Can Yacon Lower Blood Sugar?

March 18, 2014
Nutritional Outlook, Nutritional Outlook Vol. 17 No. 3, Volume 17, Issue 3

If so, its fiber compounds may be the reason why.

Like other tuberous roots, yacon is rich in inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Both of these fibrous compounds have multiple manufacturing uses and potential health benefits, but a curious collection of studies has centered on inulin and FOS for blood sugar control. Historically, results of these studies have been mixed. A new study on yacon powder, however, just had some fruitful results.

For nine weeks, Brazilian researchers fed 70 elderly women freeze-dried yacon powder or control (maltodextrin) daily. The yacon powder-roughly a tablespoon each day-contained 7.4 g of FOS.

Compared to control, those who consumed yacon powder saw a mean decrease in blood sugar, but no decrease in cholesterol. Yacon intake was well tolerated and without bloating, intestinal discomfort, or a certain other side effect associated with fiber.

The researchers speculate that yacon provided this effect because yacon is a prebiotic food. The FOS in yacon and other foods ferment in the digestive system, producing short-chain fatty acids that “enter the portal blood and may influence systemic carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.”

Again, research on inulin, FOS, and blood sugar (and insulin) is ongoing, but if yacon can lower blood sugar, it likely has its fibrous compounds to thank for that.

 

Robby Gardner

Associate Editor

Nutritional Outlook magazine

robby.gardner@ubm.com

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