One of the first things we’re told when we embark on a diet is that we can’t have or have to cut down on alcohol. And that could be a big deal breaker for those of us who like to imbibe.
But a recent study says we might not have to choose between losing weight and enjoying a cocktail.
Well, as long as you like tequila. The American Chemical Society researched the effects of tequila on blood glucose levels and found that the sugars that are in the agave plant that makes tequila can help to lower your blood sugar.
“A sweetener created from the plant used to make tequila could lower blood glucose levels for the 26 million Americans and others worldwide who have type 2 diabetes and help them and the obese lose weight, researchers said here today,” an American Chemical Society press release said.
These sugars are called agavins. Since they aren’t digestible, they won’t raise your blood sugar.
“The main reason it could be valuable, they explained, is that agavins, a natural form of sugar found in the agave plant, are non-digestible and can act as a dietary fiber, so they would not raise blood glucose,” the press release reads.
During the study, mice were given a standard diet, then they were given water that had agavins in it. These mice wound up eating less and had lower blood sugar levels than the mice who didn’t have agavins.
Furthermore, mice who had agavins produced a hormone called GLP-1 that keeps your stomach feeling full and produces insulin.
This is why researchers think the agavins could help people with type 2 diabetes or those who struggle to lose weight. Agavins are also made of sugar fructose which are the best kinds of sugars to support healthy microbes in your mouth and intestines.
“Agavins are not expensive and they have no known side effects, except for those few people who cannot tolerate them,” said Dr. Mercedes G. López.
López argues that agavins are even better than artificial sweeteners that are absorbed by the body and have negative side effects like headaches.
“One slight downside, however, is that agavins are not quite as sweet as their artificial counterparts,” she said.
Agavins sometimes get confused with agave nectar or agave syrup but that stuff contains broken down fructans which make them more like high-fructose corn syrup.
Before you go out and start chugging tequila you should know that agavins are the only carbohydrates used to produce tequila. All the ethanol in tequila comes from the fermentation of glucose and fructose that occurs after the agave pines are cooked.
Since the agavins are converted to ethanol, you won’t find them in your shot of tequila.
So, the study was conducted to see if agavins could provide a healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners.
“This study represents the first attempt to evaluate agavins as sweeteners in spite of their lower sweetness compared to sugar,’” López said.
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So this news is no excuse to start downing shots of tequila in the name of good health but it might make you consider switching up your drink of choice next time you’re at the bar.
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