OK, so maybe that margarita you ordered at happy hour won’t contribute much to your weight loss goals, but according to new research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, the sugar found in the agave plant, which is used to make tequila, may lower blood glucose levels.
Mercedes G. López, Ph.D. conducted the study on mice by adding agavins (the natural form of sugar found in the agave plant) to their daily water intake. The weight and blood glucose levels of the mice were measured weekly and the study concluded that the mice who consumed the agavins ate less and had decreased blood glucose levels compared to when they consumed other sweeteners like glucose, fructose, sucrose, agave syrup and aspartame.
This is potentially good news for people with type 2 diabetes and anyone trying to lose weight because the research suggests that by boosting levels of a hormone called GLP-1 (which slows the stomach from emptying and stimulates insulin production), agavins could improve the body’s natural ability to control blood sugar and reduce appetite by helping people feel fuller for longer.
The study also found that because agavins aren’t absorbed by the body, they don’t increase blood sugar levels the way that sugars like sucrose, glucose, and fructose do. However, because the study was conducted on mice, whether or not agavins produce the same effect in humans is still unknown.
In her presentation López also explained that because the agavins are converted to ethanol during the fermentation process, they’re not present in a finished tequila product. That means, even if it turns out agavins have the same beneficial effects on humans, you couldn’t derive them from increasing your tequila intake.
“This study represents the first attempt to evaluate agavins as sweeteners in spite of their lower sweetness compared to sugar,” López said.
So go ahead, enjoy your margarita, there’ s nothing wrong with a little bit of indulgence (even for those with weight loss goals) but definitely don’t expect it to replace exercise and a wholesome diet.