Keep the slammers coming (responsibly, of course): agave, a naturally-occuring sugar that makes up the party favorite beverage tequila, might be the answer to diabetics' quest for the sweet stuff.

Presented to the American Chemical Society, Mexican scientists demonstrated their findings on mice, who had separated in seven different groups. Each group was fed water - one plain, with the other six receiving one of either agave syrup, agavins, aspartame, fructose, glucose, fructose, or sucrose. The mice who received agavins and plain water had the best results - decreased food intake, weight, and blood glucose levels. Increased satiety was also a key finding, with the fructose-based agavins possibly assisting weight loss efforts. 

"We believe agavins have a great potential as a light sweetener," wrote Mercedes G. López of the Centro de Incetagcioan y de Estudios Avanzados, Biotechnology and Biochemistry Irapuato in Guanajuato. "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." Lopez also noted its insulin regulation potential: "We have found that since agavins reduce glucose levels and increase GLP-1, they also increase the amount of insulin."

Agave, the mildy-flavored natural sweetener, has already found its niche amidst the raw-food movement and Paleo diets - you'd be hard-pressed to enter a health food store that didn't stock it. For diabetics, though, the potential is immense. Still, best be wary if you're looking to tequila as your source of agave, because while Mexican law stipulates that the spirit must be made of 100 percent agave, the United States doesn't have the same restrictions. In fact, up to to 49 percent of what's in each bottle can be something else - usually a blend of additives and sugar-based alcohols that will throw anybody - even a non-diabetic - a digestive curve ball. 

Agave also promotes the growth of certain beneficial microbes that develop in the mouth and intestinal tract. Most crucially, agavins are non-digestible, thus acting in the body as dietary fiber without escalating blood sugar levels. This characteristic - the inability to break down - is largely beneficial, though there are some people who react adversely to consumption. Nevertheless, among those who can tolerate them, agave has not been known to present any negative side effects. 

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