Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Agave Nectar - How could you...

Read my update to this here!

I thought agave nectar was a great alternative to using table sugar but the research I read this morning seems to have proven me wrong.

I found this interesting article online this morning that appears to have some actual science behind it and I learned some sad stuff:

1. Agave nectar is a newly created sweetener, having been developed during the 1990’s

2. In spite of manufacturers’ claims, agave “nectar” is not made from the sap of the yucca or agave plant but from the starch of the giant pineapple-like, root bulb. The principal constituent of the agave root is starch, similar to the starch in corn or rice, and a complex carbohydrate called inulin, which is made up of chains of fructose molecules.Technically a highly indigestible fiber, inulin, which does not taste sweet, comprises about half of the carbohydrate content of agave.

3. Agave syrup is a man-made sweetener which has been through a complicated chemical refining process of enzymatic digestion that converts the starch and fiber into the unbound, man-made chemical fructose. While high fructose agave syrup won’t spike your blood glucose levels, the fructose in it may cause mineral depletion, liver inflammation, hardening of the arteries, insulin resistance leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

4. Agave syrup comes in two colors: clear or light, and amber. What is this difference? Mr. Bianchi explains: “Due to poor quality control in the agave processing plants in Mexico, sometimes the fructose gets burned after being heated above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, thus creating a darker, or amber color.” However, the labels create the impression of an artisan product—like light or amber beer. As consumers are learning about problems with agave syrup, the label “chicory syrup” is beginning to appear as a non-conforming word for the product.

I encourage you to read the whole article. I know all sugars need to be eaten in moderation but I am definitely going back to using pure maple syrup and honey whenever I can.

What do you use to satiate your sweet tooth?


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