Saturday, July 03, 2010

More on the agave nectar debate

Here's an interesting article on the allegations against agave nectar. It seems to be well researched and along the lines with what I had found when I wrote an article a couple of years ago.

Agave nectar is one of the sweeteners I use and I really like it for liquids like lemonade and ice cream because it dissolves so well and doesn't change the flavor of the food. As I've said before, any sweetener that is over-consumed is not healthy but in moderation, I think agave nectar is a good choice.

6 comments:

Spr0ut said...

This link isn't working for me. :-(

堅強堅強 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cathe Olson said...

Sorry, Sr0ut, it's fixed now.

Cathe

Spr0ut said...

Thank you. :-)

Laura said...

I'm curious--I came here after linking from the vegfamily article (it's not dated, but apparently it was from 2009)... why haven't any of Robert Lustig's works--which admittedly speak out against agave but in general against ALL fructose sources (including/especially fruit juices) consumed without fiber--whole fruit only, never without full pith, and nix the sweeteners...

The only sweeteners that are potentially healthy(ish) are grade B maple syrup (because some studies, which still of course emphasize MODERATION, indicate it has unique antioxidants that can increase insulin sensitivity) and "maybe" stevia, though every doctor I work with is hesitant with stevia because we simply do not know enough about how it is handled; it's a "great idea in theory" but no one can stand behind it at all because like so many herbal phenomena, it all too often takes people getting sick (echinacea, St John's wort, OTC melanoma craze, etc etc etc) to define where the disease is.

Likewise, the xylitols/erythritol type sugar alcohols wreak havoc on the GI tract, so they are even worse in acute use... but Dr Lustig and his colleagues across the world tend to place corn syrup as the WORST (because it DOES break down and store somewhat differently from sugar; previously, it was considered an "equal"), agave is the next worst, refined sugar next, "less refined" sugars ie Florida Crystals/turbinado/"raw" sugar a bit better, then honey, then grade B maple (grade A has far less antioxidants and a bit higher glucose) being the "best" apart from unsulphered molasses most people won't use. In any/every case, the amount should be SO limited--the amount in a 12oz soda is the total to consume in a DAY amongst ALL food sources, and again fruit juice/jamba/smoothies... they drop the fiber in those (same with all refined flours--enriched being a very bad word because it means they took it out to start! and pastas made FROM those flours, almost all doughs that we consider "palettable" ie the legal word for made-unhealthy, and more)...

The things that most nutritions agree should absolutely be minimized are soy (max 10g a day and only FERMENTED), fructose (cap currently considered an occasional max of 50g a day but realistically should stay at half of that since fructose in good forms--like whole carrots--can't be consumed in high enough quantities because the fiber fills us, same with eating whole citrus fruit and not juicing them, which removes what is healthy about them--"want vitamin C? Eat an orange, don't drink its whiskey counterpart" as one seminar I attended said")... ethanol (beer, etc) as it does both the acute car-hugging-a-tree deed and, long term, exactly what fruit juice does, kill the liver...

(part 2 coming...)

Laura said...

(2/2)Fructose gets stored as fat. Only marathon runners get a free pass on what they eat, and their bodies are depleted of everything so their livers don't get touched, hence gatorade actually being fine for them--even soda would be. Natural is "better" in many respects, but agave is refined, too, by heating etc... if we got all our sugar by chewing cane, we'd be FINE. We don't... if we did as is traditional and roasted the agave stalks and ate them and the whole leaves as once was custom--"never wasting what can be consumed" just as was done with cane, again, we'd be fine! It's this "take only the sap/the sugar/the syrup that is causing us to be a nation of insulin resistant, overweight, lethargic, demented (literally--it's linked quite closely in plenty of studies), and liver-damaged humans, and it is being seen as young as 6 months thanks to two major culprits: soy formula (because they "have to add a sugar--sucrose--to replace the lactose in milk, which converts to GLUCOSE instead of fat!), which has a whole host of developmental and neurological ailments linked... and juice... kid's juice/refined products without the fiber... even many baby foods are killing our children. It has to stop from the top down in the home (us then the kids) and from the bottom up in society (because the government's food standards are defined by the INDUSTRY that seeks only to PROFIT... thank Nixon for making food a "non issue" by subsiziding things that are terrible, that leave us not-full because our leptin responses are halted, and that ultimately malnourish us no matter how many calories we push down our throats. Hormones complicate it even more, but for now... I'll just leave you to listen to... oh man, there are at least 6 hours of Robert's interviews and his now-famous seminar Sugar: The Bitter Truth (originally simply for the 230 or so there--it was a series called "medical school for the general public" and he was one of many speakers; the entire set is wonderful, but I don't know that all the speakers' recordings are widely available... I'd have to check, but by the time I could, I'm sure you'd be able to find it! In any case, while I'll admit he sometimes sounds quite know it allish, he by no means is--he's really, really humble and wants to investigate and be proven wrong as much as right--just wants to genuinely take care of others, same reason we all go into this field!)

Take care, and I hope his works and others are helpful!