Agave syrup, deceptively marketed in picturesque vocabulary as a healthy sweetener naturally derived from Mexican yucca plants is actually higher in fructose content than high fructose corn syrup. Commercially produced agave is a newly developed sweetener, a product of the 1990’s that has little to do with the original plant from which tequila is derived. Manufactures’ love it because it is a potent sweetener that is cheap to produce.
Like corn, starch is the principle constituent of agave. This starch is turned into a sweetener by applying the same enzymatic and chemical processing as that used for high fructose corn syrup, yielding a product with 25 percent more fructose than that found in high fructose corn syrup. As addressed in my newsletter on Fructose, excess fructose intake is a primary contributor to obesity, heart disease and other contemporary health issues plaguing most Americans.
There are many additional concerns for agave consumers due to poor quality control measures. These concerns include potential for toxins that may stimulate miscarriage, disruption of red blood cell activity, diarrhea and vomiting. Contaminants that have been found in agave have cancer causing potential. Some distributors even add high fructose corn syrup to the agave, yet don’t identify this on their label.
In conclusion, use sweeteners that you know to be safe such as honey, stevia and raw dates. Treat all sweeteners with respect, and enjoy in moderation. If you have insulin issues avoid all sweeteners, including stevia, since any sweetener can decrease your insulin sensitivity.
I hope you have enjoyed this month’s newsletter. Questions and comments are always welcome
Jon Dunn, ND
Advertised as a diabetic friendly, all natural sweetener, Agave is at best no healthier than high fructose corn syrup.