What is Yacon Syrup and How Can it Help You Lose Weight?

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

The yacon syrup was featured in the November episode of Dr. Oz for its potential weight loss benefits. Yacon syrup is derived from the yacon plant. The Yacon plant is a root crop that originated in South America. For hundreds of years, this root crop has been cultivated for food and prized for its medicinal benefits.

What is Yacon Syrup?

Yacon syrup is extracted from the yacon root, which is similar in appearance to sweet potatoes. The extracts are filtered then evaporated in a chemical-free processing. The extract then turns into a brown, clear liquid. The taste and appearance of yacon syrup are very similar to maple syrup.

How Yacon Syrup Contributes to Weight Loss?

A research that involved 40 women consuming a teaspoon of yacon syrup suggests that the syrup may help control weight. The participants were given a small amount of yacon syrup before every meal for 4 weeks. They did nothing to adjust their fitness and diet routine. After the experiment, 29 of the participants lost an average of 2.9 pounds in just one month.

Loaded with Fiber

Some health experts believe that the weight loss benefits of yacon syrup lies in its fructooligosaccharides content. Fructooligosaccharides are sugar molecules used in commercially-prepared syrups. These compounds stimulate the taste buds without being digested. Although fructooligosaccharides contain fructose, glucose, and sucrose, it’s mostly made up of a fiber called inulin. This compound is indigestible. As such, the body cannot absorb most of the calories in yacon syrup.

Fructooligosaccharides occur naturally in Agave syrup, as well as bananas, onions, leeks and asparagus. But of all sources, yacon root crop has the highest fructooligosaccharides content. In fact, yacon syrup is virtually 50% fructooligosaccharides.

Feeds Beneficial Bacteria

When fructooligosaccharides reach the large intestines, they become food for beneficial bacteria in the gut. Friendly bacteria promote better digestion and even prevent obesity, among other ailments. When beneficial bacteria digest fructooligosaccharides, they generate powerful short fatty acids that promote weight loss. Apart from its anti-obesity properties, the fructooligosaccharides in yacon syrup protect from fungal infections. It also keeps the gastrointestinal tract healthy.

Suppresses the Appetite

Studies also found that fructooligosaccharides reduce the hunger hormone ghrelin in the brain. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for our hunger pangs and cravings. The fructooligosaccharides in yacon syrup suppress the production of ghrelin and this leads to reduced appetite. When you’re not as hungry, you don’t make bad food choices.

Energizes the Body

Fructooligosaccharides contain very little calories. When converted into energy, it produced gasses and acids that energize the body. In turn, the body is energized without storing fat that contributes to obesity.

But is it effective?

The weight loss claims of yacon syrup are rooted into a single research wherein 40 women split into two groups were given placebo and yacon syrup for 4 months. The women fed with yacon syrup saw dramatic improvements in their BMI, stool frequency, and insulin level. Compared to the group of women who were given a placebo, those who consumed yacon syrup lost weight and have lower cholesterol level.

The evidence seems compelling but so far, there is just one test that backs up the weight loss benefits of yacon syrup. Unless more studies are done on the syrup, it’s hard to say if yacon can solve the obesity pandemic.

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