agave syrup!

Please read this about agave syrup, quoted from an article from mercola.com:

Many people interested in staying healthy have switched to agave as a safer "natural" sweetener. They want to avoid well documented dangerous sweeteners like HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) but are unaware that agave is actually WORSE than HFCS.

So just what is agave?

Blue agave is an exotic plant growing in the rich volcanic soil of Mexico under a hot tropical sun, boasting a stately flower stem that blooms only once in its lifetime. "Agave" literally means "noble." It

Comments

  • A couple of comments on the above article. First, it's possible that there are better sweetners than agave such as stevia and others or better yet foregoing sweetners to allow your taste buds to get use to less sweet food. That said I think that the above article does require some observations. First of all, the author Joseph Mercola, D.O is selling a non-vegan raw sweetner http://products.mercola.com/honey/. Second, Mercola stipulates that his raw honey, like agave, is high fructose and is 70 percent fructose. See prior url. He suggests a 25 gram limit which one can do with raw agave and still stay vegan. Third, Mercola himself is apparently pushing a Weston Price like raw meat diet. http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/debunking-diet-myths-the-meat-and-butter-diet.html.

    This being a raw vegan forum, I cannot accept Mercola's conclusions at face value given that he is a non-raw vegan "authority" who is selling a non-raw vegan substitute, honey while criticizing agave a product that competes with a product he sells. I will let the reader draw his own conclusions. Please note: per above, I'm not pushing agave or disputing the information, such as it is, in the above article. To be honest, I think we should all be trying to use less sweetners in our food and when we need to sweeten use fresh fruits such as dates, bananas and so forth. So even if you buy that agave is completely unhealthy, I don't and I intend to keep using raw agave in small amounts, it doesn't follow that raw honey is the way out.

  • Seems like you're biased toward the information because Mercola isn't a vegan. He doesn't even mention honey in the article. I think you're reading a bit too much into it.

    Personally, I think agave is disgusting. It makes me feel terrible, produce a lot of mucous and it gives me head aches. Maple syrup is full of beneficial minerals. Cane juice is raw and well balanced. Date syrup is made with whole, fresh fruit. Why would you even think of adding agave to your food when there are so many alternatives that are less questionable? If you're having problems with insulin levels, you should not be buying into the whole "diabetic friendly sweetener" thing. You should probably be trying to get healthy instead of taking shortcuts, unless you really don't care.

  • alexa, have you read this about maple syrup?

    http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj97mar/973sugar.htm

    about halfway down the page

    I love a lot of the info I get from Mercola, but I would never deny that he has an agenda. His website has a plethora of information, but that doesn't make him money. That's why he endorses products, and pushes them. A lot.

  • and even 100% pure organic maple syrup is produced at temperatures near and sometimes above boiling water.

    im sure its better than corn syrup and white sugar though.

  • Maple syrup's not raw at all, it's made by boiling tree sap. But whatever floats yer boat!

  • I wish he would differentiate between sources of fructose. I think getting 25 g of fructose from agave is much worse than say, eating a mango. Im not 811 by any means, but i think eating fruit is healthy for you and sweeteners should be limited or avoided. I like me some stevia and i do local humane honey on occasion (i buy one jar from the bee keeper i know and it lasts about a year).

    I read a lot of mercolas information, but i keep in mind that he is like Atkins, he pushes proteins (like eggs- gross!) and says limits the carbs. I personally hate low carb diets- it just doesnt jive with me.

    Its all about balance in my mind, lots of veggies, lots of greens, lots of non-sweet fruits, plenty of sweet fruits (proportional to how much you work out, i think), small amounts of nuts or seeds, and oils and sweeteners are used sparingly. Local and organic where possible. Follow that logic- you'll be ok.

  • Alexa,

    I'm not biased against the information because Mercola isn't a vegan, though it is a raw vegan board, not just raw. I am skeptical because he indicts agave because of its high fructose content and sells a product on his own site which is just as bad so that he has to put "warning" and set a 25 gram limit on it. My point is that one could presumably do that for agave as well. I personally enjoy agave and consume it in moderate amounts. I don't have problems with insulin levels. Not sure where you got that idea. Regarding using alternatives to agave, covered that in my prior post, including possibly stevia and sweeting with fruits such as dates and bananas. To each their own.

