A key ingredient in tequila could aid weight loss and control blood sugars for diabetics, research suggests.
A study has found a link between weight loss and an ingredient in the agave plant which is used to make the Mexican drink.
The plant's naturally occurring sugars, called agavins, can also help lower blood sugar too, say researchers.
This could mean a new sweetener could be created that could benefit obese people and the 3.5 million Britons and 28 million Americans who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
Agavins are non-digestible which means they act as a dietary fibre and won't raise your blood sugar.
Furthermore, agavins can help people feel fuller and therefore cause them to eat less, according to research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas.
'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 metabolized by humans,' said Dr Mercedes G. López, who carried out the research.
'This puts agavins in a tremendous position for their consumption by obese and diabetic people.'
How the study was carried out
To reach their conclusions, the researchers fed a group of mice a standard diet and added agavins to their water.
The mice who were given agavins ate less, lost weight and their blood glucose levels decreased in comparison with other sweeteners such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, agave syrup and aspartame.
This study is the first attempt to evaluate the effects of agavins, which are not as sweet in taste as sugar, as sweeteners.
Dr López explained that agavins, like other fructans, are the best sugars to help support growth of healthy microbes in the mouth and intestines.
What the experts say
'Agavins are not expensive and they have no known side effects, except for those few people who cannot tolerate them,' said Dr López.
However, the findings probably do not give the green light to hit the bar if you want to lose weight or control your diabetes.
Health platform diabetes.co.uk wrote 'we mustn’t get carried away' about the findings.
'No other study has reached this conclusion, and the dangers of drinking lots of alcohol with diabetes remain the same,' an article on the report said.
'In other words, this study should in no way encourage you to drink bottles and bottles of tequila.
'It does suggest that agavin might have some interesting properties. We look forward to more studies on the subject in the future.
'In the meantime, we have a new low-carb option when we visit the bar.'
The alcoholic drink doesn’t contain any agavins, however, because the fermentation process converts the sugars into the alcohol ethanol.
Source: Daily Mail