Yacon syrup recently gained a huge amount of attention when Dr. Oz announced it to be a "metabolism game changer". We saw it first hand here at Healthy Goods as the phones instantly began to ring off the hook and our entire stock of yacon syrup literally flew off the shelves within hours of his episode airing!
Dr. Oz conducted a study, asking viewers to eat one teaspoon of yacon syrup with or before each meal for 28 days. Advised to not otherwise change their diet or exercise habits, the results were exciting. According to Dr. Oz, 73% of the participants lost an average of 2.9 pounds and experienced a reduction in waist size of 1.9 inches.
What is Yacon Root?
Yacon root is a relative of both the Jerusalem artichoke and sunflowers, and has this root vegetable that originated in the Andes has been enjoyed by South Americans for several centuries. The yacon root has a sweet taste and slightly crunchy texture. The root is often powdered or processed into a syrup, and used as a low glycemic sweetener.
Yacon root is considered to be one of the world's richest sources of fructoogliosaccharides (FOS), a unique type of inulin sugar that can't be absorbed by the body. FOS acts as a prebiotic, serving as a food for the "friendly" bacteria in the colon. These bacteria then convert FOS to short-chain fatty acids, which help inhibit cholesterol synthesis in the liver and enhance tissue sensitivity to insulin. FOS resists breakdown by enzymes in the human digestive system, and acts as a soluble fiber (to help prevent and control constipation).
Yacon root benefits may include helping to control appetite and food cravings, helping with metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Yacon also is high in antioxidants and potassium, and may help increase bone density.
Studies are few, and there is much more to learn about yacon's benefits and weight loss potential. Is it the FOS that gets credit, or the yacon root as a whole food that offers these benefits?
While Dr. Oz studied the effects of yacon root syrup, yacon root powder is another way to experience this root vegetable's wonderful benefits. Yacon root powder comes from ground, dried yacon root itself. (Yacon leaves can be potentially toxic, so only the root should be consumed.) Yacon root powder has been used as a sugar substitute and prebiotic fiber.
How to use Yacon Root Powder
Yacon root powder can be used as a sugar substitute for cooked or raw "baked" goods, as an addition to a superfood smoothie, sprinkled on top of cereals or oatmeal, or added to beverages. The root powder is not as sweet as sugar, so expect a slightly less sweet flavor if replacing sugar on a 1:1 ratio in your baked goods. Try it in a superfood muffin recipe or to make a super healthy cookie.
Yacon syrup is slightly sweeter than yacon root powder, and has a consistancy, color, and flavor similar to molassas. For this reason, subsituting yacon root powder for yacon root syrup in a recipe may not bring about the same results. The powder will act as a "dry" ingredient, where the syrup would act as a "moist" ingredient. (Yacon root syrup could be substituted for molassas, however!)
Yacon root may be a new thing to the mass public, but it has been used as a sugar substitute by healthy home cooks and those with blood sugar conditions for quite some time. Not to mention eaten by Andes residents for generations! There is an ever-growing number of yacon recipes available on the web, and there is nothing more fun than experimenting yourself in your own kitchen.
If you have a favorite recipe for yacon root, leave us a review on the yacon root powder or syrup and share it with others!
Melissa Zimmerman, Healthy Goods