In my research for a healthier lifestyle I've learned a lot about the dangers of too much fructose. I then learned that agave syrup is mostly fructose, much higher concentration than the dreaded high fructose corn syrup. I also learned that it is processed at temperatures above 140 degrees. Yet I see it in *a lot* of raw food recipes. Here's one of the websites that I found this info on, but it's in many different places. http://www.living-foods.com/articles/agave.html
I just wanted to start a discussion on what people really think of agave. I have friends that are raw-foodists that use it on a regular basis, and they seem to be quite healthy, but I haven't been able to bring myself to touch the stuff because of the fructose. So what do you think about it?
I think that if you use it in moderation you should be fine. Unfermented agave is a slow- release carb which you body can feed off of for longer. I wouldn't pour it over things like syurp, but using a teaspoon or two is better than loading something up with sugar. Since it is so sweet, I couldn't imagine using much more than that anyways, but thats just my preference in sweetness.
I have noticed there is agave nectar and then there is raw agave nectar. Maybe this stuff isn't processed at so high a temperature? Also, fructose is what is in fruit as well.... so while some forms of it are unhealthy, not all is.
But I agree with KMcR. Moderation is probably key.
I am glad someone started this. I noticed my toddlers having extreme intense sugar reactions to it and did my own research a few months ago and we have been off it since then. Kevin Gianni has also done some shows on youtube about this as well. It is not the health food it it touted to be and the only real raw agave is clear and more watery and much more expensive. I have read numerous articles linking it to miscarriages (due to the high amount of sapponins in it) also it is not safe for diabetics most docs will say b/c of the high amounts of fructose just like high fructose corn syrup is not. Yes fruit does contain fructose but your body processes it differently b/c it has more enzymes and other nutrients and minerals with the fructose. Another thing to note is that a lot of Agave ( I think almost all of it actually) comes from mexico and is transported in the same trucks as corn syrup so there is a lot of cross contamination I found this out thru research after my toddler got exzema from it she is very allergic to all corn products. The truth about agave is it is a sugar sweetner just like cane juice or corn syrup and yes those things wont kill you in moderation but it is a personal choice and its important to not decieve yourself by believing it is healthy or truly raw. Maple Sugar and coconut sugar are not raw either and are still used a lot in raw recipes. Rawvegansource.com sells a truly raw clear agave. Also I know I may sound annoying and ranting about agave but I felt it was a manipulative deception by companies trying to make money off people who are trying to have the healthiest sweetner and that pisses me off. There is also a thread on here where there is a link to an endangered bat that eats only the nectar of the agave plant and because of how they process it by killing the plant thru harvesting the whole thing the bat is running out of food. Tequila production also contributes since it is from the same agave plant.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6X3apFuL9Y this is Kevin Giannis info vid
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/species/mexlongnose/ here is the link about the endangered bat look under reasons for decline for info on wild agave harvesting
Knowledge is truly powerful
from any standpoint, whole foods are always better than refined ones. any kind of syrup makes me feel weighed down, so i stick to dates. however, coming from a standard american diet, i think agave is a big improvement from high fructose corn syrup and all the other crap that's out there.
My goal is eliminating processed foods. Agave is processed, so I decided there is no reason to have it in my cabinet. I did try it, before giving thought to that. I now use raw honey. (Of course, no, it's not vegan.)
I just recently purchased some organic raw agave nectar from Wholesome Sweeteners (the deal was just too good, 88 oz. for $11) and it says it was processed under 118 degrees. It is, however, from Mexico, so I hope there is no cross contamination : /
Here is a thread here on gone raw about agave both positive and negative (note #7 response) hope that helps some.
For everyone to decide for them selves.
I think this is just one of those topics which will always cause debate. There have been quite a few discussions on this site relating to this.
I use agave occasionally, but like using dates/maple syrup to sweeten things. (I'm not 100% raw)
This is really interesting. I've been getting the raw agave from Whole Foods and even though it says raw, it does have a corn syrupy consistency. Thank you for bringing up this topic! I will definately reconsider before buying another bottle.
Processed fructose is the culprit. Don't be afraid to eat fruit just because it has fructose, that would be silly!
Keep in mind, all refined sugars are no good. Any sugar with no fiber will lead to health problems- wether minimal or large still health problems. If you want to use a sweetner, eat fruit. Packed full of all the vitamins you need, full of water, whole food, tasty, sweet, full of fiber, and just plain old sexy ;)
Granted honey is not processed, it still is a refined sugar. It naturally has no fiber. We are suppose to digest sugars with fibers. Also, there are A LOT of enzymes in honey (half of the enzymes) that we can not digest. Bees use those enzymes as preservers.
I understand if you have a apiculture set up at your house and your doing more good than harm for the bees, but if not lets allow the bees to rebuild themselves. Large apifarms have done most the damage to the bee's colonies, lets not add to it :)
In great faith
Thanks so much for all the replies! I did check the forums before I posted, and there was nothing I could find within the last 6 months. It's possible I overlooked something. I really wanted to get a feel for how real raw foodies feel about it, not just some scientist in a lab. I like to hear all sides of a discussion before I make up my own mind. Thanks again.
I second Nancy's suggestion to read the other thread, particularly post #7 (which quotes another source). Note especially that the idea that agave has more fructose than HFCS came from an early version of agave nectar that was made very differently from the way it's commercially made now.
FWIW, I find agave to be much, much easier on my blood sugar levels than dates or honey--or even bananas. Obviously, it's a processed product, and everyone should make their own decision as to whether to use it.