Putting tequila and chocolate to the test
When Outliers heard the news about new research into tequila and cocoa, it sparked thoughts of prescriptions for a chocolate margarita. It seems research into substances linked to these items is shedding light on some promising health benefits. But, alas, tequila shots and chocolate bars aren’t likely to be recommended by your doctor anytime soon.
According to a study presented recently at an American Chemical Society meeting, a sweetener created from the plant used to make tequila could lower blood glucose levels and have other benefits. The agave plant contains a natural form of sugar called agavins, which researchers say showed much benefit in an animal study.
Investigators fed mice their normal diet, but added agavins to their water supply. Over time, the mice that drank the agavins ate less, lost weight and had lower blood sugar levels, when compared to the controlgroup mice, which drank sweeteners such as glucose, fructose, sucrose and aspartame.
The results are preliminary and need to be replicated, but in the meantime, researchers say, don’t expect that a margarita is going to provide the same effect, since the process of making alcohol changes the chemistry.
Likewise, chocoholics everywhere greedily consumed the news that researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle will be conducting a five-year study testing whether flavanols—the naturally occurring compounds found in cocoa beans—can help prevent heart attacks and strokes. More than 18,000 men and women nationwide will participate in the study sponsored by Mars—the maker of M&Ms, Snickers and Twix.
Patients won’t be gorging on chocolate bars, though. Just as the making of tequila puts the kibosh on agavins’ benefits, the process of producing chocolate does the same for flavanols. Researchers will be testing a high-dose supplement and a combination of multivitamins, which they hope will provide “conclusive evidence” on flavanols’ benefits.
Shots of tequila weren’t a part of the research into agave’s health benefits.