As a blogger about healthy lifestyle living I get the opportunity to try out new gadgets and trends. I honestly relish the chance to check out what the hype around a product is all about. And I must admit I am a pretty harsh critic in general.
Recently there has been a lot of buzz around yacon syrup. It soared in popularity when it was featured on a Dr. Oz show. Then it appeared on Amazon and was available from no less than seventeen companies. I decided to check it out.
Yacon is a root that comes from the Smallanthus sonchifolius plant native to the Andes in South America. Today it is used as a low calorie sweetener. The recognized health benefits of yacon have led to its use as a dietary supplement too. It has been found through research that the yacon root has beneficial effects for people wanting to lose weight, for those with high cholesterol and for those struggling with digestive issues. There are no documented adverse side effects according to an article written by Derek Bryan in May 2014 for Livestrong.com.
When you research the health benefits of yacon syrup you will find there are many.
Supports Weight Loss
According to a study published in April 2009 in "Clinical Nutrition," obese women who consumed 0.14 to 0.29 grams of yacon syrup per kilogram of body weight each day over the course of 120 days lost weight, body mass index and waist circumference. These results were attributed to the noted increase in bowel movements as well as feeling full after eating.
Reduces Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Yacon root contains a type of sugar called fructooligosaccharide, which can lower levels of triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol. A study published in October 2011 in "Chemico-Biological Interactions" found that diabetic rats supplemented with yacon root daily showed lower levels of fasting plasma triacylglycerol, a triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol. The study published in April 2009 in "Clinical Nutrition" confirmed that LDL cholesterol levels were reduced in people after daily yacon consumption as well. Lower levels of lipids like triglycerides and LDL cholesterol are linked with a lower risk of heart disease.
Reduces Blood Glucose
Studies have found yacon can lower blood glucose and resistance to insulin. Because of this the syrup may be a good substitute sugar for diabetics because yacon's fibers aren't immediately digested. But since the syrup contains simple sugars, it is still important to monitor blood glucose after eating it, scientists say, as sited by Laura Johannes in the Wall Street Journal in June 2014.
Yacon contains compounds that work as prebiotics, improving digestive health, even treating certain types of colitis. These prebiotics influence the development of microflora in the digestive tract, improving gastrointestinal fermentation. The increased bowel movements associated with yacon root are thought to be because of this prebiotic effect.
My personal observations
I ordered yacon syrup from Amazon. It was recommended by Dr. Oz that you eat a teaspoon at every meal, three times a day. I did this consistently at first. I found that I definitely lost weight when I consumed the yacon while I was also being mindful of what I ate and continued my exercise regime. The weight loss did not continue when I traveled or was not watching what I ate carefully enough.
It did seem to make me feel fuller. The best was, to get personal for a moment, my bowel movement regularity. Since I am someone with IBS I was worried how the yacon syrup would affect me. The good news it had no negative effects and in fact, improved things greatly. And it was not just my regularity that improved but also my digestion, weightloss and, the last time I had my cholesterol tested, it was lower too. For all these reasons, I plan on continuing to use yacon syrup.
The taste of the syrup is sweet. It reminds me of a chocolate flavored molasses. There are many recipes available where you can use it in baking or for a variety of dishes or salad dressings. I am happy just swallowing my teaspoon at every meal.
I have tested out three different varieties of yacon syrup. I went for those that were the lowest in price but were 100% yacon syrup. It is not cheap. It runs about $17.00 a bottle. Once you have about a third left in the bottle I found it gets very thick. I always add some sugar free vanilla syrup to thin it out so it will continue to pour. That is the only negative I have found and each of the syrup varieties seems to do the same thing.
So in summary, I would say there is truth in advertising when it comes to the claims made about yacon syrup. It has worked for me.