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.

Yacon syrup not only effectively boosted metabolism and aided weight loss, but also stabilized blood sugar levels.

“Now this is why I’m passionate about it, it’s not just about losing weight, yes you’ll get that I know that’s why people will try this, but if it can get your blood sugar down that’s a goldmine for us when it comes to your health,” said Dr. Oz.

Yacon Syrup: The Downside

While Dr. Oz’s experiment looks very promising with good results, the study does have several limitations. It is not known whether the weight the participants lost is due to the yacon syrup or the placebo effect. It may be possible that the participants expected to lose weight and therefore felt more obliged to strictly follow their diets. A placebo-controlled study should be done to further test the effects of yacon syrup on a larger cohort.

Dr. Garth Davis, an obesity specialist, was asked to weigh in on the results of Dr. Oz’s experiment and other yacon syrup human trials. He believes that, while the studies show impressive results, they fail to go into extensive detail about what diet the participants utilized. Dr. Davis fears that people will treat the syrup as a “magic pill” to help them lose weight quickly rather than see it as an additional supplement to a healthy lifestyle. Adding more fruits and vegetables to one’s diet would be a much more health-conscious route than adding yacon syrup, according to Davis.

4 Ways The Holidays Hurt Your Health

A couple carrying Christmas presentsThe holidays are upon us, and the increased hustle and bustle can take a serious toll on the healthy habits we strive to stick to every day. neuroSONIC recently released the results of a survey that reveals just how much the holidays impact our health and fitness routines, highlighting stats about working out, energy levels, and more.

READ: Fall Foods That Burn Fat

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  • The survey reveals that 41 percent of respondents admit that their workout routine decreases during the holidays and 9 percent says it completely stops. While people may believe they are not getting their exercise in during the holidays, shopping may make up for the missed gym hours. Wearing a pedometer while holiday shopping is a great way to indicate how much exercise you are getting!
  • The survey points out that 48 percent of respondents claim to work on the holidays and 16 percent sometimes work during the holidays. While it’s unfortunate that such a large percentage of people are not able to enjoy a break from work during the holidays, there are exercises that can be done discretely while at your desk. For example, you can easily do leg extensions, back twists and toe raises all while staying seated on your chair!
  • 40 percent of respondents indicate that shopping is the most draining activity during the holidays. Twenty-eight percent of Americans are ahead of the game and do the majority of their holiday shopping prior to Black Friday. This is an excellent way to relieve some of the added stress of the holidays and leave some free time for your daily exercise routine.
  • The survey also indicates that 38 percent of respondents claim to be more tired during the holidays. Overcoming low energy levels to tackle workouts during the demanding holiday season is easier than you think! There are plenty of ways to increase energy with low calorie drinks or snack options, such as neuro SONIC, which provides sustained energy for only 35 calories.

READ: 4 Things About Fall That Can Make You Fat

How Can You Be Healthier This Holiday Season?

  • Don’t let holiday travel get in the way of your active lifestyle. With frequent flight delays over the season, sometimes you can spend multiple hours sitting in a terminal waiting for your plane to board. Use this time to store your luggage in a locker and take a long walk through the airport. Consider downloading a fitness tracker app, like Strava or MapMyRun, to your smartphone to keep track of the distance you walked.
  • Forty-seven percent of survey respondents claim to feel mentally drained in the afternoon. A great way to maintain energy throughout the day is by working out before heading to work. Of course waking  up early can be daunting, but morning workouts energize you, boost your metabolism, and give you a sense of accomplishment that lasts all day.
  • Many people terminate their fitness plan over the holidays because they don’t have access to a gym while traveling. With all of the fitness accessories available today, you can easily shift your workout plan to fit your location. A jump rope, strengthening bands, running shoes, or even a yoga mat are all items that you can toss into your suitcase for a quick workout away from home!

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