Agave – Healthy or Harmful?

by Leisa on April 14, 2010

This message came through from Loving Earth yesterday – and I’m so pleased they explained about the difference between good quality organic, cold extracted Agave Nectar, and the poor quality processed product:

“Recently there has been controversy regarding the use and promotion of agave syrup as a health food. Agave Nectar – The high fructose health fraud an article written by Rami Nagel and Beware of the Agave Nectar Health Food Hype by Dr Mercola are the sources of the confusion. Both authors have presented some valid information regarding conventionally grown and processed Blue Webber Agave. However, the information presented is not an accurate representation of Loving Earth’s Agave products.

Our agave is a Wild Maguey (Salmiana Variety). It is wildcrafted, certified organic and organically processed at low temperature. Loving Earth works closely with the Indigenous Association of Ixmiquilpan. We have met our growers in person and seen their operation. Our growers do not produce tequila they run a small-scale operation producing only agave syrup. Our agave is raw – it is vacuum evaporated at 40º, and a certified organic, vegan enzyme is used to break down the sugars. It contains 70-75% fructose unlike the Blue Webber variety, which can have fructose levels as high as 90%. Visit http://www.raw-chocolate.net/indigenous-growers.php?country=mexico and click on the photos next to the Wild Maguey text to view the operation for yourself. Photo number seven shows the vacuum evaporator.

Doctor Mercola states that ‘agave nectar as a final product is mostly chemically refined fructose’. The sugars in our agave nectar come from the breakdown of the inulin molecule through the introduction of the certified organic vegan enzyme. It is in no way chemically refined, there are no chemicals involved in any part of the production or packaging process. Our growers do not use chemicals, ionic resins, sulphuric/hydrochloric acid, dicalite or clarimex in the manufacturing of our agave syrup. Australian Certified Organic have audited the harvesting and processing of our agave syrup. They have verified that our agave syrup is pure and that no chemicals or genetically modified organisms are used. They have also verified that it is harvested sustainably. It is refined only as much as the excess moisture is removed from the juice of the plant to prevent fermentation.

Another erroneous statement was that all dark agave syrup is burnt. The light and clear varieties of Agave have undergone filtration, which is why they are lighter in colour. Our Dark Agave Syrup is richer in minerals, which results in its darker colour. Unlike high fructose corn syrup that stores its energy as starch, agave syrup stores its energy as inulin, also known as fructans or levulose. Inulin is typically found in roots or rhizomes. There is no starch in agave syrup. Inulin bypasses digestion in the stomach and small intestine and is digested in the large intestine. Inulin actually feeds the probiotic bacteria in our digestive system.

Agave syrup is a concentrated fruit juice. Like all sweeteners, Loving Earth believes that agave syrup should be consumed in moderation. We believe that agave syrup is a healthier sweetener alternative compared to cane sugar. When used respectfully agave syrup does have health promoting properties. Overconsumption and inappropriately using any food leads to health issues and imbalances of our bodies. Agave syrup should be used in moderation as part of a balanced diet.”

Leisa

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6 commentsAdd comment

1 kerrie anne brown April 19, 2010 at 11:51 am

Thanks for that info about agave Leisa, it makes me so happy that I can continue to use it.It never felt like it was a bad product to me, and I was devastated when I read Dr. Mercolas article. I make a buckwheat muesli and use the agave as a binder before dehydrating, and honey just doesn’t do it.Happy days…Cheers Kerrie

2 Michelle April 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm

thanks for this information. I just start recently using Agave in place of Splenda and sugar. I get my Organic blue agave from Trader Joe’s. Any idea of theirs is any good? I got some from Whole foods but didn’t like the taste

3 Leisa April 28, 2010 at 9:33 am

Hi Michelle,
I’m not familiar with the product from Trader Joe’s, but a phone call to manufacturer on the bottle is likely to point you in the direction of whether their Agave is of the same standard as Loving Earth’s… You could always print out Loving Earth’s letter and take it to your local store and ask them to stock that brand, then you know for sure :-)
Leis

4 RealFoodYoda April 30, 2010 at 12:18 am

Michelle, Trader Joe’s agave nectar is produced with a high quality agave nectar manufacturer. It is the same product inside as Wholesome Sweeteners blue agave nectar bottles. They both use the same producer, and the quality is good. Here’s a list of agave nectar companies that I personally know have high standards and good products: Madhava (use natural enzymes), Wholesome (use heat, no enzymes), Xagave (natural enzymes, added inulin), Nature’s Agave (heat, no enzymes). Go with any of these that you like the taste of, and you are getting the best agave nectar that you can trust. Loving Earth looks reputable as well, but I can’t say from personal knowledge.

5 Mamabird May 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm

My fiancé is diabetic and lost 50 lbs , normalizing is blood sugars using agave in his smoothies daily for a month! Yaay for agave! And green smoothies of course!

6 Leisa May 6, 2010 at 12:06 am

That’s fantastic! Yes, good quality Agave is going to be much better than any processed high fructose corn syrup- and the results speak for themselves. Good on your fiancé! That’s just awesome :-)
Leisa

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