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Yacon is a fruit from the South America...this is from another forum I am on and a doc (a DO to be exact) has been researching ingredients in a product:
Found in the Andes mountains in Peru, it is known for it's sweet, crisp root tubers (think carrot or long radish). The texture and flavor is like a cross between a watermelon and an apple. This is why it is sometimes called the apple of the earth.
Yacon is a powerful anti-oxidant and has been shown to protect liver cells from oxidative damage. It also has some insulin-like effects by reducing glucose production in the liver.
But it gets better. Yacon has a whole host of indirect effects as well.
Yacon is important because it has one of the highest concentrations of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) of any plant known to man. These are sweet tasting, big sugar molecules that are not digestible by people, therefore they are considered source of dietary fiber. Since FOS's pass undigested through the GI system, they add sweetness without adding extra calories or causing a spike in blood sugar.
Although we don't use them for energy the "good bacteria" in your large intestine do! (By the process of fermentation.) This helps the good bugs grow and keeps the bad bugs in check, maintaining a favorable balance that keeps you healthy.
This is what they mean when they Shakeology contains "prebiotics." Prebiotics are special food ingredients that promote growth of good gut bacteria, thus conferring health benefits upon you (the host).
Yacon specifically stimulates the growth of a type of good bacteria called Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus.
OK, so why is this important?
There is evidence that Bifidobacteia are involved in all kinds of healthy stuff!
-associated with decreased incidence of allergies
-boost the immune system
-control gut pH
-may help prevent antibiotic associated diarrhea
-one type (B. Infantis) has been shown to dramatically reduce irritable bowel syndrome symptoms
-control the population of bad actors like E. Coli
-control growth of Candida Albicans (yeast)
Any woman who has ever had a yeast infection can tell you how important that last one is!
Now when I read about the fermentation I thought uh-oh- this is why Barbie and DocSoc have been hearing all those whoopie cushion noises lately!
Apparently not! When Bifidobacteria ferment sugars, they convert them to lactic and acetic acid, NOT methane gas! People with high levels of Bifidobacteria actually produce less gas! Sorry guys, the source of your toots must be something other than the Yacon! (I feel like a detective.)
And finally, for today, there is growing evidence that prebiotics can protect against the formation and growth of colon cancers! The jury is still out on this, and some of the evidence is contradictory, and the optimal dose of prebiotics has not been figured out yet, but there are several positive studies suggesting prebiotics may have a role in colon cancer prevention.
I know this is a long post, but Yacon turns out to be a fascinating plant that makes the so-called "super foods" look pretty mediocre in comparison!
I've left out more cutting edge stuff on Yacon. My crack team of investigative reporters just found a summary from paper that hasn't made it to print yet. It is a well designed study of Yacon on everyone's favorite subject--weight loss.
So it's a natural artificial sweetener...... Non-digestible sugars like erythrotol, stevia, etc.
Until there are some good studies about how it impacts our bodies, don't believe everything you read, especially when the sources have a financial interest in its promulgation. That's the same problem with ADM funding studies showing how good healthyheartywholegrains are for you.