DALLAS, March 19 (UPI) -- Agavins -- used in tequila -- reduced weight and blood sugar in mice prone to diet-induced obesity and type 2 diabetes, researchers in Mexico say.
Mercedes G. Lopez of the Centro de Investigacion y de Estudios Avanzados, Biotechnology and Biochemistry Irapuato in Guanajuato said male mice were randomly distributed into seven groups of four mice. One group received a standard diet and plain water. The others received a standard diet plus water supplemented with either glucose, fructose, sucrose, agave syrup, agavins, or aspartame.
Agavins, from the stem of the agave plant, is native to the Western Hemisphere.
Mice that consumed agavins in their water reduced their food intake, lost weight, and showed a reduction in blood glucose levels, MedPage Today reported.
The study is the first to attempt to evaluate agavins as an alternative sweetener, Lopez said.
"We believe agavins have a great potential as a light sweetener," Lopez wrote in the study. "They are sugars, highly soluble, with a low glycemic index and a neutral taste."
They are also non-digestable and act as dietary fiber.
"This puts agavins in a tremendous position for their consumption by obese and diabetic people," Lopez wrote.
There's a significant difference between agavins and the agave syrup and nectar marketed as an alternative to sugar, Lopez said.
The currently available agave products are made of fructans that have been broken down into individual fructoses and are similar to high-fructose corn syrup.
The agavins used in the study were from fructans made of long branched chains of fructose that act as a dietary fiber and do not raise blood sugar, Lopez explained in the study.
The study was supported by Mondelez International and Agavaceae Produce.
The findings were presented at the American Chemical Society annual meeting in Dallas.