As I warn all my clients, there is a lot of hype around nutrition. The “health food industry” is in fact that – an industry. Unfortunately, that can mean it is concerned with profits and not necessarily providing truly healthy food.
The latest of these hypes to come to my attention is agave nectar. Given this new information, I have removed it from my list of acceptable sweeteners to use as alternatives to sugar. Like many of these nutrition hypes the agave nectar story begins with a basis of truth. We are told how native Mexicans used the “product” for thousands of years for a variety of purposes, including medicinal. Then we get the truth – the “nectar” is not produced as the ancients did. In fact, in the case of agave nectar, we have a process that is similar to how corn starch is converted into high fructose corn syrup! And we all now about the dangers of HFCS. Agave nectar is a manmade sweetener which through a complex chemical process converts fiber and starch into the unbound, manmade chemical fructose. High fructose agave doesn’t spike blood glucose levels, but the fructose causes the same damages as that from high fructose corn syrup – mineral depletion, liver inflammation, hardening of the arteries, insulin resistance leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
A special thanks to the Weston A. Price Foundation and their excellent research. I urge all my readers to join the Foundation. Part of the membership includes the quarterly publication Wise Traditions. It contains many gems of knowledge, including the information I am passing along regarding agave nectar.