non-digestible and act similarly in the body as dietary fiber does. This particular hormone, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP -1) slows the stomach from emptying, thereby stimulating production of insulin.
López notes that there are no known side effects to consuming the agavins and like other natural sugars, it can help stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the mouth and gut.
The only downside is that this sugar is not as sweet as its commercially produced counterparts, so the average person may not choose it for routine needs.
However, the study authors write, “This puts agavins in a tremendous position for their consumption by obese and diabetic people. We believe agavins have a great potential as a light sweetener.”
S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on Twitter @ReporterandGirl, http://Facebook.com/TheReporterandTheGirl and visit her website at http://www.SCRhyne.com