What About Agave?

Yesterday I touched on using natural sweeteners in lieu of white sugar, high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.

You may have noticed that I didn’t put agave on the list of natural sweeteners, and here is why.

Agave is made from the agave tequiliana plant (the same plant that produces tequila). It is about 1 1/2 times sweeter than regular table sugar and is about 60 calories per tablespoon. It also ranks lower on the glycemic index- a representation of how a food affects blood sugar. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, it ranks lower on the glycemic index because it is high in fructose, which does not immediately raise blood sugar levels; the body has a more difficult time processing fructose than it does glucose.

Additionally, agave is so highly processed so it is stripped of any nutritional value and it ends up having a higher fructose content than high fructose corn syrup! That makes it the sweetener with the highest concentration of fructose on the market!

And, my pet peeve? It is used in almost EVERY “healthy” dessert, particularly vegan dessert items whose producers are against using honey.

Don’t be fooled by agave. Don’t use agave, unless you are visiting Mexico and can get the sweetener directly out of the plant. This way, it is thick and viscous and retains it’s nutrients. Otherwise, what we have here in our markets is highly processed and harmful to our health.

Stick with the other sweeteners I listed here yesterday.

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