When I attended the National American Dietetics Association conference in Denver a few months back I heard 2 female biochemists discussing the nitty gritty of carbohydrate metabolism and how different sources of carbohydrate are digested and used by the body.
One fascinating detail they discussed was Agave syrup. I had not paid much attention to it since I don’t recommend anything other than 100% raw sugar or honey to sweeten foods or recipes. Most people know that high fructose corn syrup is not good for us but did you know that agave is actually more harmful? How can that be true?
When I was at Whole Foods today I noticed how Agave is in everything from coconut ice-cream to cookies and crackers. The power of marketing has played a large part of this phenomenon.
High fructose corn syrup is approximately 55-60% fructose and not the natural kind like in fruit. When you consume a large percentage of this type of fructose it goes directly to the liver, which not only increases your triglyceride levels but causes fatty liver, increased hunger levels and a plethora of other health issues you would rather avoid. High levels of fructose make your brain deaf to leptin, the hormone responsible for making you feel full.
Agave is 85-90% fructose. According to the experts, Agave plants are crushed and the collected sap is heated to 140 degrees to concentrate the liquid into a syrup. The heating process is necessary to hydrolyze it into fructose to obtain the desired sweetness. Therefore, Agave is not a natural or whole real food by any sense of the imagination. It is actually a fractionated and processed food to be avoided that comes from Mexico with very few quality controls.
AND it has more fructose than high fructose corn syrup. If you want to sweeten a recipe or add something sweet to your hot beverage use a little cane sugar or honey. Your body and liver will thank you!