Is This Trendy “Health Food” Deadlier Than Sugar?
A Billion Dollar Industry
One thing that every health professional can agree on is that sugar is horrible for you. As this belief and awareness become more and more commonplace, the alternative sweetener industry continues to grow (currently a multi-billion industry). As more companies try to get their hand in alternative sweeteners, good options are debuting. Unfortunately, agave nectar has been mistaken as a good sweetener option and as a “health food”.
Worse Than Sugar
You probably won’t believe we’re saying this but… agave is WORSE than plain, white sugar. Shocker, right? Everyone knows how anti-sugar we are as a company, and trust me, we still are. But let me show you why agave nectar truly is worse for you.
Agave is a syrup made from the Agave Tequiliana (Tequila) Plant. The plant itself contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. However, when a plant is processed and refined, it typically loses the positive health effects. The agave syrup found in stores is created by treating the plant sugars with heat and enzymes which destroys the inherent health effects of the agave plant. The result is a highly refined, unhealthy syrup.
Agave nectar is 1 ½ times sweeter with 20 more calories per tablespoon than sugar. One ounce of agave has a glycemic index of 13, 20 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of fiber and that’s… pretty much all there is to it. Since agave is a relatively new product, there still hasn’t been very much research done so there are a lot of false claims with no researched backing. For example, agave manufacturers can claim that their product has a low glycemic index but it's not the whole story.
Regular sugar is ½ glucose, ½ fructose and agave is 85% fructose. Agave has the highest fructose content of any other sweetener and fructose just happens to be the most dangerous form of sugar. However, fructose doesn’t raise glycemic index, which is why companies claim that it’s healthy and diabetic-friendly. The liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose in mass amounts. When the liver is overloaded with fructose, it will turn the fructose into fat and send it out as VLDL particles and will raise blood triglycerides. All of this increases the risk factor for heart disease, long-term insulin resistance diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and excess fat. Not so “diabetic friendly”, is it?
As Dr. Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS observed, “Agave syrup (nectar) is basically high-fructose corn syrup masquerading as a health food.”
What other "health crazes" do you think are misguided and unhealthy?