Will Yacon Syrup Help Your Body Burn Weight?
Yacon syrup is a natural, low-calorie sweetener that could pave the way for weight loss by training the gut.
Yacon syrup is a sweet syrup made with the juice of a plant native to the South American Andes. Treatments derived from Yacon roots have been used medicinally to treat digestive disorders and kidney problems for centuries.
The secret to this syrup is in the molecular structure of the fructooligosaccharides (FOS). FOS accounts for most of the sugar content in yacon syrup, as well as the bulk of the sweet flavor you taste.
The connecting structure between molecules of FOS is distinct, making it unrecognizable by the digestive tract. This means it stimulates the taste buds, and then works it’s through the digestive system without adding many calories.
Yacon syrup is one of the richest sources of FOS available you can add to your diet. Yacon syrup is also found in smaller amounts in other vegetables, such as leeks, artichokes, onions, and garlic.
Also known as Smallanthus sonchifolius, the yacon root looks similar to a sweet potato. The syrup is manufactured in a process very similar to maple sugar: juice is extracted, filtered and evaporated, no artificial chemicals are used or added.
The syrup contains approximately 40% to 50% fructooligosaccharides, in addition to some fiber in the form of inulin, and a pinch of fructose, sucrose and glucose; the body recognizes and digests these elements. One tablespoon delivers approximately 20 calories from these three sources of sugar. Sucrose, otherwise known as, table sugar, delivers 48 calories per tablespoon.
Indulging a sweet tooth has wrecked dieters with the best of intentions. This new perspective on taste could be the definitive answer to tipping the pleasure scales and supporting healthy body weight at the same time.
Down the hatch
One of the chief benefits from using yacon syrup may come from the way it affects friendly bacteria located in human digestive system.
When yacon syrup works its way down to the large intestine, the fructooligosaccharides nourish friendly bacteria present in the digestive system; humans can’t digest FOS, but the friendly bacteria can, resulting in the improvement of the gut environment.
Keeping the bacteria happy is a good move; when our guts have the right ingredients to do the job the way it’s meant to be done, we think more clearly, our immune system functions better, and the risk of developing serious health issues such as diabetes drops.
Feeding the friendly gut bacteria with FOS can also reduce our appetite. Fructooligosaccharides affect secretion levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, this is the hormone that lets you know it’s time to eat.
Experiments with rats included analysis of side effects from the bacterial digestion process of FOS. A portion of the studies completed included analysis of short-chain fatty acids that can help prevent weight gain, speed up metabolism and improve colon health.
Single Study Shows Good Results
Yacon syrup is a newcomer to the diet aid arena, which means there’s not much in the way of research to draw conclusions from at this point. Additional trials will be needed in the future to evaluate the qualities and effects of yacon syrup. The general response from nutritional experts is what you might expect: more information is required to determine if yacon syrup is really effective as a weight-loss supplement.
A fairly small 4-month clinical was conducted. The study consisted of 55 obese women with high cholesterol and constipation issues. Each of the women participated for four months, with results correlated with body weight and Body Mass Index (BMI), cholesterol levels, insulin sensitivity and bowel movement frequency.
The participants in the double blind and placebo-controlled trial were asked to follow a low-fat diet and reduce total calories.
Over the course of 16 weeks, 40 women took yacon syrup and the other 15 received the syrup without active ingredients.
Women taking yacon syrup experienced dramatic changes in metabolism and BMI. The other women finished the trail without much, if any, difference in measured indicators.
The yacon group lost an average of 33 pounds, while the other group gained approximately 3.5 pounds each. The placebo group didn’t experience any change in waist measurements; however, the women taking yacon syrup decreased in waist size by nearly 4 inches.
There were other positive results for women taking yacon syrup including:
- Relief from constipation issues
- Insulin resistance decreased 67%
- LDL cholesterol decreased 29%
- Average BMI dropped from 34 to 28
Lower insulin resistance translates to a lower risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Also, lower LDL cholesterol and a better lipid panel are also indicators of improved heart health. Constipation problems have been linked to higher rates of gastrointestinal disorders, thyroid problems, and depression.
Lower BMI measurements allowed the yacon syrup users to officially move from being classified as obese to being classified as overweight.
The high fiber content of yacon syrup assists the digestive tract in processing material and improves transit time through the system resulting in increased stoop frequency. Yacon syrup is also an excellent source of potassium.
How You Can Use Yacon Syrup
Since yacon syrup is a natural food without chemicals or additives, the chances of experiencing an adverse reaction to yacon syrup are slim; however, caution is the best approach with anything that affects your digestion.
If you ingest too much yacon syrup at once, you could experience nausea, stomach aches, flatulence, or diarrhea. Individuals who already have an issue with diarrhea might do well to pass on this one.
Women in the study referenced above took 10 grams of fructooligosaccharides each day; dividing the dosage so it was taken approximately one hour before eating each meal or snack. The total amount of 10-grams equals between 4 and 5 teaspoons.
It is recommended that a person start with a one teaspoon a day so you can see how it affects your body.
It’s not known if you need to take yacon syrup before a meal to get the appetite-suppression effect, so it’s recommended to try it both ways.
The molecular structure of FOS doesn’t hold up to heat, breaking down at 284˚ F (140 C˚). Cooking yacon syrup alters the sugar content of the material into free fructose; this makes it sweeter and also digestible, which defeats the purpose of trying to keep calories low.
Using yacon syrup as a sweetener in cold drinks would be fine, but it may be simpler to take it from a spoon.
Remember, adding yacon syrup to your diet won’t affect the habits and choices that you made that led to carrying excess pounds in the first place.
If you’re in search of a natural, short-term weight-loss aid, yacon syrup isn’t likely to give you problems, and it could just be the ticket for soothing that sweet tooth.