The South American yacón plant is often cultivated for its edible root, which can be juiced and evaporated to produce a syrup. The high fructooligosaccharide content of yacón root has drawn recent attention. A type of soluble fiber, fructooligosaccharide functions as a prebiotic, feeding beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Research has found that it may improve blood lipids, prevent constipation and improve absorption of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Fructooligosaccharide has potential to regulate blood glucose levels, especially for individuals with diabetes.
However, few studies have examined the effects of yacón syrup on humans. One study on obese women without diabetes found that when consuming yacón syrup before meals for 120 days, participants experienced a significant reduction in body weight, BMI, waist circumference, serum insulin and LDL cholesterol, and a significant increase in frequency of defecation. Glucose levels did not change significantly. More research is needed on yacón syrup as a supplement for individuals with diabetes, and currently, there is insufficient evidence to promote its use as a weight-loss aid.