The Myth of Agave as a “Healthy” Sugar Substitute

17 Sep

Before you read this please note that most foods, even unhealthy foods eaten in moderation are generally tolerated quite well by our miraculous bodies. Our bodies can handle quite a bit of toxic burden, and deal with it effectively so that we still stay healthy. Having said that you never know what will tip the scales and move you from health to illness. And so as I always say, try to mostly make wise choices, and then accept the possible consequences when you do not.

Having said that, after you read this you may all toss your agave. You can use a little is what I am saying, but use it mindfully. It is not as ideal as we all thought it was….

Ok so here is the agave scoop!

Fully chemically processed sap from the agave plant is known as hydrolyzed high fructose inulin syrup. According to Dr. Ingrid Kohlstadt, a fellow of the American College of Nutrition and an associate faculty member at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health:
 “[Agave is] almost all fructose, highly processed sugar with great marketing.”

Agave syrup is not low calorie.

Agave syrup is about 16 calories per teaspoon, the same as table sugar.

Agave syrup may not have a low glycemic index.

Depending upon where the agave comes from and the amount of heat used to proc­ess it, your agave syrup can be anywhere from 55 percent to 90 percent fructose! And it’s likely you won’t be able to tell from the product label. This range of fructose content hardly makes agave syrup a logical choice if you’re hoping to avoid the high levels of fructose in HFCS (high fructose corn syrup).

And if you’re diabetic, you should know that the alleged benefit of agave for diabetics is purely speculative. Very few agave studies have been docu­mented, and most involved rats. There have been no clinical studies done on its safety for diabetics.

Since most  agave syrup has such a high percentage of fructose, your blood sugar will likely spike just as it would if you were consuming regular sugar or HFCS, and you would also run the risk of raising your triglyceride levels. It’s also important to understand that whereas the glucose in other sugars are converted to blood glucose, fructose is a relatively unregulated source of fuel that your liver converts to fat and cholesterol.

**** A significant danger here is that fructose does not stimulate your insulin secretion like glucose, nor enhance leptin production, which is thought to be involved in appetite regulation. Because insulin and leptin act as key signals in regulating how much food you eat, as well as your body weight, dietary fructose can also contribute to increased food intake and weight gain.

Other Dangers of Fructose; consuming high amounts of concentrated fructose may cause health problems ranging from mineral depletion, to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and even miscarriage in pregnant women. Fructose may also interfere with your body’s ability to metabolize copper. This can result in depletion of collagen and elastin, which are vital connective tissues. A copper deficiency can also result in anemia, fragile bones, defects in your arteries, infertility, high choles­terol and heart disease, and uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Additionally, fructose consumption has been shown to significantly increase uric acid. Elevated lev­els of uric acid are markers for heart disease. It has also been shown to increase blood lactic acid, especially in diabetics. Elevations in lactic acid can result in metabolic acido­sis. Isolated fructose has no enzymes, vitamins or minerals and can rob your body of these nutrients in order to assimilate itself. Hence, consumption of fructose can also lead to loss of vital minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

Enough information? I thought so…now it is up to you to choose!


Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “The Myth of Agave as a “Healthy” Sugar Substitute

  1. Cheri

    September 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    wow, great info Dr. Levitt!! Thanks!!


    September 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Great article… I shared it with my Facebook page.


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