    Paul

  • I have read that about maple syrup, but thanks anyway. I know the stuff I get is produced with vegetable oil and has no filler sweeteners added.

    Obviously maple syrup isn't raw but at least it isn't toxic and has lots of uncommon minerals in it.

    Wasn't speaking to you specifically about the insulin levels, but that's a major selling point.

    Yeah, the fructose levels of honey are similar to that of agave. Honey has health benefits though. Agave is harmful in more ways than just a high fructose level. They aren't equal by any means. I think Mercola just sells what he believes to be healthy. He's being honest about the downside to eating honey on the product page. There's nothing sneaky going on here.

  • "They aren't equal by any means".

    I agree with you. Honey has a Glycemic Index of 83, High Fructose Corn Syrup is 85. Agave is 14. http://www.elitefitness.com/articledata/glycemic.html So in addition to having a high fructose content, honey has a hi glycemic index, much higher than agave, one more similar to high fructose corn syrup due to its higher glucose content. So honey raises both your blood sugar and increases insulin resistence.

    I think also many of the "disadvantages" cited by Mercola against agave such as "addictiveness" are not unique to agave as a sweetner but are true for other sweetners as well. You can gain weight on anything you overeat, honey, agave or any highly concentrated sweetner. Nothing special about agave in that regard.

    That said, as I mentioned in my original post, I'm not a big agave fan. I just don't buy all of the negative hype from competitiors and think it should be evaluated in context. And as I mentioned in my original post, we should look for natural sweetners such as dates and bananas to sweeten our recipies and/or learn to limit our sweet tooths. I particularly like Rawtarian's article about not goofing up your palate. http://therawtarian.com/dont-screw-up-your-palate/ Truth is while I enjoy agave to offset the taste of bitter greens and pungent garlic, I don't add agave to most of my recipies. I've even stopped using it in my raw breads since I have golden raisins and dates. I guess I just don't buy all of negatives being trotted out.

    Paul

  • I've never had agave (and have never been curious enough to try it) but I do wonder about the ecological impact of shipping jars of the stuff all over the world from Mexico...at least honey can be found in many countries locally....

  • Paul B!

    I perfectly agree w/your sentiments. I use ALL sugars sparingly (fruit, agave, maple syrup (if at all) , yacon syrup, date powder, black strap molasses, etc.). However I HAVE had good results w/using agave sparingly. I am formerly very hypoglycemic-prone, & w/agave (the REALLY good, certified low glycemic, organic kind) I have suffered ZERO negative effects. Honey, on the other hand, is harvested inhumanely, as honey is made for for bees, not humans (and I've read that in an entire lifetime, a single worker bee gathers only 1/10 tsp of honey! It requires 10,000 worker bees to gather a just a pound of honey!)

    However more notably to the point of this discussion, Dr. Mercola vilifies agave, while SELLING a competing food-honey!! ...He also sells, OSTRICH, BISON, CHICKEN, BEEF, AND CHEESE from his website...so like Paul, I question the overall soundness of his argument, as well as the potential downsides of agave he points out that basically can be said of any sweet (and especially fructose-containing food. (He harshly criticizes fructose, however according to his guidelines, a few of any of the fruits mentioned in this post (apples, raisins, certainly bananas, mangos, etc.) a day would be toxic to one's health, as well)!

    I think in moderation, agave is a pleasant indulgence, and I definitely think when a doctor is supplying information while also SELLING competing supplements, the objectiveness of the point of view is easily questioned. Beyond that, his claims just don't appear the most SOUND. However all of this is all food for thought.

    :)

  • holisticlady, I'm on the same page. I tell my kids that we don't use honey because it's stealing from the bees, who had to work really hard to make it. ;) I don't think it's much better than weaning a calf to take the milk for human consumption.

    I think that a little bit of sweeteners is ok too, as long as we stay away from the HFCS (which they are now finding to be mercury contaminated!). I figure if my kids have a little bit of agave in their green smoothies, they're still miles ahead of most kids in the US! lol

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