It is possible that you have already heard about the benefits of Yacon Syrup, if you are interested in nutritional medicine and natural sugar alternatives. Perhaps you read about it in an advertisement touting its fat burning benefits. To some, such hype is a red flag, warning them against yet another dietary fad. Perhaps it is a questionable products making unrealistic claims. Is Yacon the new acai or green coffee supplement, or is it another incarnation of the cabbage soup or grapefruit diets? In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the history and science concerning this substance which may help you decide whether it is a suitable product for you.
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What is Yacon Syrup?
The yacon root is a tuber that grows in the Andes region. It resembles a thin, pale sweet potato. Many natives of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia have been ingesting the roots and leaves for centuries. Some claim that the Incas made sweeteners from these tubers. Today, diabetics living in the Andes still use tuber extract as a sweetener and the leaves for tea. They claim it is beneficial for controlling their blood sugar. This is one of the benefits of Yacon Syrup.
The process for making Yacon syrup is very similar to maple syrup production. The roots contain fiber, saccharides, and water, which the manufacturers extract as raw juice. Then they use evaporation techniques to remove all the water from the extract, leaving only the concentrated syrup, which is very sweet. Many people liken the flavor of this syrup to molasses or browned sugar.
History of use outside of South America
A couple of decades ago, the Japanese discovered the benefits of Yacon extract as a low glycemic sugar alternative. The plant has become popular in Western countries in recent years as a sugar substitute and for its purported benefits to the colon. Yacon contains oligofructans, which are saccharides that do not increase blood sugar levels. This is why it is attractive to diabetics and people with other metabolic disorders. The extract has become more popular among Western consumers seeking ways to control their body weight as well.
First, you need to understand that stomach health depends greatly on the microflora balance in the GI tract. Probiotic species of bacteria are normal residents in the gut, and these microbes keep it healthy by fighting pathogens and preventing damage to the stomach lining. A healthy gut protects every living cell in your body from attacks by pathogens or erratic autoimmune responses. Keeping probiotic colonies strong can prevent many health issues. These include viral, fungal, and bacterial infections, gastrointestinal inflammation, food poisoning, and food allergies, Studies have linked probiotics to many other immunological benefits. If you have eaten yogurts and cultured dairy products touting “live cultures”, these have probiotics. Along with the calcium and other nutrients, the probiotics are what make yogurt “good for you”.
Prebiotics are the substances that “feed” probiotics and encourage them to multiply. There is much information supporting the benefits of fiber in our diets, especially the fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The main reason why you need this fiber is to feed your probiotic colonies. Yacon plants are rich in fiber and Fructooligosaccharides, which we will call “FOS” to keep it simple. FOS are natural sugars on which probiotic organisms thrive. In fact, some of the more potent probiotic supplements contain FOSs along with the live cultures to make the supplements more effective. These sugars are the ingredients that drive the benefits of Yacon Syrup.
Weight loss claims
Diet fads seem to change with the seasons. The search for nutritional alternatives is ongoing. The United States and other Western countries continue to struggle with rising obesity rates and their destructive diseases. Diabetes and insulin resistance top the list as the most deadly effects of being overweight. Researchers have studied the benefits of Yacon Syrup concerning blood sugar and weight control. Dietitians have already established that your metabolic syndrome rises with your waist size and body mass index (BMI). Irregular blood glucose and insulin levels are symptoms concerning insulin resistance, which is a “pre-diabetic” condition. High insulin levels cause hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar. A 2009 Argentinian trial gave daily doses of Yacon extract to obese women who suffered from insulin resistance. The benefits were very promising. Researchers reported that these women lost significant amounts of weight and belly fat. This reduced their waist sizes and lowered the risk of metabolic syndrome. Regular tests about the subjects’ blood serum levels revealed that the syrup reduced insulin levels and did not create any spikes in blood glucose levels. The subjects also reported more regular bowel movements, fewer hunger spells and cravings while using the extract. The syrup is about seventy percent sweeter than ordinary sugar, and so you need a small amount to sweeten food and drinks. Among the benefits of Yacon Syrup is that you can obtain the same sweetness of regular sugar with fewer calories. Another study from the Czech University of Agriculture, Prague, concluded that Yacon roots contain various nutrients, including minerals like calcium, potassium, riboflavin and thiamine; Vitamins B1, B2, C, and beta-carotene; polyphenols, the amino acid tryptophan, and the antioxidant chlorogenic acid. The researchers also isolated anti-fungal substances from the leaves, which may offer more health benefits. The study mentions other reported the benefits of Yacon Syrup, including its soothing properties for skin conditions and GI tract complaints. While some consumers may trust folk wisdom and historical evidence from the Andes, others may require scientific support from clinical trials before trying Yacon Syrup. Do your own research and consult with an MD, nutritionist or health practitioner. Currently, the FDA deems Yacon products safe for the general population.European and Canadian health authorities warn against using baby formulas that contain this ingredient. Find out whether the benefits of Yacon Syrup will help you.
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