When I adopted a raw food diet in 2010, I had no clue where to start. I bought myself books, watched YouTube videos and over time educated myself on the likes of irish moss, chia seeds, raw cheese, sauerkraut and kelp noodles. I assumed that most things were much healthier for me than the average food and while I was right about most of it, I got tripped up with one food in particular, as did most people. Thinking it was healthier than conventional sugar, I was fairly liberal with agave syrup. There has been a lot of controversy about agave over the last year or so, which I want to address here so you can make your own decision. I know I have made mine.
(I couldn’t resist using this picture of Noble Syrup I found on this website!)
Okay, so it seems that many of us have been duped and misled into believing agave, touted as a “healthy, low GI sweetener suitable for diabetics” is much better for us than conventional sugar. But according to Dr Mercola, it is no better than high fructose corn syrup, “Most agave “nectar” or agave “syrup” is nothing more than a laboratory-generated super-condensed fructose syrup, devoid of virtually all nutrient value, and offering you metabolic misfortune in its place”. Ah, that put a spanner in the works!
He goes on to say, “Though processing methods can differ among manufacturers, most commercially available agave is converted into fructose-rich syrup using genetically modified enzymes and a chemically intensive process involving caustic acids, clarifiers, and filtration chemicals” Hmmmm.
There may be a few distributors who do make high-quality agave but be aware that the majority of commercially made products will pose a health risk.
So, to sum up, here are a few reasons why agave is not the best for you.
- Agave is not low calorie, (apparently it contains around 16 calories per teaspoon, the same as table sugar)
- It has a high glycaemic load
- It’s not a natural whole food
- It will add lard to your arse because it’s basically just fructose
- It’s highly addictive
- It has no enzymes
- Some agave makes contain saponin which can cause diarrhoea and vomiting
- Agave may also contain pesticides due to distributors cutting it with corn syrup
You might like to read “The Skinny on Sugar” which explains the difference between fructose and glucose and why fructose isn’t the enemy. Fructose from whole foods is very different to the manufactured fructose found in most of our processed foods.
Okay, so I hear you cry “Give me some good news! What can I use instead?” Lucky for you and me, I discovered there are several alternatives which you can read about here.