These days, there are so many produce items, long thought to be lacking in nutritional value, which may actually contain some surprisingly hidden health benefits for the human population. For example, the cocoa bean – used to make chocolate – is now undergoing study to determine its potential positive affects on heart health. Moreover, some say coffee can increase brain function and lower the risk of dementia. Now, there are studies indicating the agave plant, which is used to produce tequila, may also be yielding a type of sugar that can help in the areas of weight loss and diabetes.
Recent information, uncovered at the American Chemical Society, examines the effects of agavins (sugars derived from the tequila-producing agave plant) on the health of lab mice. Throughout the course of clinical trials it was found that agavins promoted weight loss in the furry little creatures and also stimulated the production of insulin, which points to a potential benefit for diabetes patients. The study’s verbiage included the statement: “[the study’s data] puts agavins in a tremendous position [for] obese and diabetic people.” It went on to add: “We believe that agavins have a great potential as light sweeteners since they are sugars, highly soluble… [they have] a neutral taste, but most important, they are not metabolized by humans,”
Furthermore, agavins are unlike most sugars, such as fructose and glucose, which are absorbed by the body. Agavins are actually fibers that are not metabolized and can also cause a “fuller” sensation when digested. Aside from the agave plant producing a very popular spirit, tequila, it may soon be used for yielding sugars that can help with both weight loss and diabetes. However, it is important to note that more study is necessary in humans, rather than mice, in order to draw a more accurate conclusion.
The promising research results demonstrate interesting findings among its “participants.” Seven groups of mice were divided up for the purposes of the study. While one group was given only a diet of water, the six other were each given a different type of water-sugar mixture. The group provided with the agavin-laden water showed decreased appetite, loss of weight and decrease in blood glucose. This was similar to the water-only group. Mercedes G. López, a researcher who led the study, stated that this is the “…first [undertaking] to evaluate agavins as sweeteners…”
With the state of health in today’s world, it’s not surprising that scientists are attempting to find healthier alternatives for sweeteners. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 35.7 percent of U.S. adults are obese. Moreover the American Diabetes Association (ADA) surmises that 25.8 million children and adults in the United Stated suffer from diabetes. Lopez’ study seems to come at the right time for Americans and consumers around the world. Along with its claim over popular cocktails such as the margarita, it turns out there may be another benefit to this interesting Mexican flora. The tequila yielding agave plant shows promise that it just may be able to aid in the reduction of diabetes and weight loss.
By Josh Taub