Yacon syrup is a sweetener that’s derived from the roots of the yacon plant, which is native to South America. It’s used to add sweetness while improving the condition of your gut bacteria.
These beneficial effects of yacon syrup are thanks to its high contents of fructooligosaccharides, which are excellent sources of nourishments for the probiotic bacteria in your stomach and intestines.
It’s far better for your digestive and metabolic health compared to regular sugar, which is known to have negative effects on both metabolic health and gut flora.
If you want to add sweetness to your food and drinks while strengthening your digestive health, yacon syrup might be a good call. Our research team has ranked the ten best yacon syrups available right now—read on for our rankings.
1. Alovitox Yacon Syrup
Alovitox Yacon Syrup is a certified organic yacon syrup that’s processed using a special low-temperature procedure that ensures more of the biologically active compounds aren’t broken down by the heat.
Alovitox Yacon Syrup has a smooth, almost chocolate-like flavor that is distinctively different from other sugar alternatives. It’s versatile, healthy, and easy to use, which makes it our top pick.
2. Peruvian Naturals Yacon Syrup
Peruvian Naturals Yacon Syrup comes straight from Peru and is organically grown and certified. This 8.8 ounce jar is perfect for coffee and tea, and its taste is often compared to a rich, deep honey.
This makes it an attractive options for strict vegans who don’t eat real honey.
3. Nature Botanicals Yacon Syrup
Nature Botanicals Yacon Syrup comes in a three-pack of eight ounce containers, so it’s a good pick for those who go through a lot of yacon syrup on a regular basis.
The narrow neck makes it a little tricky to measure out large quantities, but at the same time, it’s very convenient for pouring straight into coffee or tea.
4. Amazon Therapeutic Labs Yacon Syrup
Amazon Therapeutic Labs Yacon Syrup comes in a larger 11 ounce bottle and is organically certified.
These qualities alone make it a fairly solid pick, though some users find the taste and texture is not quite the same as other yacon syrups.
5. Organic Traditions Yacon Syrup
Organic Traditions Yacon Syrup comes in a narrow 8.5 ounce glass bottle that’s easy to stick on the shelf alongside your coffee and tea supplies.
Like other narrow-mouthed containers for yacon syrup, it can be tricky to measure out larger quantities, but that’s about the only downside to this organically certified yacon syrup.
6. Alovitox Yacon Slices
Looking to add sweetness from yacon in an even more natural form than yacon syrup? Alovitox has a great solution in the form of yacon slices, which are dried slices from the yacon root.
These slices have all the sweetness of yacon syrup but with the fiber and extra nutrients left in the plant fiber. It’s perfect for flavoring cereal and oatmeal, but obviously not so much for adding sweetness to beverages.
7. Zint Yacon Syrup
Zint Yacon Syrup comes in an eight ounce bottle and is easy to use thanks to its thin consistency, but this feature bothers some other users.
Some people prefer yacon syrup that’s rich and thick; Zint Yacon Syrup is much thinner and runnier. It’s up to you if that’s a dealbreaker.
8. Trala Coffee Sweetener
Trala Coffee Sweetener offers a way to add flavor shots to coffee without the usual dose of simple syrup that usually comes alongside.
Trala Coffee Sweetener has several different flavors, all of which include only yacon syrup and various natural flavoring agents. Though it’s not very versatile, it excels at flavoring coffee and tea.
9. Of the Earth Yacon Syrup
Of the Earth Yacon Syrup doesn’t have quite the same sweetness profile as other yacon syrups, but if you want to keep things as natural as possible, it’s a good option: it’s minimally processed to preserve the greatest amount of nutrients possible.
10. BT Labs Yacon Syrup
BT Labs Yacon Syrup comes in a glass eight ounce bottle, but doesn’t offer quite the same perks that many other competitors offer. Users find the taste isn’t quite as rich and complex as some of the other top-rated brands.
Yacon syrup benefits and side effects
Yacon syrup is a natural, low-calorie sweetener that comes from the root of the yacon plant, which is a potato-like plant with a starchy tuber as a part of its roots.
Yacon root may pave the way for weight loss by conditioning the gut microbacteria, and compares favorably to normal table sugar when it comes to sweetening foods and beverages.
Preparations derived from Yacon roots have been used as an herbal remedy for centuries to treat digestive disorders and kidney problems. (1)
The digestive benefits to yacon syrup are due to the molecular structure of the fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which account for most of the sugar in yacon syrup. These FOS account for the bulk of the sweet flavor that yacon syrup imparts into foods and drinks.
Connecting structure between molecules of FOS is unique, making it unrecognizable by the digestive tract. That means it stimulates the sweetness receptors on the taste buds, but then slips on through the digestion process without adding a lot of calories.
