What if there was a natural alternative to sugars and artificial sweeteners that could also help us lose weight? It sounds too good to be true… except that it isn’t!
Yacon Syrup has a caramel taste and, while it may not be as sweet, it can be used instead of other high calorie options to satisfy our cravings and help us lose fat at the same time!
Yacon Syrup Boosts Fat Loss
In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, three groups of obese individuals were placed on a mildly calorie-restricted diet with either high-dose yacon syrup, low-dose yacon syrup or placebo syrup as variables. The Placebo syrup contained: tartaric acid 2.5%, carboxymethylcellulose 1.8%, saccharine 2.5% and glycerine 10%. The study was performed for 120 days.
The results of the study was astonishing. In the group of individuals with appropriate supplementation of Yacon Syrup, an average of 15 kilograms (~33 pounds) was lost from baseline weight. Additionally, they also reduced their waist circumference on average by 10.1 cm (~4inches)!
The group receiving the placebo syrup actually gained an average 1.6 kilograms (~3.5 pounds) despite it having minimal calories and being on a mildly calorie restricted diet.
The before and after results are tabled below:
What did I mean above about appropriate supplementation of Yacon Syrup?
Unfortunately, the high-dose (9-11 teaspoons/day) yacon syrup was a classic example of too much of a good thing. This group was excluded from the final result due to undesired bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea and nausea. However, the low-dose group (4-6 teaspoons/day) experienced no side effects whatsoever!
Why are bowel motions per day on the results table?
The selection criteria for the participants was actually also a history of constipation. As you can see on the results table, the Yacon group’s bowel motions improved significantly from 1x motion every 3-4 days to 1x motion pretty much everyday. The Placebo group unfortunately showed no improvements in regularity of their bowel motions.
Other very positive findings in the study were that the Yacon group significantly improved their Fasting Serum Insulin as well as their Insulin Resistance scores (HOMA-IR) as shown below in Table 3. This implies thats Yacon also be used in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
How does Yacon Syrup do this? A Possible Explanation
Yacon syrup is made from the yacon plant, an edible root, is approximately 67% carbohydrates. 26% of its carbohydrates are simple sugars and the remaining 41% are stored as fructans.
Fructans can not be digested by us and is considered a soluble fiber. It is for this reason that the syrup is low calories despite its sweet taste. Fructans actually pass through our stomachs and small intestines until they meet our large intestines where our gut bacteria lives.
Our good gut bacteria feed on fructans (as well as fiber and starch) to produce short-chained fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs in our gut are absorbed into our bloodstream and stimulates hormones naturally to reduce our appetite, suppress fat storage and to delay stomach emptying (meaning we are full for longer).
Acetic acid is also a type of short-chain fatty acid that may also get produced and absorbed into our bloodstream, boosting our AMPK levels which promotes fat-burning. How does AMPK promote fat-burning? See here: AMPing Weight Loss and Energy Levels.
SCFAs also improves our gut function, which is likely why bowel motions improved significantly in the Yacon group.
Moderation Is Key
If you are keen to implement Yacon Syrup into your diet, make sure to slowly progress your intake at one teaspoon at a time in order to learn your limits and avoid unwanted side effects!
Also keep in mind that Yacon Syrup is not alone in the promotion of good gut bacteria health. We also need to make sure that our fiber intake is adequate with good amounts of whole grains, lentils and legumes!
Keep In Mind
As always, we should keep in mind that a whole food plant-based lifestyle with regular exercise and mindfulness is the first priority in achieving our health and wellness goals. Adding or excluding specific foods may help us achieve our goals sooner but they should not be the focus of our approach!
- Hu GX, Chen GR, Xu H, Ge RS, Lin J. Activation of the AMP activated protein kinase by short-chain fatty acids is the main mechanism underlying the beneficial effect of a high fiber diet on the metabolic syndrome. Med Hypotheses. 2010;74(1):123‐126. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19665312/
- Genta S, Cabrera W, Habib N, et al. Yacon syrup: beneficial effects on obesity and insulin resistance in humans. Clin Nutr. 2009;28(2):182‐187. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19254816/
- Canfora EE, van der Beek CM, Jocken JWE, et al. Colonic infusions of short-chain fatty acid mixtures promote energy metabolism in overweight/obese men: a randomized crossover trial. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):2360. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28539646/