With all the hype about healthy foods chances are you’ve heard about agave nectar. Perhaps you’ve even stood in the healthy foods section of your local grocer and studied the label considering whether or not to purchase your very own supply of agave nectar.
Thinking that you’ve found the perfect sweetener you’re shocked when you read the label. “High fructose” is the first ingredient you read. According to wikipedia, depending upon the variety of agave nectar you’re considering, the amount of fructose can be up to 92 percent. That leaves 8 percent for glucose. What happened to the healthy benefits here?
Frequently touted as a diabetic friendly substitute for sugar, agave nectar is not a true natural sweetener. Rather agave is a highly refined form of fructose which is frequently in a higher concentration than the high fructose corn syrup that is a component of soda’s that many of us purchase on a daily or weekly basis.
Is it true then that agave is nothing more than a hyped up sweetener that contributes to diabetes and other related health conditions?
Natural sugars are found in fruits that we eat unprocessed. Sometimes fresh from the tree or bush when available. If fructose were natural wouldn’t we be able to eat it fresh off of the tree? Instead fructose is nothing more than a highly refined process of heat and chemical changes in the agave plant rendering it into a high fructose that rather sounds unpleasant when one considers the entire process. Wouldn’t it be healthier to simply find the nearest beehive and help yourself to some honey? Or how about reaching for an apple or pear from an apple tree or pear tree?
Research has shown that high fructose can in fact promote diseases such as diabetes. Because fructose must first be metabolized via the liver it has to go through even more processing by our bodies before it can be considered a fit food. Fructose contains no vitamins, minerals, or enzymes and may in fact contribute to fat deposits or worse diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver.
Consider instead healthy alternatives to sweeten your food. Whenever possible enjoy the sweetness of fresh fruits when in season. Bananas or berries are delicious on a bowl of cereal. Apples are a great pick me up for that late afternoon snack in lieu of that candy bar you usually grab. An added bonus is that you won’t have a sugar crash after the highly processed candy bar wears off.
You may also consider dried foods off season and you can also try growing your own stevia plant and using a leaf or two in order to sweeten your tea or breakfast cereal. Remember, natural is always better. Save the agave for the tequila makers and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.