Oh agave nectar, your sweet self has been flooding the “health” market for the past couple of years now. Due to your low glycemic index rating, you have been put in almost every health section of grocery stores around the nation. The biggest question has been hidden from consumers this whole time, is agave nectar even good for you?
The grim but true answer to this question is simply, NO! Marketing has hyped this product up for years now and they have not come up with a better way to prove that agave nectar is healthy besides the fact that it has a low glycemic index, and that it isn’t sugar.
Why isn’t it healthy? Well I’m glad you asked! There are actually different forms of sugar that your body can use as energy but there are two main ones. The first being glucose, and the second being fructose. Glucose is a sugar that the body can break down and instantly put right in your bloodstream for energy usage, but fructose on the other hand must go to your liver first to be broken down. A high amount of fructose in your liver can not only put stress on your body, but after it is broken down it will be more likely to be stored as fat after the fact.
What does this have to do with agave nectar? Well, agave nectar is made up of anywhere from 92% fructose and 8% glucose to 56% fructose and 20% glucose. (Nakayama, Andrea. “Q&A With Andrea”)
When you hear of fructose, most people associate this sugar with fruits, but what they fail to realize is that the fructose found in fruits are paired with water, vitamins and fiber. This makes it easier on your body to digest and break down that fructose. When you are faced with a syrup containing almost completely fructose, this food is put on the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) level or in other words, BAD.
High fructose corn syrup has been linked to obesity and diabetes almost hand in hand. It is an industrial food-like product that has been processed into something that our body doesn’t even recognize anymore. HFCS has about a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio, but since it has been chemically processed, this fructose can be even harder for your body to break down. HFCS is found in extremely low-quality foods that are nutritionally vacuous and filled with all sorts of other disease promoting compounds, fats, salt, chemicals, and even mercury. (Hyman, Dr. Mark. “5 Reasons”. May 4, 2013)
Instead of reaching for the agave nectar, stick to raw organic honey or stevia. These sugars are not only natural, but in moderation, they can add the perfect amount of sweetness to any dish. Just remember, stevia is up to 300 times sweeter than normal sugar, so make sure to do your conversions properly.
Stay healthy my friends!
Nakayama, Andrea. “Q&A With Andrea”. 2014 Replenish PDX
Hyman, Dr. Mark. “5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You”. May 4, 2013.