Yacon: the new weight-loss miracle supplement

You might have heard about the connection between yacon and weight loss, a Peruvian plant whose root seems to have remarkable weight-loss properties. Dr. Mehmet Oz was so excited about this plant’s potential that he conducted his own experiment, which you can learn more about here.

Dr. Oz asked 60 women to consume one teaspoon of syrup made from the yacon root with or before each meal for 28 days. Of the 40 women who completed the project:

  • 29 (73%) lost weight*
  • 14 lost five pounds or more*
  • Average weight loss was 2.9 pounds*
  • Average reduction in waist size was 1.9 inches*
  • Total weight lost among all the women was 153 pounds*
  • 27 (68%) recommended yacon as a weight loss tool

*Individual results may vary.

Those are pretty exciting results! What the Dr. Oz show did not explain—but which my own clinical practice immediately made clear to me—was why the yacon root was so effective in helping women lose weight. Let’s take a closer look.


I heard about yacon in 2009, from an article published in a journal called Clinical Nutrition. The journal article reported on a similar study to the one conducted by Dr. Oz, in which obese premenopausal women were given two daily doses of yacon syrup for 120 days.

“Daily intake of yacon syrup produced a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference, and body mass index,” the journal reported.

So, why does this weight-loss miracle work so well?

Researchers weren’t entirely sure, but they had a couple of speculations. Yacon seemed to improve insulin sensitivity, which helps cue the body to burn fat.

Yacon also seemed to improve the production of gut hormones.

Most significantly, 60 percent of the yacon root is a substance known as fructooligosaccharides or FOS. And FOS is one of the favorite foods of your microbiome.

As I knew when I developed the Microbiome Diet, when you support and nourish the microbiome, you lose weight.

In other words, both Dr. Oz’s yacon study and the original research back in 2009 are additional validation for my own Microbiome Diet


Your microbiome is the community of trillions of bacteria living within you. It plays a crucial role in many of your body’s functions, including your digestion, your metabolism, and your weight.

When your microbiome is full of friendly bacteria, you flourish and achieve a healthy weight, almost effortlessly.

When the balance in your microbiome tips towards unfriendly bacteria, you start gaining weight that you find nearly impossible to lose.

So feeding your friendly bacteria is one of the best ways to achieve healthy weight loss. Foods that are high in inulin, a dietary fiber, are terrific “microbiome food.” So are foods that are rich in another type of fiber called arabinogalactans.

And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, foods high in FOS are likewise able to nourish your friendly bacteria, tipping your microbial balance in the right direction. Yacon is our next weight-loss miracle because of its high concentration of FOS.


Technically speaking, yacon is a prebiotic—a food that feeds your friendly bacteria. When I’m treating patients for weight loss, I suggest that they eat fermented foods, which are full of live bacteria, and that they take regular probiotics: powders, pills, and capsules that contain billions of live bacteria.

But I also want my patients to take prebiotics, whether in the form of supplements, like butyrate, or in the form of whole foods: asparagus, carrots, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, leeks, onions, radishes, and tomatoes. All of these foods—which I’ve dubbed the Microbiome Superfoods—are rich in natural prebiotics, just like yacon. All of them can help you rebalance your microbiome and lose unwanted weight.

Yacon is definitely our latest miracle weight-loss supplement. But it’s only one of many, many options that we have to nourish our friendly bacteria and watch that excess weight come off.

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