Yacon Do It! Find out why we're putting this Peruvian superfood in EVERYTHING these days!
Sooooo, if you’ve tried Metabrew recently, you may have noticed that you said, “Wow,” just a little louder than last time. We’re so pleased to announce a minor reformulation of both our coffee and our tea flavors, and we’re so glad we didn’t jump right in the vat of brew like we wanted to. Seriously, if you haven’t tried it recently, go and get you some (especially the Tea!), it’ll change your life.
There is one thing about the new Metabrew that may give some of you folks just a little pause -- Metabrew now has 1g of added sugar. I know, but it’s alllll good. That’s because the sugar is coming from something real real healthy called Yacon root syrup.
Yacon is a perennial daisy that’s similar to a sunflower, and grown all over the world (though it’s native to that cornucopia of unusual and awesome plants, the country of Peru -- y’all should check out this Chef’s Table episode if you’re interested in more about the many different biospheres Peru houses). The Yacon plant itself can grow up to eight feet tall in the right climate, but the reason this plant has been prized for centuries by Peruvians is buried underground.
The tuberous roots of the Yacon plant are extraordinarily watery (the word Yacon likely comes from the Quechan word ‘Llacon’ meaning ‘watery’ or ‘water root’), and a syrup can be made by evaporating this juice much the way a maple syrup is made. The reason why this syrup is so so special though is because of something called Fructooligosaccharides, or FOS.
So, as you know, sugar is the last thing we want any of y’all to be putting into your bodies, and we still believe it’s about as bad for the American food system as anything. But lemme tell ya, FOS has got it going on in a serious way.
You see, FOS is a certain kind of carbohydrate that our tongue recognizes as sweet but our stomachs cannot actually digest. Instead, it completely bypasses our stomachs, enters our livers, and contributes to the growth of helpful gut bacteria (1). So basically, we can eat it and it tastes sweet, but it feeds microbiotas in our intestines, and they go, Wooooo. If you’ve ever wondered what a prebiotic is, this is pretty much textbook (food that can’t be digested by the human body, but instead feed bacteria in our digestive system).
These microbiotas are extremely helpful at promoting overall digestive health, which is associated with a lower risk of diabetes, better immunity, improved brain function, and general modulation of the immune system, helping us fight infection, and keeping us from having allergies like Chuckie from Rugrats (2).
Apart from that, these microflora are also super helpful in the creation of short-chain fatty acids which have been proven to have anti-obesity effects (at least in rodents) (4). Sooo it’s in your best interest to make these little guys happy -- buy them a birthday card, ask more personal questions, and drink lots and lots of Metabrew cause it’s chock full of this micro-flora-food.
Now, many plants have high concentrations of FOS, like Jerusalem artichokes, blue agave, and bananas, but nothing really measures up to Yacon. Annnnd, there just isn’t a better tasting sugar alternative out there than this tubular tuber. A word to the wise, DO NOT BAKE OR COOK with Yacon -- it’ll break down that FOS and turn it back into regular old sugar.
There’s also all this good good stuff about Yacon that I don’t want to put into paragraph form..
In one study, Yacon root syrup had a dramatic effect on weight loss on pre-menopausal women (although there are certainly some reasons to be skeptical of the results) (5)
Yacon Root might help with constipation, regulating the digestive system, and aiding in maintaining a healthy weight (6)
It is fairly high in antioxidants and potassium as well
It’s probably most effective to eat about an hour before a meal for maximum prebiotic benefit
It naturally boosts testosterone in males
It helps in the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the colon
So yeah, y’all, even though there’s just a lil bit of this stuff in Metabrew, we hope it’ll make your little gut flora happy!
- Iván Manrique, Adelmo Párraga, Michael Hermann. Yacon Syrup: Principles and Processing