Diabetes and obesity could be combated with sugars found in tequila, according to recent research. The findings of this promising new research were presented at the 247th National Meeting American Chemical Society (ACS) this week in Dallas, TX, which serves as the world’s largest scientific society gathering. The research suggests that the sugars discovered in the plant from which tequila is made could reduce blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes sufferers and help obese people lose weight. The agave plant produces a natural sugar called agavins, which can be used to make tequila.
During the recent research study, scientists fed mice a standard diet, and then, added agavins to some of their water. The study found that the mice who consumed agavins exhibited less hunger and had lower blood sugar levels. The results were more pronounced with the use of agavins than other sugar substitutes, such as aspartame and agave syrup. The mice that consumed agavins also produced a hormone called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1), which acts to keep the stomach full longer and produces insulin. Additionally, these results suggest that agavins aid the body’s natural blood sugar control, which is another reason it could prove extremely beneficial for people with diabetes and weight issues.
These agavins found in the tequila plant that could combat diabetes and obesity–which differ from sugars found in agave nectar and syrup–are non-digestible and act as a dietary fiber, as opposed to sugars that raise blood sugar levels. Additionally, because agavins are a type of fiber, they can make people feel full longer and reduce appetite. Moreover, unlike other sugar substitutes agents such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose, agavins are not absorbed by the body, so they do not elevate blood glucose levels. The main difference stems from the fact that agavins are fructans, which are long-chain fructoses that the body can’t use, so they are not absorbed into the bloodstream to raise blood sugar. Whereas products such as agave nectar, agave syrup, and other forms of artificial sweeteners are forms of fructans that are broken down into simple fructose, which are readily absorbed into the bloodstream, raise blood sugar levels, and add calories to the body’s system.
Another study conducted in 2012 and published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition found additional benefits to the consumption of fructans such as agavins. The study found that fructans elevated levels of the beneficial probiotic bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidus, which are essential forms of gut bacteria in the digestive tract that aid digestion and elimination. Moreover, as observed with many types of fiber, agavins could also potentially reduce cholesterol levels and triglycerides in the blood, as well as boost dietary fiber intake levels.
The research findings have a few grey areas that need to be addressed before agavins will be available in mass quantities for human consumption. Thus far, agavins-based studies have only been conducted in mice and larger studies with human subjects are needed to determine whether agavins are effective and safe in humans. Additionally, it is known that agavins are not as sweet as other forms of sweetener such as sucrose, fructose and glucose. Moreover, it is not known if everyone can tolerate them, much like other types of fiber they have the potential to cause digestive problems.
These new studies that suggest agavins found in the tequila plant could combat diabetes and obesity have researchers very optimistic for the future. Medical experts believe that agavins have extraordinary potential as light sweeteners since they are highly soluble sugars, have a low glycemic index, and a neutral taste. Most importantly, they are not metabolized by humans and will not boost blood glucose levels. In fact, they could aid insulin production in the body, which could invaluable for people with diabetes. Additionally, since agavins work as a dietary fiber, they can make people feel fuller longer and reduce appetite, as well as aid in the body’s digestion and elimination processes. Moreover, the potential benefits for the 26 million Americans living with diabetes and nearly two million more cases diagnosed each year such a discovery could prove invaluable. Not to mention, the potential marketability of a sugar substitute that could help people lose weight.
By Leigh Haugh
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