By Alexandra Sifferlin
March 18, 2014
TIME Health
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Sugars found in the plant that makes tequila could lower blood glucose levels for people with type 2 diabetes, and help obese people lose weight, researchers say.

A type of natural sugar called agavins come from the agave plant, which can be used to make tequila. These sugars (which are not the same as in the more commonly known agave syrup) are non-digestible and do not raise blood sugar, according to Mexican researchers.

In new research, the team of scientists fed mice a standard diet, and added agavins to some of their water. They discovered that the mice who consumed agavins ate less overall and had lower blood glucose levels. The effects were stronger than other artificial sweeteners like aspartame and agave syrup. The mice consuming agavins also produced a hormone called GLP-1 that keeps the stomach full longer and produces insulin, which is another reason it could be beneficial for people with diabetes and weight issues.

“This puts agavins in a tremendous position for their consumption by obese and diabetic people,” the study authors write. “We believe agavins have a great potential as a light sweetener.”

The research was presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Dallas.

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