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Agave Nectar? No, Thanks.

October 24, 2021 | Nutrition | 1 comments | Author:

What do high fructose corn syrup and agave nectar have in common? Quite a lot actually. High fructose corn syrup (along with refined white sugar) is a carbohydrate virtually devoid of any vitamins or minerals. It is addictive and causes weight gain. It is not the same as fructose in fruit, which is bound to minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Most agave nectars, which are promoted as a health food, are processed as much as high fructose corn syrup. It is not made from the sap of the yucca or agave plant as the producers would have you believe, but from the giant, starchy, root bulb of the plant. The process to convert this root into agave nectar is remarkably similar to corn starch becoming high fructose corn syrup.

Both high fructose corn syrup and agave nectar go through extensive chemical refining which changes the enzymatic structure of the syrup. In high fructose corn syrup, the polarity of the molecules is flipped, making it a different isomer than the fructose in fruit. The chemical refining in both converts the starch into a fructose-rich syrup. High fructose corn syrup used in sodas is usually 55 percent refined fructose. Agave nectar on the other hand, is anywhere from 70 percent fructose and higher.

Man made chemical fructose such as high fructose corn syrup and agave nectar are directly linked to cancer and diabetes. Once consumed, refined fructose becomes triglyceride. Body fat is essentially stored triglyceride. Chronic high triglyceride develops insulin resistance, inflammation and heart disease. Because the pancreas and the brain regulate glucose with insulin, it promotes satiety signals to the brain when consumed. Fructose, however, doesn’t depend on insulin to be transported into cells, therefore it never signals the brain. Basically you can consume a lot of it without feeling full or satisfied.

Agave nectar, with its higher concentration of refined fructose, causes all the same problems and diseases as high fructose corn syrup. Agave nectar is low on the glycemic index because it doesn’t raise the glucose levels in your blood, because the regulation with insulin isn’t necessary for it to pass into your cells. It may cause mineral depletion, liver inflammation, hardening of the arteries, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and obesity, however. There are exceptions, of course. There is natural syrup that the native people of central Mexico make by boiling the sap or juice of the agave plant for a few hours, and a mildly alcoholic fermented one from the sap, but that is not what is typically sold in stores today. In fact, the difference in color of agave nectars, from almost clear to a darker amber color is simply a result of poor quality control in processing plants. Sometimes the fructose gets burned when heated above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so the darker agave nectar is just burned syrup. Very few pure agave products exist on the market today, so it is safer to just stay away.

Once again, it’s sugar (especially high fructose corn syrup) that makes you fat, not fat. You should strive to completely eliminate high fructose corn syrup and agave nectar from your diet and limit your consumption of wholesome natural sweeteners when they are processed (like in baked goods). More nutritious sweeteners include raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, sorghum molasses, and unrefined dried sugar cane juice (sucanat or rapadura). Also look to dates and other dried and fresh fruits to add sweetness to your day—these are the ideal sweets to enjoy.

By: Ashley Dance




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