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[Study] The One INSANE Health Benefit Of The Tequila Plant That You Knew Nothing About

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Image: Inside Louisville

For many people, tequila has had a promising effect on liquid courage. Now, researchers say the plant used to create it may unlock a number of health benefits, help with weight loss, and even assist the more than 26.2 million type 2 diabetics in America.1

The agave plant, which is notably used to make tequila, contains agavins  a non-digestible, naturally occurring sugar that commonly functions as a dietary fiber or prebiotic. More importantly, unlike sugar and other sweeteners, they don’t raise blood glucose levels; a major consideration for diabetics and those trying to control their weight.

“We have found that since agavins reduce glucose levels and increase GLP-1, they also increase the amount of insulin,” said Mercedes G. López, Ph.D. GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) is a hormone that slows the stomach from emptying, thereby stimulating production of insulin. 

While they are not as sweet as other artificial sugar substitutes, researchers explain that agavins have tremendous potential to be used as an inexpensive sweetener. Mercedes G. López, Ph.D. and a member of the research team, made specific notes about the difference between agavins and agave syrup and nectar.

Agavins are fructans — long, linked, branched chains of fructose — that the body can’t use or process, and therefore don’t impact blood sugar. Research suggests that they may even lower blood sugar. Conversely, products like agave nectar and syrup, found on grocery store shelves, contain fructans that have already been broken down into smaller, single fructose sugars; similar to HFCS, these sugars can spike blood sugar.2

Beyond its future as a sweetener, agavins may help one feel fuller, which could mean eating less. In mice, agavins helped reduce food intake and increase weight loss.

“We believe that agavins have a great potential as light sweeteners since they are sugars, highly soluble, have a low glycemic index, and a neutral taste, but most important, they are not metabolized by humans. This puts agavins in a tremendous position for their consumption by obese and diabetic people.” — American Chemical Society


The Takeaway

Don’t start slicing up a fleet of limes just yet. Agavins are fermented and converted into ethanol, meaning that none of it actually makes it into your golden bottle of Patron.

So should you start your day with a few shots? Probably not. But the lurking perks that agavins and the Agave plant can offer are promising — and wouldn’t make a bad sweetener for a margarita, either.

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  1. + The American Chemical Society — Tequila plant is possible sweetener for diabetics—helps reduce blood sugar, weight []
  2. + The American Chemical Society — Tequila plant is possible sweetener for diabetics—helps reduce blood sugar, weight []
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