Is agave nectar good? Is agave nectar bad?
The short answer to that reader’s question is simple: agave nectar is not a natural sweetener, not natural, highly refined plus, it has more concentrated fructose in it than high fructose corn syrup. Agave nectar is bad for you.
Agave Nectar Is Not A Natural Sweetener
I picked up a jar of “Organic Raw Blue Agave Nectar” at my grocery store and the label looked promising. After all, words like “organic,” “raw,” and “all natural” should mean something. Sadly, agave nectar is neither truly raw, nor is it all natural.
Marketing tactics would have you thinking that this is the tradition of native peoples creating their own agave nectar from the wild agave plants. Not even a shadow like resemblence of the actual sweetener.
Native Mexican peoples do make a sort of sweetener out of the agave plant. It’s called miel de agave, and it’s made by boiling the agave sap for a couple of hours. It is the Mexican version of authentic Canadian maple syrup.
The process by which agave glucose and inulin are converted into “nectar” is similar to the process by which corn starch is converted into HFCS. The agave starch is subject to an enzymatic and chemical process that converts the starch into a fructose-rich syrup—anywhere from 70 percent fructose and higher according to the agave nectar chemical profiles posted on agave nectar websites.
Compare that to the typical fructose content of high fructose corn syrup (55%) In An interesting article Rami Nagel quotes Russ Bianchi, managing director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc., a globally recognized food and beverage development company, on the similarities between agave nectar and high fructose corn syrup:
They are indeed made the same way, using a highly chemical process with genetically modified enzymes. They are also using caustic acids, clarifiers, filtration chemicals and so forth in the conversion of agave starches into highly refined fructose inulin that is even higher in fructose content than high fructose corn syrup.
When choosing sweeteners stick with raw, natural and organic choices such as molasses and honey that your body can digest.
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