The Agave Debate

OK, I have avoided this one long enough: The Agave Nectar Debate

I received an email from an adorable "mum" who wants to know about agave nectar. 

I wrote her back and here is what I said:

HI!!! Thanks for the message. 

Here's the thing. 

1) Agave isn't like hydrogenated corn syrup. 

2) It's naturally derived and not refined the way white sugar is {like crack or cocaine}. You can tell from just consuming it that it doesn't react in the body like sugar does. 

3) It's RAW and organic - so the temperature when processing it is low {not boiled} therefore there are other nutrients there, too. Plus no pesticides. 

4) Anything that is highly concentrated needs to be consumed in moderation. Even fruit juice concentrate. So in this way, it's still considered CARBS and still a "sugar" so that's why when we use it, we use it in place of sugar. Not in place of other things like fruit or vegetables or protein. Or in addition to. It's a highly concentrated carbohydrate.

5) It's NOT a supplement or green food. {whereas xylitol and stevia are actually considered supplements - google it} This is a common misconception.

6) The only other additional factor {the dr mercola debate} is that it is FRUCTOSE. New studies are showing that fructose {yes, the sugar in FRUIT} is not helping diabetics and is bad for the body. When agave first came onto the market, it was great because it WAS fructose - low glycemic and straight from the agave plant. So, this new research is still NEW. But it's the only reason that I might think twice about agave. And that means all fructose. Not just agave. {? I know, kinda weird}

  • I use agave in my margaritas. {wink}
  • I use honey {local organic} on things like oatmeal or with almond butter on toast for my kids. 
  • I use stevia and xylitol in my own smoothies when I add greens because it's too bitter for me. 
  • I use agave when I make things like raw vegan macaroons, or cookies or breads or ice cream. 
  • When I see products in stores for kids that say "sweetened with agave" I usually pick them up and check them out. 
  • Try Coconut Nectar. You might like it and it's the "new" alternative!

 

Just don't over use it. Like any sweetener. But if you ask me, natural, organic, low temperatures, straight FROM the agave plant? That sounds pretty darn close to nature and pretty darn awesome. I'm just still waiting to hear more about this whole fructose debate. 

That's that! I hope it was helpful and made sense. Thanks for reading. ;)

p.s. please read the gnosis chocolate lady's article - she visited the agave factory in Mexico and has photos and her story is fun. She uses agave in her products. 

Juli N

photos via & flickr