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article imageTequila plant shown to lower blood sugar, aid in weight loss

By Greta McClain     Mar 17, 2014 in Health
A sweetener made from the plant used to produce tequila has been shown to possibly help lower blood glucose levels and help the obese lose weight.
In a study led by Mercedes G. López, Ph.D. from the Biotechnology and Biochemistry Irapuato in Guanajuato, Mexico, researchers found that agavins, a natural form of sugar found in the Agave plant, are non digestible and act like a dietary fiber.
Using male laboratory mice, López and her team gave one set of mice a standard diet plus plain water. Other groups were given a standard diet plus water which was supplemented with either glucose, fructose, sucrose, agave syrup, agavins, or aspartame. According to MedPage Today, the group of mice who received water containing agavins not only showed a reduction in blood glucose levels, but they also consumed less food and lost weight.
Although agavins contain fructoses, the frucoses in agavins differ from those found in high-fructose corn syrup, a processed sweetener that can increase blood sugar levels. López told Science Daily that the fructose in agavins are fructans, fructoses linked together in long, branched chains. Since the human body cannot process the fructoses when they are linked together, they do not affect blood sugar. She went on to explain that the research shows that agavins increase GLP-1, a hormone that slows the stomach from emptying and stimulates the production of insulin. Additionally, agavins are shown to support the growth of beneficial microbes in the mouth and intestines.
Agave is best known as the plant used to make tequila. However, López assures those who may be concerned about the fermentation of agavins in the body that there is no need to worry. She explained that agavins are the only carbohydrates used to produce the drink and that the ethanol in tequila comes from the fermentation of glucose and fructose generated after agave pines are cooked. She also explained that tequila is not the key to reducing blood sugar levels either. Since the agavins are converted to ethanol during that cooking process, agavins are not actually found in the finished product.
Unlike many artificial sweeteners, which are absorbed by the body and can cause side effects, like headaches, agavins have no known side effects. The only downside researchers have found is that agavins are not quite as sweet as their artificial counterparts. López told Science Codex:
“This study represents the first attempt to evaluate agavins as sweeteners in spite of their lower sweetness compared to sugar,’”
More about Agave, Agavins, Diabetis, Diabetics, Sweetener
 
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