Thursday, May 21, 2015

Have You Heard of Yacon Syrup? [Review]

When I was pregnant and reading about pregnancy nutrition, I realized the harm that granulated sugar does to our body. I avoided sugar (granulated, cane, etc.) throughout my pregnancy, using more natural forms like honey. When my toddler started eating solid foods, I also limited the amount of sugar he eats. The only white sugar he consumes is organic cane sugar that I add to healthy muffins and cookies in a reduced amount. Otherwise, I use raw honey or organic maple syrup as a natural sweetener. Yacon Syrup is a great natural substitute for sugar or molasses and is full of prebiotics and fiber.

Organic Yacon Syrup     
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Pure and concentrated
USDA Certified Organic seal not present
Natural sugar alternative
Comes in a plastic bottle

What is Yacon Syrup? Yacon Syrup is a natural sweetener that is extracted from the yacon plant that grows in the Andes Mountains. This plant and its sweetener were originally used by the Incas. Today, people in Peru eat yacon for its nutritional properties: low calorie and low sugar contents. Yacon syrup is extracted from the roots of the yacon plant. The syrup contains 50% fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which do not increase blood glucose. The syrup is made with an evaporator, similar to how maple syrup is made. Yacon syrup is thick and dark in color, having a taste of molasses and caramelized sugar. The syrup does has a rich, sweet taste to it, so a little goes a long way.

Yacon Syrup is great for those who are eating a vegan diet and are avoiding honey and cane sugar (which might not necessarily be vegan if not grown in vegan soil). I recommend reaching out to Peak Fusion to ensure the yacon plant is grown in vegan soil.

The description states that the syrup is organic, though there is no USDA Certified Organic seal nor is there a certifying agent stated. I hope Peak Fusion gains this certification and adds it to the label.

Usage: Yacon Syrup can be substituted for most, if not all, sweeteners. Granulated sugar (whether white or brown sugar) has a specific role in some baked goods and recipes, so you might want to experiment with the substitution. Otherwise, I can see replacing granulated sugar, natural liquid sugars (like honey and maple syrup) with yacon syrup. Yacon syrup is pretty concentrated, so start out with a little bit and build up. For baked goods, it might take some experiments to determine the right substitution amount.

I have not yet tried yacon syrup in baking, but plan on using it as the molasses substitute (1 tbsp) in my healthy muffin recipe. Yacon syrup is about the consistency of molasses, especially out of the refrigerator. Yacon syrup is also sweeter than molasses, so I would start off with 1.5 tsp.

Results: I used yacon syrup to sweeten tea, yogurt and oatmeal. Just 1 teaspoon was enough sweetener for one medium cup of tea, 1 cup of yogurt, and 1 cup of cooked oatmeal. I try to limit how much sugar, even natural sugar, I consume, so 1 teaspoon was more than enough sweetness for me. The syrup melted well into the hot tea and hot oatmeal. It also mixed well into the yogurt, but I had to try to drizzle it so I avoided a big glob of syrup.

My Thoughts: Yacon Syrup is okay. The syrup is a good substitute for sugars and other sweeteners and I like that it does not cause a spike in glucose. The flavor is pretty strong when taking 1/2 tsp by itself (I did try that!). The flavor is not as prominent when mixed in with other items. In the end, it is a sweetener and made from 50% fructose, so consuming it in small moderation is best for health.

I received some recipes for the yacon syrup. The marinade recipe caught my eye, though once I read how much yacon syrup would be required (3/4 cup), I realized the marinade is a little expensive for my taste. The bottle comes in size 8 oz, which means I would use almost all of the bottle to make a marinade that would mostly not be consumed. I will probably stick to using this syrup in small amounts since an 8 oz bottle costs almost $20.

If you are comfortable with the cost, give the yacon syrup a try!

Disclosure: I received the product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own and are honest.

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