Agave syrup – friend or foe?

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We all had high hopes for agave syrup.  Low glycemic index, natural product from the agave plant, sweeter than sugar, so we need less. But Agave syrup turns out to be like a politician: best left unemployed. The fault lies less with the plant but more with the processing which uses heat and sometimes caustic acids and genetically engineered enzymes plus the sugar make-up of Agave syrup.1

So Agave syrup has, at best,  no nutritional value other than sweetness;  at worst the most processed syrups have become poisons.  Agave syrup, even minimally refined, has a special place in sugar hell due to the very high percentage of fructose in it.  I have already gone into the horrors of fructose in a previous blog – how the processing in the liver means it gets stored away as body fat rather than being burnt up as energy when we go skipping round the garden; how it leads to developing diabetes, metabolic syndrome2 and heart attacks more than simple white sugar does. Which explains why Mercola calls Agave a metabolic poison. Fructose does not raise the hormone that tells us we have eaten enough (called leptin), nor lowers the hormone that tells us we need to eat more (called ghrelin), leading us to continue eating more than we otherwise would.   And, finally to finish the rapid naming of some of the shames of fructose, as fructose breaks down, it produces Uric Acid, the gout sufferer’s enemy. According to Mercola, in the video above, agave syrups contains 70-97% fructose, which makes it even worse than the all-American devil, high-fructose-corn-syrup.  He also points out that 70% of the sugar in honey comes from fructose.

Which leads to the crunch point: several times Mercola says that we will come to no harm if we eat a small amount of Agave – or fructose generally, which includes honey and fruit.  And this reiterates my point in all these sugar blogs – that the sweet tooth just has to be reigned in if we are to avoid becoming a nation of Weebles.

  1. Louisa Williams.  Radical Medicine. []
  2. Metabolic syndrome: obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure combined []

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