Yacon syrup is one of the richest dietary sources of fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which is also found in lesser amounts in other vegetables, like leeks, artichokes, onions, and garlic. Fructooligosaccharides are also commonly found in probiotic supplements, because beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract can feed on these starches and use them to reproduce.
Yacon syrup contains about 50% fructooligosaccharides and fiber as well. In addition, you’ll find a sprinkling of fructose, sucrose and glucose, which your body does recognize and digest. One tablespoon delivers about 20 calories from those three sources of sugar. Sucrose, or table sugar, runs at 48 calories per tablespoon (2).
Indulging a sweet tooth has derailed dieters with the best of intentions, so this new take on taste might be the definitive answer to tripping the pleasure meter and supporting healthy body weight at the same time.
Yacon syrup helps probiotic bacteria thrive in your digestive tract. When the sweetener works its way down to the large intestine, the fructooligosaccharides nourish resident friendly bacteria; we can’t digest FOS, but the bacteria can, and the end result is improvement of the gut environment.
Studies with rats included analysis of byproducts from the bacterial digestion process of FOS, some of which include short-chain fatty acids that can help prevent weight gain, increase metabolism and improve colon health. (10, 11)
Yacon syrup may help you lose weight. Yacon syrup is a relative newcomer to the diet aid scene, so there’s only a limited amount of research to draw from so far.
However, what research has been done shows promising results. There are bound to be more trials and studies on its effects in the future, and the general reaction from nutritional experts is what you’d expect: more information is necessary to determine if it’s really effective as a weight-loss supplement.
One study has shown quite a bit of promise for yacon syrup as a supplement for weight loss. As clinical trials go, this 4-month study was fairly small; 55 obese women with high cholesterol and constipation problems participated for 4 months, with results correlated for body weight and Body Mass Index (BMI), cholesterol levels, insulin sensitivity and frequency of bowel movements. (12)
Participants in the placebo-controlled double-blind trial were asked to follow a low-fat diet and cut back on total calories.
Over 16 weeks, 40 of the women took yacon syrup while the other 15 were given a syrup without active ingredients.
Women taking yacon syrup experienced dramatic changes in BMI and metabolism; the others reached the end of the trail without much difference in measured markers.
The yacon group dropped an average of 33 pounds, while the others packed on about 3.5 pounds each. Waist measurements didn’t change in the placebo group, but the women taking yacon syrup shrunk the numbers by nearly 4 inches.
Yacon syrup also decreased the prevalence of constipation, an effect which can likely be chalked up to the inulin fiber content as well as the improvements in gut bacteria makeup as a result of the fructooligosaccharides.
The women in the study also saw a decrease in insulin resistance. Decreased insulin resistance translates to a lower risk of developing heart disease and diabetes; LDL cholesterol is the bad kind, and a better lipid panel is also associated with better heart health. Constipation has been linked to higher rates of gastrointestinal disorders, depression and thyroid problems. (13)
Lower BMI measurements allowed yacon syrup users to officially gravitate from “obese” to “overweight.”
Since it’s a natural food with no chemicals or additives, the chances of having an adverse reaction taking yacon syrup are slim, but caution is the best approach with anything that affects your digestion.
If you take too much yacon syrup at once, you could experience nausea, diarrhea, flatulence or stomach aches. Anyone who already has a problem with diarrhea might want to exercise caution; while diarrhea can be caused by disruptions in gut bacteria, it may be more beneficial to take a probiotic supplement directly instead of using yacon syrup.
You need the beneficial bacteria to be present in order for them to grow and take advantage of the fructooligosaccharides, so if you already have a deficit, yacon syrup may not be very helpful.
Women in the study covered above took 10 grams of fructooligosaccharides daily, dividing the dosage to take it about an hour before eating each meal or snack. The total amount of 10 grams adds up to between 4 and 5 teaspoons.
Consider starting with a single teaspoon a day so you can see how it affects you.
It’s not yet clear whether taking yacon syrup before a meal is necessary to get the appetite-suppression effect, so you may want to try it both ways.
The molecular configuration of FOS doesn’t hold up to heat, breaking down at 284˚ F (140 C˚); cooking with it alters the sugar content into free fructose, making it sweeter and also digestible, which would defeat the purpose of keeping calories low. (16)
Yacon syrup is a very attractive alternative to sugar as a sweetener for foods and beverages. The caloric content of sugar is over 50% smaller, and the high levels of fructooligosaccharides and fiber in the form of inulin mean that yacon syrup is very friendly towards your gut bacteria.
Though research to date is limited, preliminary evidence suggests that yacon syrup could be very helpful for losing weight and improving your metabolic health if you are overweight or obese.
If you’re looking for a natural short-term weight-loss aid, yacon syrup isn’t likely to cause problems, and it might just be the ticket for soothing a sweet tooth while sticking to a diet that’s lower in sugar and refined carbohydrates.