What Is Yacon Syrup?

    A glass dish filled with yacon syrup

    What is yacon syrup, and how can it help you?

    Diet and exercise, while vital aspects of a healthy lifestyle, can be difficult. But according to a Dr. Oz study, people trying to meet weight loss goals may be able to get a little dietary help.

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    According to Dr. Oz, yacon syrup can help women lose up to 5 lbs. in four weeks. The syrup derives from South America, high in the Andes Mountains, and is considered to be a staple in the Peruvian diet. It is commonly used as a natural sweetener, effectively serving as a substitute for sugar in some ways. Yacon syrup is described as “candy in a jar” and is “similar to molasses,” says Dr. Oz’s study participants, averaging a total of seven calories per teaspoon with a high fiber content.

    According to the International Potato Center, yacon syrup contains approximately 30 percent of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) — a type of fructo-polysaccharide used as an alternative sweetener — and also has low levels of simple sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose.

    The human body does not have an enzyme to break down FOS, which causes it to pass through the digestive tract unmetabolized, providing few calories, Dr. Oz said. FOS acts as a soluble fiber that increases stool bulk to help prevent and even control constipation. It can help sufferers of metabolic syndrome combat high cholesterol and diabetes. As a probiotic, the syrup acts as food for “friendly” bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus in the small intestines and the colon.

    To examine the effects of yacon syrup on a group of overweight women, Dr. Oz originally asked 60 female viewers of The Dr. Oz Show to consume one tablespoon of yacon syrup with or before each meal — breakfast, lunch, and dinner — for four weeks while not making any other changes in their diets or exercise habits. Out of the 60 female participants, only 40 completed the study trial.

    Twenty-nine out of the 40 participants reported weight loss of some sort while 14 women lost 5 lbs. or more. The average weight loss among the female viewers was about 3 lbs. In addition, there was a 1.9-inch reduction in waist size, according to Dr. Oz. Overall, more than half of the participants would recommend yacon syrup as a weight loss tool.

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