September 27, 2011 by Living Girl Living Foods
I work at an all natural organic shop in my town and one of the most frequent questions I am asked is, “What is agave nectar?” and “Is it the healthiest sugar alternative?”
Agave nectar is a produced from the starch of the bulb of the agave plant. It reminds me of maple syrup and can be found flavored. The principal form of the agave root is starch, similar to the starch in corn, and inulin (made out of high fructose).
The agave starch is subject to a chemical process that converts the starch into a fructose rich syrup. Agave nectar contains anywhere from 70 percent fructose and higher. Just a little side note, high fructose syrups contains around 50% fructose.
There is nothing natural, pure or raw about a refined sugar like agave nectar. It is difficult for the body to process because our bodies treat fructose differently when it comes time to break it down. Instead of being processed through the intestine it is processed in the liver. Thus it automatically becomes fat, and makes your body crave even more food.
Consumption of fructose leads to mineral losses, especially excretions of iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc. It has also been mentioned in several articles that fructose accelerates the aging process and increases uric acid (indicator of heart disease).
Here is a fantastic article from Food Renegade on agave nectar with lots of facts and the science behind it all without getting too wordy or overwhelming. I love this website; there are so many articles about foods people typically ask me questions about at work. Such as, is soy good or bad?
There are tons of natural sugars out there that actually aren’t terrible for you though! They are much easier to find at all natural and organic grocery stores, and are great for multiple uses such as baking, drinks, syrups and so on.
Natural Sweeteners That Will Give You Hope That The World Isn’t 100% Corrupt (No crazy chemicals or scary looking machines needed) :
Sucanat (Depends on the form)
Stevia (still slightly controversial the whole plant form is ideal)
Fruit instead of sugar (Figs, dates, bananas, apples)
Traditional Agave Nectar (if you can see the process yourself and trust the maker that it is not being mixed with high fructose corn syrup)
Maple Syrup (This is not raw)
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