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Sugars found in tequila may protect against obesity, diabetes

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Tequila shots may do more than lighten the mood at a party; the drink may be beneficial for your health as well.

According to researchers from Mexico, natural sugars derived from the agave plant, called agavins, greatly protected a group of mice against diet-induced obesity and type 2 diabetes, MedPage Today reported.  

In a new study presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) annual meeting in Dallas, mice were distributed into seven groups.  One group received a diet of plain water, while the other groups received water supplemented with either aspartame, glucose, fructose, sucrose, agave syrup or agavins.

The mice that consumed agavins showed a reduction in food intake and weight and a decrease in blood glucose levels.  These findings were similar to the control group that received standard water.

Because agavins act as dietary fibers and do not raise blood sugar, the researchers believe the ingredient could be used as an alternative sweetening agent.

"We believe agavins have a great potential as a light sweetener," Mercedes G. López, of the Centro de Incetagcioan y de Estudios Avanzados, Biotechnology and Biochemistry Irapuato, in Guanajuato, Mexico wrote in the ACS abstract. "They are sugars, highly soluble, with a low glycemic index and a neutral taste…This puts agavins in a tremendous position for their consumption by obese and diabetic people."

The alcoholic beverage tequila is made from the blue agave plant, primarily around the Mexican city of Tequila.  However, Lopez noted that agavins are not widely available and not as sweet as regular sugars.

Click for more from MedPage Today.