A New Natural Sweetener That Might Actually Be Good For You

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02_IMG_1734_CROP2_r_PhotoChristyKurtzPhotographed By Christy Kurtz.
Americans have been obsessed with substituting regular old sugar since sales of saccharine became widespread during WWI food shortages. Now, in an effort to ditch calories and carbs without sacrificing sweetness, consumers turn to the likes of Splenda, Stevia, and other artificial and plant-based sweeteners. But, there's a new kid on the block, and it's one you'll definitely want to know about. A new study says that agavins, which are made from the blue agave plant (typically used to make tequila), might actually be associated with significant health benefits.

Unlike table sugar, agavins (not to be confused with agave, the sweetener from the same plant) are non-digestible, meaning the body doesn’t actually absorb them. As a result, the sugar substitute doesn’t raise blood glucose — great news considering the scary health consequences of having too much sugar in the blood (increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, to name a few).

In the study, mice were fed a standard diet and agavins were added to their daily water intake. Mice that consumed agavins actually ate less, lost weight, and had a decrease in glucose levels compared to other sweeteners, including glucose, sucrose, fructose, agave syrup, and aspartame. The study’s author says agavins are both inexpensive and have no known side effects. One downfall, she points out: They’re not as sweet as other artificial sweeteners on the market.

Of course, it’s clear that there’s plenty more research needed on agavins before we all start dumping the stuff into our coffee on a daily basis. (They’re not even on store shelves yet.) Since this study was conducted on mice, we can’t be sure agavins are safe for humans nor can we touch on possible long-term side effects. Still, we're hoping this means we can finally ditch the Splenda for good. (Forbes)