admin - April 10, 2014
Is a sweetener that actually lowers blood sugar levels too good to be true? The American Chemical Society presented research showing that agavins, a sweetener derived from the agave plant that tequila is made from, doesn’t cause blood sugar levels to rise, which is good news for diabetics.
Agavins actually spike natural insulin production, lower blood sugar and in the study helped obese mice lose weight. This type of sweetener cannot be metabolized and absorbed by the body, which is why they do not elevate blood glucose levels. They also boost a peptide known as GLP-1 which causes the body to produce insulin, thus helping the body to regulate and control blood sugar levels. Agavins are also a type of fiber, which helps people to feel fuller and reduce appetite.
Agavins can be used as a light sweetener since they are classified as a sugar, highly soluble, are low on the glycemic index and have a neutral flavor.
Agavins vs. Other Sugars
Agavins are fructans, a long-chain type of fructose that they body cannot use. Agavins are not similar to agave nectar or syrup which are natural sweeteners used as sugar substitutes. Agave nectar or syrup can be broken into fructose to raise blood sugar and add calories. Agavins do not since they are not metabolized by the body.
Fructans also boost levels of helpful probiotics like lactobacillus and bifidus. Lactobacillus is a bacteria live in the digestive, urinary, and genital systems that help with regulation. Bifidus helps ease digestive problems and helps to reduce the risk of heart disease.
While certain aspects of agavins sound promising as a sweetener that would be helpful for diabetics, since it helps the body produce insulin and lowers overall blood sugar levels, more research is needed. The current study focused on mice, so tests on humans needs to confirm these findings before agavins become a widely accepted sweetener.
About 26 million Americans are living with diabetes, and more are diagnosed every year. Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases, and screenings that detect risk is extremely important. We offer type 2 diabetes screenings that involve a simple blood test to measure blood glucose levels. To learn more about the screening, disease risk factors and symptoms check out our type 2 diabetes page.
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