Yacon: A Natural Prebiotic Sweetener

Yacon is a very special sweetener! It’s actually good for your gut, which may sound like an oxymoron, but this tuber contains an impressive concentration of fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), which are indigestible carbohydrates that pass through the body unabsorbed. The FOS in yacon is considered a prebiotic, helping to promote the growth of probiotics—think, food for the probiotics, and in doing so improves gut health.

Yacon’s sweetness is unique because it has a low glycemic index, meaning its impact on blood glucose is minimal. It’s also low in calories, benefiting those following a low sugar or low carbohydrate diet (ie: diabetics) and trying to lose weight.

Uses For Yacon

Yacon can be extracted into a luxurious syrup which is used similarly to maple syrup or honey. Drizzle it on top of pancakes or porridge, use it to adorn desserts or mix a little into sauces and marinades that need a sweet touch, like a barbecue glaze.

In addition to a syrup, yacon can also be purchased in whole dehydrated slices, which have the benefit of offering fiber. Fresh yacon root can be found in specialty grocery stores or health food stores.

Here’s a nice recipe for incorporating yacon into a holiday-appropriate recipe.

Salted Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

Serves 12             Total time: 40 minutes

12 oz high-quality cacao, semisweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped (Note: semisweet chocolate will provide a mellower flavor and dark will be a bit more bitter. Choose your favorite.)

½ cup natural smooth almond butter

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

¼ cup yacon syrup

¼ tsp fine sea salt

Flaked sea salt, for garnish 


1. Line a 12-cup muffin tray with paper muffin liners.

2. To a small saucepan, add chocolate and heat over low to melt, stirring constantly. (Note: Chocolate burns easily, so keep a very close eye on the pot, and do not turn up heat beyond low.) Once chocolate is mostly melted, remove from heat and continue stirring to melt remaining chunks. Spoon 1½ tsp chocolate into a muffin liner and rotate it around to coat the bottom and about ½ inch up the sides. Use a pastry brush to paint the sides more evenly, if needed. Tuck the chocolate-filled liner back into the tray. Repeat with remaining muffin liners. Place tray in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or until chocolate is hard to the touch.

3. Meanwhile, prepare filling: In a small bowl, combine almond butter, coconut oil, yacon syrup and fine salt, mixing until smooth.

4. Divide filling mixture among hardened chocolate shells and use your fingers to flatten and spread the filling as needed. One at a time, top each shell with 1 tsp of remaining melted chocolate and use the back of a spoon to spread into a flat layer, filling in any gaps or holes with chocolate. Once all cups are filled, sprinkle their tops lightly with flaked sea salt and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes more, until chocolate and filing are solidified.

5. Remove cups from their liners before serving. Cups will keep for several weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.


Per Serving (1 cup): Calories: 238, Total Fat: 18 g, Saturated Fat: 8 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g, Carbs: 21 g, Fiber 4 g, Sugars: 13.5 g, Protein: 3 g, Sodium: 242 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Live Superfoods

Recipe courtesy of cleaneating.com Oct. 2016


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