You probably have blurry memories of knocking back tequila shots, followed by an aching headache the following day. But does recent research suggests this post-midnight villain has a heroic side?
According to a study presented at the American Chemical Society’s 247th National Meeting, the agave plant – from which tequila is made - contain a special ingredient that can help control blood sugar levels.
The secret component? A naturally occurring sweetener known as agavins, which slows the stomach from emptying and boosts insulin production. They’re also non-digestible, acting as crucial dietary fibre.
“We believe that agavins have a great potential as light sweeteners since they are sugars, highly soluble, have a low glycemic index, and a neutral taste, but most important, they are not metabolised by humans,” says researcher, Dr Mercedes G. Lopez. “This puts agavins in a tremendous position for their consumption by obese and diabetic people.”
Researchers monitored mice and fed them different diets. A group of mice were given water added with agavins and generally ate less, lost weight and showed lower blood sugar levels when compared with controls.
The bad news: according to Lopez, agavins are only one component of tequila. They contribute to the carbohydrate component, López says, and it’s only after the agave pines are cooked that the fructose and glucose turns into alcohol.
Translation: no, you’ll find no dietary benefit in shotting tequila. But there could be benefit in swapping agavins in for sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup
In Australia, 280 people develop diabetes every day – one person every five minutes. That’s on top of the 1.7 million Australians that have already been diagnosed with this potentially fatal disease.
And, yes, excessive drinking can raise your risk of developing diabetes. Find out 5 myths about Diabetes here.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health