Tequila Sweetener May Cure Diabetic Sweet Tooth
Tequila may be the answer to treating diabetic sweet tooth and preventing obesity, a new study suggests.
New research reveals that a sweetener made from agave, a plant used to make tequila helps lower blood glucose levels.
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Scientists said that the sweetener would not raise blood glucose because agavins, a natural form of sugar found in the agave plant, acts like dietary fiber and cannot be broken down by the body.
"We have found that since agavins reduce glucose levels and increase GLP-1, they also increase the amount of insulin," researcher Mercedes G. López, said in a news release. Researchers explain that glucagon-like peptide-1 or GLP-1 is a hormone that triggers the production of insulin by stalling the stomach from emptying.
"Agavins are not expensive and they have no known side effects, except for those few people who cannot tolerate them," she said, adding that agavins, like other fructans, which are made of the sugar fructose, are the best sugars to help maintain growth of beneficial microbes in the mouth and intestines.
While agavins contain fructoses, they are not like high-fructose corn syrup, as they will not raise blood sugar levels. Researchers explain that fructose corn syrup is contains high amounts of fructose sugars, which can raise blood sugar levels. However, because agavins are fructans, which are fructoses linked together in long, branched chains, the human body cannot digest them. Therefore, they consumption of agavins will not affect blood sugar.
Researchers also note that agavins should not be confused with agave nectar or agave syrup because these products are similar to high-fructose corn syrup as they contain fructans that have been broken down into individual fructoses.
López noted that agavins are better than current artificial sweeteners because they cannot be absorbed by the body, and therefore will not cause side effects.
"One slight downside, however, is that agavins are not quite as sweet as their artificial counterparts," she noted.
López and her team conducted a study on animals and found that mice fed a standard diet and had supplemented agavins in their daily water lost weight and had lower blood glucose levels than those given sweeteners like glucose, fructose, sucrose, agave syrup and aspartame.
"This study represents the first attempt to evaluate agavins as sweeteners in spite of their lower sweetness compared to sugar,'" she said.
The findings were presented at the 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Dallas, TX.
Mar 17, 2014 06:42 PM EDT