New research shows that tequila, the potent alcohol made from the distilled blue agave plant, really does make your clothes fall off, as the song says. And it’s not because of risque behavior (all though that is always a possibility) — it’s because the blue agave plant used to make tequila can actually promote weight loss.
Normally, indulging in alcohol is the equivalent to simply throwing back a ton of empty calories, and so drinking alcohol is often the first thing eliminated from a diet that promotes weight loss. But tequila proves to be the exception to the rule, according to a new study by the American Chemical Society.
Dr. Mercedes G. López, a scientist with the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados, Biotechnology and Biochemistry Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico, explained the science behind the findings at the 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), held in Dallas, Texas.
“Agavins contain fructoses, which begs the question: Are agavins like high-fructose corn syrup, a processed sweetener that has gotten a lot of bad press recently? […] Indeed, high-fructose corn syrup is loaded with fructose sugars and, therefore, can raise blood sugar levels. But agavins are fructans, which are fructoses linked together in long, branched chains. The human body can’t use them in that configuration, so they don’t affect blood sugar, she explained. Agavins also sometimes get confused with agave nectar or agave syrup, which appears on many health-food store shelves. These products contain fructans that have been broken down into individual fructoses, so they are much more similar to high-fructose corn syrup.”
The important take-away from that is the fact that agavins not only lower blood sugar levels, they also help people feel full longer, which could lead to lower calorie intake and eventually result in weight loss. Furthermore, agavins happen to have even further positive health impacts.
“We have found that since agavins reduce glucose levels and increase GLP-1, they also increase the amount of insulin,” said Dr. López, Ph.D.
GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) is a “hormone that slows the stomach from emptying, thereby stimulating production of insulin.”
She added, “Agavins are not expensive and they have no known side effects, except for those few people who cannot tolerate them.”
Furthermore, agavins, like other fructans, are the “best sugars to help support growth of healthful microbes in the mouth and intestines,” according to Dr. López.
During the study conducted by Dr. López, she and her team fed a group of mice a standard diet and added agavins to their daily water. The team then weighed the mice daily and checked their blood sugar levels weekly. The scientists found that most of the mice who drank the agavin-spiked water ate less, lost weight, and had their blood sugar levels decrease in comparison to other sweeteners such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, agave syrup, and aspartame.
The American Chemical Society studied the effects that tequila has on blood glucose levels and found that the sugars found in the blue agave plant that makes tequila can actually lower your blood sugar. The sugars that occur naturally in the agave plant, agavins, which is completely different than the popular agave syrup, are not digestible. This lack of digestibility translates into lower blood sugar.
“This study represents the first attempt to evaluate agavins as sweeteners in spite of their lower sweetness compared to sugar,” she said.
Although no scientist is coming forward and encouraging anyone to start doing shots or indulge in a round of margaritas, knowing that the agave-based alcohol may actually promote weight loss might make a tequila-based beverage sound even more enticing. After all, it’s all in the name of health, right? And if you don’t think you can survive solely on a tequila-based diet, no worries — check out the taco cleanse that claims you can lose weight by eating — you guessed it — tacos.