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Contraindications of yacón

January 15, 2021
Contraindications of yacón

The yacón, also known as “apple of the earth”, is a native plant of South America that is cultivated for its tuberous roots. These are characterized by a crunchy texture and a very particular sweet flavor, hence the great resemblance to the apple. In addition to its use as a food and natural sweetener, yacon has a good reputation as a dietary supplement, with properties that help fight diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and being overweight. However, like any other remedy, the consumption of yacon may be contraindicated in some people and cause adverse effects1.

The Andean yacon: possible contraindications and risks

The vast majority of people can safely consume yacon roots ( raw or cooked ). The different investigations that have been dedicated to studying the effects of supplementing with yacon extract have also reported on its safety and healthy potential. But even so, it is very important to take into account the general warning that exists about the consumption of this tuber : excessive intake of yacon is counterproductive , can result in annoying symptoms and even be life-threatening.

Based on information provided by various sources, people who take too much yacon may experience side effects , including the following2:

Stomach / abdominal pain

It is usually due to the presence of colic and accelerated intestinal transit.

Bloating and flatulence

The cause of this effect is the high fiber content of yacon. The risk is higher when consumed as a food, and lower when used as a supplement.

Loose stools or diarrhea

Large portions can exert a laxative action on the intestine.

Kidney toxicity

Condition observed in cases of supplementation with yacon leaf extract or tea (said extract may contain a type of toxic compound known as terpenoids). It should be noted that moderate consumption of yacon root has not been linked to this side effect3 4 5.

Digestive disorders in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Eating foods high in fructooligosaccharides, such as Andean yacon, can exacerbate symptoms of the condition and cause general digestive upset.

Allergic reaction / anaphylactic shock

There is a record of at least one case of anaphylactic shock after ingestion of yacon root (individual with a strong allergy to the plant).

Liver stress

Since fructose is processed by the liver, researchers warn that overdose of yacon extract, as well as its excessive consumption, can be a major risk factor for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease 6.

Note : We reiterate that these side effects have only been recorded in cases of excessive consumption and overdose.

See later:

In general, the use of yacon as a supplement is usually contraindicated in people with kidney disease, people with irritable bowel syndrome, children and women during pregnancy and breastfeeding. People who have a known allergy to yacon should avoid it at all times.

Yacon roots undergo a process known as partial hydrolysis of oligofructans, during which these compounds are converted to fructose shortly after harvest. It has been reported that this process can seriously affect the health benefits of the tuber, as high levels of fructose have been linked to the induction of insulin resistance. Experts recommend cold storage of the roots for better preservation of their beneficial properties7.

Is it safe to take yacon syrup? What would be the recommended daily dose?

The extract , syrup or yacon can be obtained by extraction, filtration and evaporation of the juice which release these roots. The final product is a syrup with a sweet taste, dark color and consistency similar to molasses, to which excellent properties are attributed .

However, consuming yacon syrup can be beneficial as long as it is done in the right way. As we have seen throughout this article, ingesting an overdose can cause adverse effects .

In one of the most relevant studies carried out to date, the approximate dose of 10 grams of fructans per day was used, which is equivalent to approximately 4-5 daily teaspoons (20-25 grams) of yacon syrup. An effective daily dose could be 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 grams) before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is always advisable to start with the minimum dose of 1 gram.

A similar study used two doses of yacon extract: the first of 0.29 grams and the second of 0.14 grams of fructooligosaccharides per kg of body weight per day. The researchers reported that the higher dose had caused gastrointestinal effects in some people, but that no negative effects had been seen with the lower dose.

Yacon syrup can be consumed as a sweetener , but keep in mind that you should not cook or bake it; high temperatures (over 248 ° F or 120 ° C) can break down the structure of your fructooligosaccharides.

It is a low carb sweetener (up to 60% fewer calories compared to other sweeteners), but stevia and monk fruit are still much healthier alternatives (zero calories).

In general, this syrup can cause the same adverse symptoms that occur due to excessive consumption of the root. They are the typical side effects that we experience when we eat more fiber than we are used to. This includes excess gas , diarrhea , nausea and other digestive complaints.

Remember that being rich in fructans, supplementation with yacon syrup is not suitable for people intolerant to FODMAP foods , including those with irritable bowel syndrome8.

4 General precautions about yacon

  1. Do not include yacón continuously in the diet.
  2. Do not use yacon supplements for a long period of time; it is better to take it for a while and then stop.
  3. Do not exceed the recommended dose and adhere to the indications of the product in question (capsules, syrup, powder).
  4. Always consult your doctor before taking yacon, especially if you have a chronic health condition or if you are under medical treatment.


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My name is Louise Hammond, and I am the creator of this website, a place to find information about tubers, bulbs and medicinal roots. In I show the properties, benefits, characteristics, photos and images, ways of growing and how to make delicious meals from starchy vegetables.

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