Agave Nectar: High Fructose Cactus Syrup!

Greetings, fellow humans! 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying a little bit of agave nectar will kill you... What I am saying is that if you care enough to avoid high fructose corn syrup you should be even more concerned about agave nectar.





Let me repeat that. If you care enough to avoid high fructose corn syrup you should be even more concerned about agave nectar.



If you're on any kind of "health kick", you are probably trying to cut back on sugar consumption. Most folks who are paying any attention to what they eat are aware that sugar isn't good for you. You may even be aware of things like glycemic index and glycemic load.

In plain English, the higher a glycemic load, the quicker a particular food will raise your blood glucose aka "blood sugar" levels. In general, raising blood glucose levels quickly isn't really good for you. When this happens, your body must produce loads of insulin and quickly store the excess sugar as body fat. (There are some exceptions to this for post-workout nutrition and carb backloading, which is a subject for another day.) A high glycemic load is one of the reasons I usually avoid grains and consider modern wheat to be so bad for human health.  For today, however, we'll stick to sweeteners.

Many may look to agave nectar as a "healthy alternative". At first glance, this seems to be a great idea. Agave nectar is "low glycemic" which means it causes less of a blood sugar spike than other sweeteners like sugar, maple syrup, and honey. Thus, agave is touted as a great alternative sweetener for diabetics and anyone trying to avoid excess sugar. Alas, it seems agave is no better than High Fructose Corn Syrup and quite possibly even worse. How can this be?

This is because the sugar in agave nectar ranges from 57 percent to as much as 90 percent fructose! Fructose, while commonly found in fruits, is not a good thing to eat in concentrated doses.

Look Here for a list of the glycemic index of common sweeteners.

Look here for a more detailed look from way back in 2010. Or look here for Dr. Andrew Weil's take in 2012. However, we still see the stuff being sold as "health food".

Alas, sweet agave nectar… How we wanted to love you. You are still the dishonest darling of so many health-minded folks. Some vegans still love you as an alternative to honey. Sadly, it seems, like so many food stories we've been told… Your sweet promise turned out to be a lie.

In fact, this lie has been uncovered for quite some time. Somehow, however, we want to believe it, so many of us still do.

 So long, Agave nectar! From now on I think I'll call you  by a more accurate name: "High Fructose Cactus Syrup".

OK…  Now go outside and play!

                                        Much love, Mo the human.