A new type of sweetener, made from the same plant as tequila, might help lower blood sugar and aid in weight loss. However, research on the new sweetener has so far only been done with mice and it is not yet known if it will work on humans.
Agavins, which come from the agave plant, were found in mice studies to trigger insulin production and lower blood sugar and help obese mice lose weight, researchers told the American Chemical Society last week.
The reason agavins are able to do this is because they are not absorbed and metabolized by the body like sucrose, glucose and fructose are, meaning it’s impossible for them to elevate blood glucose levels according to research by Mercedes G. López, a researcher at the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados, Biotechnology and Biochemistry Irapuato, in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Plus, agavins boost the level of a peptide called GLP-1 (short for glucagon-like peptide-1), which triggers the body’s production of insulin, aiding the body’s natural blood sugar control. And, being a type of fiber, agavins can make people feel fuller and reduce appetite, López’s research shows.
“We believe that agavins have a great potential as light sweeteners since they are sugars, highly soluble, have a low glycemic index, and a neutral taste, but most important, they are not metabolized by humans,” read the study abstract. “This puts agavins in a tremendous position for their consumption by obese and diabetic people.”
However, people shouldn’t expect to see agavins on store shelves any time soon, as more research will need to be done to see if they produce the same effect on humans as they had in mice.