Author Topic: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?  (Read 21075 times)

Offline TXMom

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Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« on: December 04, 2008, 09:57:02 AM »
I just received some unsettling news about Agave Nectar. 
Here is the article and one other I was able to find on a quick search.

Agave Nectar not as healthy as you think
http://tinyurl.com/5myp99

The Truth about Agave Nectar
http://www.living-foods.com/articles/agave.html

I wondered what others are thinking about this?  Any additional articles for or against would be appreciated.  I have been using it for a year or so and thought it to be a better substitute than other sweetners except honey.  I don't bake with it just use it in coffee/tea.  Thank you for your wisdom in advance.





Offline boysmama

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2008, 04:16:20 PM »
Thank-you for the links.
I do not have any good info to add. Those links are a good summary of what I had found elsewhere. It's always nice to have something concise to pass on to others.
We have decided, based on my reading, not to use agave long term.

Nickole

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2008, 04:42:55 PM »
Well, this was depressing news!  We just bought a gallon of this stuff!   :-\

Offline wyomama3

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2008, 05:12:52 PM »
I warm it with maple flavoring and we use it for syrup.   :-\

Offline SC

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2008, 06:01:57 AM »
I did a LOT of research before beginning to utilize Agave nectar.
Just as with any other food, it is possible to get a over-processed toxic loaded version of Agave nectar. As soon as the food industry sees the opportunity to utilize a product and further promote their product as "healthy," they will find a way to further streamline, standardize and cheapen the process at the expense of nutrients.

I looked over the links, and they were referring to these types of practices.

We continue to use Agave Nectar in our household. We use only organic brands. There are 15 grams of sugar per tablespoon. Because we don't consume processed sugars in our home, Agave is VERY sweet to our pallets, so we don't use globs of it.

I sweeten some meats, oatmeal, occasionally coffee or hot tea, and homemade chocolate candies. That's about it for us . . . Oh! I did make some of the most delicious pecan pies and sweet potato pies with it recently.

My recommendation is to investigate the brand you utilize and their methods of production. Most companies are happy to speak with you by telephone and/or provide you with a consumer information fact sheet.
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Offline dara

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2008, 06:20:02 AM »
(SC- please post those recipes on another thread! I'm interested in Agave recipes.)
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Offline WellTellMommy

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2008, 07:17:57 AM »
I did a LOT of research before beginning to utilize Agave nectar.


I looked over the links, and they were referring to these types of practices

My recommendation is to investigate the brand you utilize and their methods of production. Most companies are happy to speak with you by telephone and/or provide you with a consumer information fact sheet.

What methods of production  are acceptable?
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Offline mdessy

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2008, 08:50:17 AM »
Agave nectar is indeed low glycemic but the problem is the type of sugar not the glycemic index.   Agave nectar is now shown to be 90% fructose (instead of the previously believed 74%).  Unfortunately the higher in fructose something is the less your liver can process at once so it takes the "extra" and stores it as abdominal adipose tissue -- tummy fat.  This is one of the negative points against HFCS. 

also, the way agave was originally harvested by the natives was to cut a hole in the branches and let it fill with nectar, they used it straight.  Now it is heated and processed which destroys some of the nutritional benefits.

Sadly we do not use it anymore in our house.  We are sticking to sucanat, cane juice crystals, maple syrup, honey and stevia.

Offline SC

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2008, 12:24:57 PM »
Quote
Raw agave nectar also has a mild, neutral taste. It is produced at temperatures below 118 degrees F to protect the natural enzymes, so this variety is a perfect sweetener for raw foodists and the health conscious.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agave_syrup

Of those sites which were quoted as having information on how agave nectar is not healthy, one of them (living-foods.com) is a site that promotes a raw foods diet. Because agave nectar is heated before bottling for retail, raw food enthusiasts don't view agave (retailed) as a genuine raw food. From their point of view, agave isn't raw so it cannot be healthy.

perfect-prescription.com is a site devoted to retailing dental products. They believe that sweet foods promote tooth decay -- Something that is true of highly processed sugars, not natural sugars as part of an otherwise healthy diet. According to research done by Dr. Weston Price (check out the Weston Price foundation web site), natural sweets in a diet do not promote tooth decay. Rather it is the highly processed and condensed sugars that result in a depletion of nutrient stores necessary to produce healthy bones and teeth.

And, it IS true that a non-organic, over-processed source of agave nectar is not good for anyone. However given the choice between high-fructose corn syrup, processed sugars or processed agave, I'd do without or choose the agave in moderation.

The same arguments that are being made against agave that I've seen can be used against raw honey. The fly in the ointment is that the writers are overlooking the fact that there are nutrients, enzymes and other beneficial trace elements that are available in these naturally occurring substances that aren't available in the other sweeteners. They are measuring one element of agave against a single element of other substances rather than looking at them as a whole. A whole balanced food gives something to your body whereas an extracted and extruded product will deplete your body's reserves.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 12:43:19 PM by SC »
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Offline mdessy

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2008, 04:51:50 PM »
Quote
The same arguments that are being made against agave that I've seen can be used against raw honey. The fly in the ointment is that the writers are overlooking the fact that there are nutrients, enzymes and other beneficial trace elements that are available in these naturally occurring substances that aren't available in the other sweeteners. They are measuring one element of agave against a single element of other substances rather than looking at them as a whole. A whole balanced food gives something to your body whereas an extracted and extruded product will deplete your body's reserves.

