Managing Your Blood Sugar Levels?

Managing Your Blood Sugar Levels?

Yacon is the “hero ingredient” of our Zestt Gut+ lozenges - complemented by gut friendly probiotics and kiwifruit.

So what is yacon exactly?

Yacon is a vegetable tuber, grown in the "winterless north" of New Zealand, Kerikeri, and originally from South America.  The name yacon means "water root" in the Inca language.

The tuber, which looks like a white kumara, can be cooked and eaten whole, or turned into a molasses-like syrup – that’s what we use in our Zestt Gut+ Lozenges.

See how they are grown here

Why do we get excited about yacon?

Yacon stores its sugar in the form of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) which our body can’t digest, but our gut bacteria can. These types of saccharides benefit the growth of our "good" bacteria and inhibit the growth of our "bad" bacteria.  They also taste sweet too, so are a great sugar substitute.

Human clinical trials have shown that yacon fructooligosaccharides can reduce appetite and help people with weight loss – so a helpful tool when on a weight loss programme. 

Mouse model studies have shown biological effects on glycaemic control (blood sugar levels), as well as reductions of plasma cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels.  Interestingly, yacon was in traditional medicine for treating diabetes, constipation, and other diseases – so we are now scientifically proving what many known for a long time. 

Why is New Zealand grown yacon extra special?

The late Dr Robert Welch, a New Zealand biochemist, was instrumental in much of the research done on yacon in New Zealand and in its commercialisation.

Dr Welch developed processing methods which allowed us to retain a high level of fructooligosaccharides during the manufacturing. The methodology also ensures we retain the bioactivity of other polyphenol antioxidants – which adds to the health value of our yacon products.

He also identified a yacon cultivar that is best suited for New Zealand’s climate, and a growing system which means that up to 16% of the cultivar’s flesh is made up of fructooligosaccharides - among the highest levels in the world.  Globally, this cultivar is known as “cultivar New Zealand.”

 We source our yacon from organic Northland grower, Marcus van Boxel (pictured).  I was lucky enough to visit him a couple of growing seasons ago – there is something to be said for getting out of the office and into the paddocks - I was really inspired by our ability to grow this type of plant in New Zealand and I wonder at what else we could and could be growing for our health – that we could take to the world.

I would love to hear for some of your suggestions on this front.

All the best, Anna and Darcy.

If you would like to discuss any of this further, please contact Darcy or Anna (who you can contact at +64 27 599 2255 or +64 27 4861418 respectively) or via

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