The Yacon Syrup Project

Yacon syrup could be the next big thing in weight loss. The Dr. Oz Show conducted its own test to see if it lived up to the hype.

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How It Works:
Yacon syrup is high in prebiotics, such as inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). The concentration of FOS, which are sugars found naturally in many plants, is particularly high in yacon syrup. FOS resist breakdown by enzymes in the human digestive system and reach the colon without being digested. This means that yacon syrup is very low in calories (about 20 calories per tablespoon). FOS also acts as a soluble fiber, which increases stool bulk to help prevent and control constipation.

Yacon's FOS also help feed beneficial bacteria in the colon such as Bifidus and Lactobacillus. Studies have linked these good bowel bacteria to anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting effects, and increasing their numbers may help maintain a healthy weight. In turn, these bacteria convert FOS to short-chain fatty acids, which help inhibit cholesterol synthesis in the liver and enhance tissue sensitivity to insulin. FOS has also been shown to modulate the production of certain gastrointestinal peptides that participate in gastric emptying rates and help regulate insulin levels and food intake. Yacon, therefore, may also help control appetite and food cravings, helping people eat less. Yacon has the potential to help with metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol and diabetes.

The potential benefits don't end there. Yacon consumption also appears to increase absorption of dietary minerals, and may make calcium more bioavailable. Studies have shown this could help increase bone density and delay the progression of osteoporosis. Studies also show that neutraceuticals, especially fructans such as yacon, may increase the efficiency of the immune system, lower infection risk and reduce digestive allergies.

How To Use It:
Yacon syrup tastes sweet with a consistency similar to molasses, and has been said to have a flavor like raisins or figs.

If you want to try yacon syrup for weight loss, take one teaspoon of 100% pure yacon syrup before or with each meal. Or you can use it as a sugar substitute. You can purchase yacon syrup at health food stores or online. Because of yacon syrup’s bowel movement-promoting properties, you may want to limit daily consumption to no more than 1-2 tablespoons. Check out these recipes to help you incorporate yacon into your diet, but keep in mind that heating yacon syrup to higher temperatures (as in baking) can affect some of its beneficial properties. To maximize its benefits, don't heat it above 70° C, though adding it to hot drinks like coffee or tea should be fine.

Most importantly, even though many of the viewers in our project reported losing weight, The Dr. Oz Show will not and does not promote any particular brand of yacon syrup. If you see any ads or receive any e-mails that claim Dr. Oz is promoting or recommending a specific brand, ignore it and let The Dr. Oz Show know about it

Who Should and Shouldn't Use It:
Yacon syrup may be especially helpful if you:

  • Are overweight or obese
  • Don't have a lot of fiber in your diet
  • Are constipated
  • Have elevated blood sugar

People who frequently suffer from diarrhea or loose stools may want to avoid yacon, as in larger amounts yacon syrup may cause diarrhea, bloating, flatulence and nausea. Do not take yacon if you are allergic to it or related foods such as sunflower seeds. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your doctor before trying yacon.