Everything You Want to Know About Yacon Syrup

05/28/2014 at 04:39 PM ET

Aaron Rodgers Beer Cheese Soup
Courtesy Naked Yacon, Alison Miksch/Getty

The mere mention of a potential weight-loss wonder can send the internet into a tizzy. After a recent re-run of the The Dr. Oz Show from November 2013 on yacon syrup, the search term spiked a whopping 5,316 percent on Yahoo.

If you’ve never heard of it before, join the club.

Yacon is a South American root which has been part of the Peruvian diet for hundreds of years — it looks a bit like a sweet potato (its extract has a texture like molasses), and is said to taste similar to raisins.

Intriguing. But why was everyone running to their laptops? Dr. Oz called yacon a “metabolism game changer” that supports good digestion and regulates blood sugar, all of which contribute to — you guessed it — weight loss. Ah, the magic words! Naturally, the world wants in on this seemingly easy-peasy way to drop pounds. But does it actually work?

In his quick weight-loss study, Dr. Oz asked 60 women to each consume one teaspoon of yacon syrup with or before each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for four weeks, without changing anything else about their diet or exercise habits. Call it a success: Nearly 75 percent of the women slimmed down, with an average weight loss of almost 3 pounds!

Yacon, both a prebiotic and probiotic, also works as a tea, or as a sugar substitute — although the jury’s out on whether the heat required for baking may mitigate some of yacon’s positive effects.

What’s the catch? Make sure you’re buying 100 percent yacon syrup with no additives or other substances, and beware that going overboard can cause diarrhea and cramping. As for any major side effects, yet another quick internet search doesn’t turn up much, so we’ll have to defer to our ancient Andean friends to clue us in.

—Brooke Showell

FILED UNDER: Dr. Oz , Expert Tips , Health , Nutrition

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 3 comments

serena on

How come his wife & daughter (even before she was pregnant) aren’t using this weight loss miracle? They are both FAT. Oz himself is thin because of genetics.

Guest on

Someone always comes up with these weight-loss gimmicks and everyone is still fat. First it was raspberry ketones, then it was green coffee beans, and now this. The basic flaw is that Dr. Oz’s test group only tries the new products for one week. Anyone can lose weight the first week of a new program. The question is: Will it continue to work in the subsequent weeks and months or will Dr. Oz have to come up with a new weight-loss pill?

Anonymous on

Sorry, but no. First, three pounds in four weeks is not impressive. Second, though asking them to not change anything, I can guarantee you that each and every one of them did pay closer attention to what they ate and made more conscious choices. That’s what leads to the weight loss. Not a silly, overpriced syrup.

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters