If you are a diabetic or are on a diet and looking for a sugar alternate then an alternative to satiate your sweet cravings may be sugar derived from the agave plant! According to a Mexican research group, the natural sweeteners from the tequila plant may be the perfect choice for diabetics and those trying to shift pounds! Scientists are hopeful about discovering a sugar alternate.
The plant based sweeteners are actually non-digestible and act as dietary fiber without elevating blood sugar levels or causing adverse effects like artificial sweeteners. In an animal study, agavins- natural form of sugar found in the agave plant and one of the main ingredients used to make tequila- successfully protected rodents from self induced obesity and diabetes.
Lead researcher, Dr Mercedes G. López, at the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados, Biotechnology and Biochemistry Irapuato, in Guanajuato, Mexico, stated: “We have found that since agavins reduce glucose levels and increase GLP-1, they also increase the amount of insulin. Agavins are not expensive and they have no known side effects, except for those few people who cannot tolerate them.”
Details of animal study for sugar alternate
In a bid to evaluate agavins as sweeteners, the researchers conducted an animal study. They utilized mice models to examine the impact of different sugars. As a part of the study, the rodents were divided into six sugar groups and one control group that was assigned plain water diet. The mice were fed a standard diet but aspartame, glucose, fructose, sucrose, agave syrup and agavins was added to their water source. Scientist weighed the rodents daily and also monitored their blood glucose levels every week.
It was noted that majority of the rodents in the agavins group ate less and exhibited weight loss and reduction in glucose levels as opposed to the other sugar groups. The control mice experienced the same reductions as the agavin-supplemented water group.
“We believe agavins have a great potential as a lightsweetener,” said Mercedes G. López. “They are sugars, highly soluble, with a low glycemic index and a neutral taste…This puts agavins in a tremendous position for their consumption by obese and diabetic people.”
Despite the promise shown in animal studies, experts feel there is need for further research to show whether this can translate successfully into human models.
The study, “Agavins as Potential Novel Sweeteners for Obese and Diabetic People,” was presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in Dallas, TX.