Yacon Syrup – a Sweet Solution for Weight Loss?

January 5, 2015 Updated: January 5, 2015

Losing weight has always been about avoiding sweet simple sugars and high caloric foods.  But after hearing about Yacon syrup as a weight loss aid, the idea of a sugar restrictive diet has changed.  It sounds skeptical at first, but there has been actual research done to prove the effectiveness of this claim.

The extensive research and studies that have been done about Yacon syrup have made this dietary product worth considering.  The Yacon plant is typically found in South America around the mountain range of the Andes.  It is also called Smallanthus sonchifolius and the tuberous roots of this plant are the main ingredient of the Yacon syrup.

Yet one thing that is not new to native South Americans is that the plant’s extract had been known for its medicinal value for centuries.  It had been used in alleviating and treating digestive problems, diabetes, and kidney disorders.  The Yacon simply looks like a regular root crop or just try picturing a sweet potato but with a soft and juicy flesh.

Yacon root (Shutterstock*)
Yacon root (Shutterstock*)

The production of the Yacon syrup starts by extracting the juices from the tuberous roots, filtering, and distilling the liquid through a non-chemical process.  The manufacturing process closely resembles the way maple syrup is made.  Thus, Yacon syrup’s consistency and color is practically the same as maple syrup and molasses.

Coined by the famous diet expert Dr. Mehmet Oz as a metabolism game changer, this medicinal and dietary product has recently become one of the most popular weight loss supplement.  Nevertheless, Dr. Oz has recommended a myriad of dietary products that may or may not really work.  The point is, you may consider using this product perhaps after weighing your options.

If you have to do your own research, the Yacon syrups is one of the best sources of the dietary component FOS or “fructooligosaccharides“.  Roughly about 50% of the Yacon syrup contains FOS which is a non-digestible sugar.  Although a small portion of Yacon still consists of sucrose, fructose, and glucose; taking the syrup would still amount to having one third of the caloric value of simple sugar.  Hence, this product is a great alternative to sugar especially for those who still wants the sweet flavor sans the high calorie content.

But the real power of the Yacon syrup does not end on the tongue’s preference to sweet flavor.  Due to Yacon’s high fiber content and its high percentage of fructooligosaccharides; it does a great favor to the friendly bacteria in our internal body system.  It actually feeds the good bacteria in the large intestine which is a powerful element in improving the immunity and brain function as well as preventing diabetes.  The good bacteria in our internal body system, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, feed on FOS and eventually multiply in good numbers.

To prove the beneficial effects of taking Yacon syrup, clinical trials through placebo and double-blind environments have been conducted.  For four months, 40 women were asked to take the Yacon syrup while the placebo group of 15 women took another syrup without any medicinal ingredients.  At the same time, all the test subjects were asked to take a safely designed low calorie and low fat diet.

The results are overwhelming.  Those who have taken the Yacon syrup lost an average of 15 kilograms.  On the other hand, the placebo group never lost weight.  Instead, the 15 test subjects have gained about 1.6 kilograms.

(belchonock/iStock/Thinkstock)
(belchonock/iStock/Thinkstock)

The differences in the groups’ results have made a great impact on how some dietary products enhance the diet process.  Some key observations during the study are that those who took the Yacon syrup have  regular frequency in body waste elimination and their risk for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes have lowered by 67%.  There was also a 29% decrease in the Yacon group’s bad cholesterol level or LDL.

The commendable improvement in the Yacon group makes the dietary product not only an effective element in losing weight but also in improving overall health.  Other similar studies have already been done on numerous high fiber fruits and plants; which technically makes the medicinal Yacon syrup as another player in the weight loss aid arena.

Skeptics may also have a point in scrutinizing this kind of clinical trial as the study was only done in a short period of 4 months.  We all know that one major challenge in dieting is that people tend to gain back what they have lost after a few months of maintaining low calorie diets.  The tendency of dieters in going back to their heavy weight is highly probable.  The point is, diet programs and weight loss products must provide safe long term effects.

Believing that the Yacon syrup is the most effective dietary supplement in the market is simply unwise.  Take the time to consider some elements that may have not been considered during the clinical tests and research.  Different individuals have different health reasons and situations.  Weight problems have been increasingly hard tackle due to people’s various diseases and lifestyle.  What works for the Yacon group may not be completely true to another individual.

All I am saying here is that, there are other factors (physical, mental, environmental) that may have not been considered in these clinical trials.  Although the product is also rich in other vitamins and minerals like potassium and antioxidants, one must be keen in knowing its side effects.

Some of the common ill-effects of using high fiber and high FOS products are nausea, diarrhea or lose bowel movement, flatulence, stomachache, and other digestive disorders.  When using Yacon syrup during weight loss, it is advised to take the proper dosage which is about 4-5 teaspoons of the syrup daily.

Ultimately, this is one dietary product that could work but perhaps not for long term.  A lifestyle revamp does not always rely on one weight loss product.  A health overhaul takes discipline and proper consideration of your body’s real needs.  It is wiser to stick to the basics by improving your eating habits and regularly maintaining physical fitness activities.

This article was originally published on rootandsprouts.com

*Images of “porridge” and “yacon root” via Shutterstock