Honey is only about 52% fructose whereas agave is 90% fructose.  That's a huge difference in the load on the liver.

Offline lovingmomof2

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2008, 05:16:27 PM »
So, if you had to choose between Agave Nectar and honey what would you choose? 
Proverbs 31:26
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Offline Whiterock

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2008, 06:43:41 PM »
So, if you had to choose between Agave Nectar and honey what would you choose? 

Honey. Agave nectar is much higher in fructose (as was mentioned earlier) and is even much higher in fructose than high fructose corn syrup. I don't use Agave for many of the same reasons I avoid HFCS. For example: If you ingest concentrated amounts of fructose, you are putting yourself at a much higher risk for developing diabetes, non alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis of the liver.

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Offline c_symphony

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2008, 07:28:26 PM »
So, if you had to choose between Agave Nectar and honey what would you choose? 
I don't use Agave for many of the same reasons I avoid HFCS. For example: If you ingest concentrated amounts of fructose, you are putting yourself at a much higher risk for developing diabetes, non alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis of the liver.

WR

So what about those who already have diabetes?  I thought Agave was an okay thing for diabetics to use because of the low glycemic numbers.
Tummy fat, not such a good thing.  But every once in a while??

Offline lovingmomof2

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2008, 04:58:22 AM »
So, if you had to choose between Agave Nectar and honey what would you choose? 
I don't use Agave for many of the same reasons I avoid HFCS. For example: If you ingest concentrated amounts of fructose, you are putting yourself at a much higher risk for developing diabetes, non alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis of the liver.

WR

So what about those who already have diabetes?  I thought Agave was an okay thing for diabetics to use because of the low glycemic numbers.
Tummy fat, not such a good thing.  But every once in a while??

I am wanting to know about this also.  I have diabetes, but have not yet tried Agave Nectar.  I have made whole wheat chocolate chip cookies with honey and noticed that I did not have to take any insulin if I ate only one or two cookies.  I am sure if I were to eat a lot of cookies I would need to take insulin.  I used raw wildflower honey, but I have recently read that Tupelo honey is supposed to be really good for diabetics.  So, far I am thinking that unless the agave nectar is the really good kind I probably want to stay far away from it and even if it was the really good kind it proably should be used sparingly. 
Proverbs 31:26
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Offline RB

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2008, 05:01:39 AM »
I was using "raw" (?)  agave nectar for a few weeks this summer and started having more acne problems.   Which seems to happen when I consume foods that may not be good for me.   I had been  told to stop using honey and use agave nectar, as it is low glycemic.  I just had a gut feeling about using it, and did some research on internet and came to the conclusion that for our family,  we are staying with honey.  You know,  the land flowing with milk and honey......... ;)       

I know   Weston A Price Foundation said they were  going to do some research about agave nectar and until then, couldn't recommend using it.   I'm wondering what their results were, anyone know? 
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Offline TXMom

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2008, 11:09:00 AM »
Of those sites which were quoted as having information on how agave nectar is not healthy, one of them (living-foods.com) is a site that promotes a raw foods diet. Because agave nectar is heated before bottling for retail, raw food enthusiasts don't view agave (retailed) as a genuine raw food. From their point of view, agave isn't raw so it cannot be healthy.

perfect-prescription.com is a site devoted to retailing dental products. They believe that sweet foods promote tooth decay -- Something that is true of highly processed sugars, not natural sugars as part of an otherwise healthy diet. According to research done by Dr. Weston Price (check out the Weston Price foundation web site), natural sweets in a diet do not promote tooth decay. Rather it is the highly processed and condensed sugars that result in a depletion of nutrient stores necessary to produce healthy bones and teeth.

SC,
  Thank you, I had the same thoughts on the living foods article.  I wasn't sure about the motivation of the other article as it was the original one sent to me.  I get it now though if it has more to do with dental health motivations why they would be against it altogether.
   
   Someone mentioned that Weston A Price Foundation had/was going to do a study.  Anyone have a link to this? 

   I am a little confused as to why Agave Nectar is targeted for Diabetics.  If a high percentage of Fructose is so bad and produces belly fat as was mentioned earlier and liver problems yet, it has low GIndex therefore, slow absorbtion-does this then outweigh the the high %Fructose?  Can someone explain why it is good/better for diabetics than say organic evaporated cane juice or honey? (for those who use it)

   Ladies thank you all for your responses, they have all been very helpful in wading through the info to decide what is best for our family.

Offline RB

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2008, 01:31:11 PM »
I know   Weston A Price Foundation said they were  going to do some research about agave nectar and until then, couldn't recommend using it.   I'm wondering what their results were, anyone know? 

