New Anti-Obesity Weapon: Tequila Plant?

Agave sugar eyed as potential sweetener

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 18, 2014 12:29 AM CDT | Updated Mar 22, 2014 7:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – The plant tequila is derived from could play a role in fighting obesity, and it doesn't involve getting people so drunk they forget to eat, researchers say. Natural sugars found in agave appear to protect mice against obesity and type 2 diabetes, Fox News reports. The sugars, known as agavins, acted as a dietary fiber and were not absorbed into the bloodstream, leading researchers to believe they could be an ideal artificial sweetener for obese or diabetic people.

"In certain circumstances, artificial sweeteners are useful in helping people maintain glucose control," an expert tells MedPage Today. "If this is all true, it sounds like it could be another additional tool for people with diabetes." The researchers say "agavins have a great potential as a light sweetener," though two big obstacles exist: They aren't that widely available, and they aren't very sweet. And if you're an agave syrup fan, take note: That syrup is very different from agavins; the researchers liken it more to high-fructose corn syrup. (In more booze- and health-related news, click to read about the case of a man whose body produces its own alcohol.)

A blue agave plant grows near the town of Tequila, Mexico.   (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias, File)
A shot of aged Tequila Herradura with a lemon and salt fixings sit on a bar in front of bottles of white and aged Tequila Herradura in Mexico City, Mexico.   (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)
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