By: Brenda Neugent
There’s sweet news for type 2s who have been longing for the taste of sugar without the nasty side effects.
A sweetener created from the same plant that brings us tequilacould help lower blood sugar and act as a weight-loss aid for those with type 2 diabetes, according to the results of a new study.
Agavins is a natural-and non-digestible-form of sugar found in the agave plant. Because it isn’t digested, it isn’t metabolized, so it doesn’t have an impact on blood sugar or weight.
What it does do is trigger the body to release the hormone GLP-1, which is responsible for stimulating the production of insulin and keeping us feeling fuller for longer.
But before you head to the market to sooth your savage sweet tooth, agavins is not currently available on store shelves, and although it comes from the agave plant, it is not the same as agave nectar.
Agave nectar is more like high-fructose corn syrup, and although it won’t lead to the same blood sugar spikes as table sugar, it is still no better than any other form of fructose.
According to Mercedes G. Lopez, a researcher Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados, Biotechnology and Biochemistry Irapuato, in Guanajuato, Mexico, mice who were fed agavins in their water lost weight and had lower blood sugar compared to mice that were given plain water or water mixed with other sweeteners.
“We believe agavins have a great potential as a light sweetener,” Lopez wrote in the study, the first to look at agavins as an alternative sweetener. “They are sugars, highly soluble, with a low glycemic index and a neutral taste.”
The substance is not as sweet as artificial sweeteners, she said, but there were few side effects.
That doesn’t mean that now’s the time to switch to a diet made up entirely of margaritas, as tempting as some days may make that seem. Although the sugar substitute comes from the same plant as tequila, the production of the alcoholic beverage erases the sweetener from the end product, along with its benefits.
The research was presented recently at the 247th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.