TXMom, 
 I was at a WAP seminar when Sally Fallon mentioned  this, so I don't have a link.   Here is a thread with more discussions on agave nectar.  http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,2959.0.html     See  post # 24   

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Offline Kati*did

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2008, 04:45:04 PM »
I am a little confused as to why Agave Nectar is targeted for Diabetics.  If a high percentage of Fructose is so bad and produces belly fat as was mentioned earlier and liver problems yet, it has low GIndex therefore, slow absorbtion-does this then outweigh the the high %Fructose?  Can someone explain why it is good/better for diabetics than say organic evaporated cane juice or honey? (for those who use it)

   Ladies thank you all for your responses, they have all been very helpful in wading through the info to decide what is best for our family.

I'm a type 1 diabetic and this is my take on agave:  I used to use it, but don't any longer except for when I make granola -- which isn't very often.  Agave nectar has a much lower glycemic index than honey and most other sweeteners, and that's why its targeted for diabetics -- simply because it doesn't raise the blood sugar as quickly.  My thought -- based on almost all sweeteners targeted toward diabetics -- is that they don't really care what the sweeteners do to your health, they just want you to think they're the best and to buy them.  So if the fructose in agave is a problem to a diabetic's liver, I don't think that really concerns them.  By "them", I guess I generally mean whoever is making the money. 

I stopped using agave nectar for 2 reasons:  It still raised my blood sugar too much, and I found out about the high fructose content.  I always used a high quality, organic, raw product, but the more I read about fructose and the liver, the more I felt that consistent use of agave as a sweetener would just add to the possible problems I face as a diabetic. 

Just recently, I received this article from Natural News and I thought it was an interesting read about the fructose in agave, and agave in general.  http://www.naturalnews.com/024892.html

That's my thoughts on it.  HTH  :)

...I just wanted to add that if I wasn't diabetic, I would use raw honey.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2008, 04:47:34 PM by Kati*did »
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Offline Kati*did

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2008, 03:43:51 AM »
I just received an excellent article from the same source as the one I linked above.  This article is written by the president of Madhava agave company and is an excellent rebuttal to the one knocking agave nectar. 

http://www.naturalnews.com/025060.html

I was glad to read this because it gave some clarity and also because Madhava is the agave nectar I happen to use when I make granola.   :D 

I still limit the use of agave nectar because of my previous reasons (fructose levels being  hard on a diabetic liver, and it still raises my blood sugar more than I want), but am happy to understand more about at least the Madhava brand of agave nectar.
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Offline boysmama

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2008, 04:14:29 AM »
Great! That clarifies several issues I had with agave nectar in general. Now I wish someone on the blue agave side would be as direct with info on their process.

Offline Whiterock

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2008, 05:56:38 AM »
So, if you had to choose between Agave Nectar and honey what would you choose? 
I don't use Agave for many of the same reasons I avoid HFCS. For example: If you ingest concentrated amounts of fructose, you are putting yourself at a much higher risk for developing diabetes, non alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis of the liver.

WR

So what about those who already have diabetes?  I thought Agave was an okay thing for diabetics to use because of the low glycemic numbers.
Tummy fat, not such a good thing.  But every once in a while??


Here's an excerpt form the article I found HERE
Quote
In the past, fructose was considered beneficial to diabetics because it is absorbed only 40 percent as quickly as glucose and causes only a modest rise in blood sugar.5 However, research on other hormonal factors suggests that fructose actually promotes disease more readily than glucose. Glucose is metabolized in every cell in the body but all fructose must be metabolized in the liver.6 The livers of test animals fed large amounts of fructose develop fatty deposits and cirrhosis, similar to problems that develop in the livers of alcoholics.

The article is about HFCS but it has a lot of info on fructose, too.

WR
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Offline Ruby

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2009, 04:54:01 AM »
Is agave harmful to use during pregnancy?  Does anyone know anything about this?  I just read an article that says it is and I don't know if it's just more agave misinformation or not.  I am really worried now as I'm 4 1/2 weeks pregnant and have been using it about twice a day in smoothies.  Any information is very appreciated!

Offline orcuttranch

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Re: Agave Nectar is it really bad for us?
« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2010, 08:40:41 AM »
Is agave harmful to use during pregnancy?  Does anyone know anything about this?  I just read an article that says it is and I don't know if it's just more agave misinformation or not.  I am really worried now as I'm 4 1/2 weeks pregnant and have been using it about twice a day in smoothies.  Any information is very appreciated!

Obviously, this will not help the original poster.  But maybe someone else coming along will benefit.  I read this article this morning. 

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/03/30/beware-of-the-agave-nectar-health-food-fraud.aspx

In this article, this statement is made - "Agave is known to contain large amounts of saponins. Saponins are toxic steroid derivatives, capable of disrupting red blood cells and producing diarrhea and vomiting. There is also a possible link between saponins and miscarriage by stimulating blood flow to the uterus, so if you’re pregnant, you should definitely avoid agave products."

I think the whole article has a lot of interesting information in it.  But that would be in answer to the use during pregnancy question. 

This link http://www.naturalnews.com/025060.html posted earlier does seem to answer some of the issues that Mercola's article addresses - at least for this particular company's product.