A shot of Jose Cuervo probably isn’t what first comes to mind when considering ways to combat obesity and type 2 diabetes. But new research finds that a certain sugar found in tequila could lower blood glucose levels in the body and even help people lose weight.
The sugar, called agavin, occurs naturally in the agave plant. It’s similar to dietary fiber and is not digested by the human gut, meaning the sugar isn’t absorbed into the bloodstream, according to MedPage Today. And just to be clear, agavins are different from agave syrup, a natural sweetener that has gained popularity and is marketed as a healthier alternative to table sugar.
Forbes notes that unlike other types of fructose, agavins are fructans, meaning they’re made of long chains that the body can’t use. Researchers say agavins are highly soluble, have a low glycemic index and are not metabolized by humans.
The new study also found that agavin boosted levels of a peptide called GLP-1, which triggers the production of insulin in the body, in mice.
“This puts agavins in a tremendous position for their consumption by obese and diabetic people,” the study reads. “We believe agavins have a great potential as a light sweetener.”
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How light, exactly? Researchers admit the sugar has a “neutral taste,” but they continue to highlight the possible benefits of agavin as an alternative to regular sugar.
"This study represents the first attempt to evaluate agavins as sweeteners in spite of their lower sweetness compared to sugar,” said Mercedes G. López, who led the study and is with the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados, Biotechnology and Biochemistry Irapuato in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Sure, but isn’t the point of a sweetener to…well, sweeten?