I’ll be the first to admit that a few years ago, I praised agave nectar and recommended it without hesitation. I would rave about this “natural” sweetener being low-glycemic and encourage everyone to use it in place of highly refined white sugar. It had a pure, sweet flavor without an after taste. I would add it to smoothies and bake with it regularly. Well, now that more information is available, I’ve changed my tune and admit being wrong. What have I learned? If something is too good to be true, it probably is.
Most of us have heard of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)and now that is is highly processed and detrimental for our health. This is true. Part of the concern is that contains anywhere from 42-90% fructose. Fructose is a type of sugar; it is low-glycemic and naturally found in fruits and some vegetables. Most produce contains small amounts of fructose. When it enters our body in such a large amount (like in HFCS) we have a tough time digesting it. It heads straight to our liver, resulting in a pretty heavy and toxic load. It can raise triglyceride levels, leading to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and even liver damage.
So what does this have to do with agave nectar? While high fructose corn syrup is dangerous with 42% fructose, agave nectar has 97% fructose. This is quite alarming; when consumed regularly and with consistency, it can wreak havoc on our health. It is also unqualified that this product is ‘natural.’ Agave is produced in factories much in the same way as HFCS.
Since agave nectar no longer holds a space in my pantry, for a liquid sweetener, I prefer using coconut nectar and raw honey (in moderation as it contains slightly high levels of fructose). I love baking with coconut palm sugar. It is mineral rich, low-glycemic and is easy to substitue in recipes for white sugar. You can also try using liquid stevia to sweeten beverages.