Native to the South American Andes, yacon has been gaining worldwide attention as a new nutritional supplement. It is rich in inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS), sugar compounds that are not absorbed by the digestive tract and have not been found to increase blood sugar levels. This study has investigated yacon syrup's potential food applications, alone and mixed with yogurt, as well as its effects on appetite.
This study involved two separate experiments: Test A was a 2-week long, double-blinded, placebo-controlled experiment, while Test B included a one-time yacon syrup consumption. Each group of volunteers was given the same dose of the syrup, consisting of 8.74 grams per day. The researchers have studied the effects on five aspects of appetite: energy intake, hunger, satiety, fullness, and prospective food consumption.
The taste of yacon syrup was more appreciated by the volunteers when it was mixed with yogurt. The study has also found that yacon in syrup form has positive effects on appetite suppression. Interestingly, women -after 2 weeks of consumption - were more likely than men to report yacon's beneficial effects, such as hunger control and satiety.
What Does This Mean?
The yacon root provides natural sweetness without adding calories, because it contains sugars that are not digested by the body. This study has found that increasing FOS consumption may improve satiety and fullness, which might be particularly valuable for people struggling with diabetes and obesity, or those trying to limit glucose intake for other health-related reasons.
Discovering new food applications of yacon is therefore important to expanding its uses and making its medicinal properties even more available. Besides syrup, yacon can also be purchased in powder form, similar to other herbs that are well-known as natural sweeteners, such as stevia.
- Food Research International, Yacon syrup: Food applications and impact on satiety in healthy volunteers, 2017