A Tequila Sweetener Could Help Reduce Diabetes and Obesity

Tequila is the answer to many of life's problems—and now, a sweetener made from the stuff might just be the answer to our diabetes and obesity pandemics, too.

New research suggests presented at the 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) suggests that a sweetener made from agave—the plant used to make tequila—can help lower blood glucose levels. That's because agavins, the kind of sugar found in the plant, act like dietary fiber, so they taste sweet, but can't be broken down by the body. (They're not to be confused with agave syrups, which are actually similar to high-fructose corn syrups.)

These agavin compounds are long strings of fructoses, usually found in fruit, but their size makes them impossible to break down. The researchers also found that agavins increase the production of GLP-1, a hormone that triggers the production of insulin by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties.

Combined, that means that the body perceives sweetness in the mouth but suffers none of the negative side effects of consuming sugars. And, because they can't be broken down like other sweeteners, agavins come saddled with none of the negative effects associated with artificial sweeteners, either. The only downside? They're aren't quite as sweet as their artificial counterparts—but given their other benefits, adding more shouldn't necessarily be a problem. [ACS via MD Connects]

Image by Florencia Russi under Creative Commons license