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I have dedicated my life to studying and applying the best that natural health care has to offer. I am dedicated to patient education and my primary goal is to help my chiropractic patients in enjoying good health and balance in life.

Agave Syrup – It’s Not So Sweet!



The Rodale Institute’s list of the five worst sweeteners  ranks calorie-free Aspartame found in diet sodas, as the unhealthiest sugar, followed by agave nectar.  Splenda, white sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) round out the top five offenders.

The problem with agave? 

Native Mexicans  make a sweetener, a Mexican version of real maple syrup called miel de agave, out of the agave plant by boiling agave sap for a couple of hours. This is not what agave nectar is.

Just like sugar comes from beets (which are natural), and corn syrup comes from corn (which is natural), agave syrup comes from the agave plant, which is natural. But sugar, HFCS and agave syrup are not natural substances. They are processed substances created by man. Agave syrup is highly-processed, created through the use of enzymes, heat, or a combination of enzymes and heat. And like HFCS and other man-made foods, agave syrup should be avoided.

Agave nectar is mostly fructose, which is probably the single most damaging form of sugar when used as a sweetener. Fructose, found naturally in fruit, is fine when you get it from whole foods like apples (7 percent fructose), but not when it’s concentrated and made into a sweetener.

All sugar including table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and honey contains a mixture of fructose and glucose, but with the exception of pure liquid fructose, agave nectar has the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener. Table sugar is 50 percent fructose and high fructose corn syrup is 55 percent fructose, while agave nectar is a shocking 90 percent fructose, almost twice as high as HFCS!

Fructose is the most dangerous part of commercial sweeteners, because it causes insulin resistance and significantly raises triglycerides (increasing the risk for heart disease) and increases fat around the middle (leading to a greater risk for diabetes, heart disease and Metabolic Syndrome).  Fructose has also been linked to fatty-liver disease.

Agave nectar syrup’s popularity and the misconception that it is a “healthy sweetener” is a triumph of marketing. True, it has a low-glycemic index, but that in itself doesn’t mean it’s good for you.  While a small amount of agave nectar on occasion might not hurt you, I avoid it.

Natural sweeteners such as stevia, raw (preferably local) honey, blackstrap molasses, real maple syrup and date sugar are less processed, have less environmental impact and provide more vitamins and minerals.  When I use sweeteners, I choose one of these natural sweeteners, not a man-made alternative.

What is your favorite sweetener?