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Raw Green Chat => Food For Thought => Topic started by: robinB on October 23, 2008, 08:45:33 AM

Title: Agave syrup
Post by: robinB on October 23, 2008, 08:45:33 AM
I've been hearing a lot about Agave and how it is a healthy sweetener but I wonder if it really is. Anyone have details on how healthy Agave really is?
Title: Re: Agave syrup
Post by: Shawna on November 06, 2008, 12:33:20 PM
I've been hearing a lot recently too, but I don't really have specifics. Since my husband is more the science and facts guy, and I am more of the heart and intuition gal, I will respond with what I feel...

I got really excited about agave when I learned that it was a natural "raw" low-glycemic sweetener, so I bought a ton of it and used it on everything, including my finger! :)
However, here is what happens... First a little tiny bit of background on me... I have an old right rotator cuff mild tear which I basically healed myself. EVERY SINGLE time I eat refined sugar I get a burning sort of pain in my right shoulder. This is without exception. Some other cooked baddies do this too, but we're talking about sugar now. So, I started eating agave and noticed immediately that I would have pain in my right shoulder, as well as that old familiar hangover feeling if I ate the agave too late in the evening. At first, I was really in denial about these symptoms because I have to have this sweetness. But the fact is that my body does not lie to me. For ME, agave reacts in my body the same way as refined sugar does. I don't always choose to listen to this, and I will eat it at times, but probably about 10% of what I was consuming, if that. (Note to husband: you are not allowed to read this and hold it against me when you see me sucking directly from the agave bottle!LOL)
So, there is my heartfelt answer... agave is probably not very good for the body. How do you feel?
Title: Re: Agave syrup
Post by: John on November 12, 2008, 05:05:35 PM
My personal feeling about any refined sugar is... avoid it!

We have no need for such sugars in our diet, they have crept in there to feed sweet tooth addiction, reduce the cost of processed foods and to help increase the shelf life of packaged foods.

Agave was hailed as the "greatest natural healthy sweetener" for a while. It got a lot of attention because it is low-glycemic, which is a big buzz word in the health marketing world and is helpful for those with diabetes.

It is low-glycemic because it has almost no glucose, it is essentially ALL fructose. Agave syrup is made from the sap of the Agave plant. In its natural state it isn't very sweet as it's composed of complex fructose polymers called fructosans. The sap is heated for about 3 days to hydrolyze the polymers to break them down info fructose that is very sweet to the taste.

The reason it's low-glycemic is the reason it's not so good for you. Fructose is broken down in the liver and the body isn't used to such a high concentration of processed fructose, ~90%. Nowhere in nature does fructose ratio come close to 90%. Even most HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is 55% fructose, which is still beyond any natural occurrence of fructose.

Also, don't be fooled by the label "Raw" typically associated with Agave syrup. It is generally heated to temperatures up to 140°F during those 3 days. There is no regulation for the use of the word 'Raw' in labeling.

So there ya have it :)
Title: Re: Agave syrup
Post by: green smoothie junkie on November 20, 2008, 01:24:07 AM
That is a complete review of what Agave really is... thank you.
Title: Re: Agave syrup
Post by: lavenderbabe on January 23, 2009, 07:43:48 AM
Very cool to read I also have been experimenting with the agave nectar and thought it might be the answer.
Fortunately since I have made a habit of avoiding any kind of sugar or sugar by product or sweetner I simply found it to sickeningly sweet and stopped using it.
Nice to know that it isn't the beginning of the second coming!
Have a happy day all, just be sweet all by yourselves... cause you are ya know.
Title: Re: Agave syrup
Post by: Henry on February 16, 2009, 02:40:56 PM
I use very littel sweetner. A little organic raw honey or chopped dates at times. Very rarely some raw sugar. 
Title: Re: Agave syrup
Post by: CaliforniaValerie on March 02, 2009, 08:20:05 AM
As a type 1 diabetic, I test my blood sugar between 10-12 times daily. I can tell you that Agave syrup, which I've only tried twice, raises my blood sugar just as much as any other sugar. Certainly not worth the extra insulin it would require me to bolus.

Title: Re: Agave syrup
Post by: greenmom on March 16, 2009, 12:25:33 PM
Good to hear all of your thoughts!  I use Agave in desperation when I'm jonesing for a coke and choose to make a chocolate/banana/almond/rice protein shake instead.  I'll put about 1/4 c. in my smoothie.  We'll see if I could drop the nectar and just rely on the bananas.  Maybe I could add a couple of dates, although I know they have a high sugar content as well.  Does anyone have a good smoothie recipe that takes care of that oh boy I need some coca-cola?  I have about two cokes a week, but I'd really like to drop all refined sugar (I shudder as I say that). 
Title: Re: Agave syrup
Post by: green smoothie junkie on March 16, 2009, 03:54:17 PM
Hmmm... the "oh boy I need some coca-cola" smoothie?
Now that would be one popular green smoothie! I think the chocolate banana smoothie is as close as I've seen to that.

There is definitely worse refined sugar out there than agave but definitely try the dates, they do have high sugar content but at least it's whole food, natural and it's raw.
Title: Re: Agave syrup
Post by: donnaj on March 19, 2009, 05:39:18 PM
Rats. I just bought two bottles of this stuff after reading that it is low on the glycemic index. Sugar is sugar is sugar. When will I learn?

Donna :(
Title: Re: Agave syrup
Post by: John on May 14, 2009, 11:34:40 AM
Rats. I just bought two bottles of this stuff after reading that it is low on the glycemic index. Sugar is sugar is sugar. When will I learn?

Donna :(

Indeed. Sugar is sugar is sugar!

While Agave is touted as being low on the glycemic index, I've learned from several folks with diabetes that it still tosses their blood sugar about and they avoid it completely. The new study about fuctose versus glucose ( is more reason to reconsider using Agave.