Monday, December 8, 2014

Throw out your bottle of agave nectar!

(picture borrowed from

Have you ever read that agave nectar (aka agave syrup) is a healthy sweetener? Yeah, me too. I happily used it for several years as a substitute to refined sugar in my diet. Big, big mistake. Agave nectar is by many a large corporation in the food industry marketed to the health-conscious consumer as an alternative to sugar or other types of sweetening. A string of health stores, nutritional sites and food bloggers can often be seen praising agave for being diabetic friendly, 100 % natural, raw and what not. Yet it is none of these. One of my big frustrations here in life is hearing so-called experts talking about stuff they clearly don’t know anything about and I can’t even begin to tell you how much my blood boils every time I hear about anyone giving the thumbs up for agave.

Why is agave unhealthy?

In spite of manufacturers’ claims, agave nectar is not made from the sap of the yucca or agave plant but from the starch of the giant pineapple-like root bulb. The principal constituent of the agave root is starch, similar to the starch in corn or rice, and a complex carbohydrate called inulin, which is made up of chains of fructose molecules. The process by which agave glucose and inulin are converted into “nectar” is similar to the process by which corn starch is converted into high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) (link:

TIP: Check out Sally Fallon Morell. She’s one of the most knowledgeable voices within the nutritional world and I encourage you to check out her food bible Nourishing Traditions. It’s great for anyone who wants to live in a natural way and eat “clean”, healthy foods. 

So what are the best sweeteners?

The rule of thumb should be to avoid using sweeteners when you can. Drink your tea without sweeteners and enjoy the taste for what it is. An added bonus is that you’ll soon start noticing tastes that you might not have discovered before due to have “killed” them with sweeteners! When you do use sweeteners, make sure you choose the ones that are natural and unrefined. My favourites are maple syrup, honey, stevia and raw unrefined cane sugar. I also use granulated maple syrup, sucunat and coconut sugar (aka coconut flower sugar). These top the list of sweeteners that have intact minerals and that don’t give you crazy high blood sugar levels. Honey is the king nutrition-wise, but since it’s very sweet I advice you to use it with moderation.

Is the fructose found in fruits and berries also bad for me?

Fructose naturally accuring in fruits and berries, isn’t bad in the same way as free or unbound fructose is. It other words: Eat your fruits without worrying about the fructose (just don’t overdo it, as with any type of food), but beware that if you juice your fruits, the fructose is released from it’s natural form. It becomes more concentrated and it may cause a spike in your blood sugar level. 

Sometimes I just have to laugh when I think about all the things I’ve done and the foods I’ve eaten, thinking I was healthy. The good thing about following me is that you can learn by all my mistakes instead of making them yourself. It may also save you hundreds of dollars on your quest towards a healthier life ;) So please, throw out that bottle of agave syrup today

With Love

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