Good afternoon! Back to the Monday grind. Hopefully it was a nice and relaxing weekend. One of the highlights of my Sunday was an awesome restorative yoga class. It was very different than other classes I’ve attended and included a lot of meditation and breath work. After my post last week about sugar, I have been thinking about all of the sources I use regularly. I had heard recently that Agave Nectar was not all it was cracked up to be and set out to do a little more research on whether or not it was a healthy sugar substitute. For years, people have thought Agave was healthy, organic and certainly a better option than traditional white sugar. I thought this too and often used it to bake, as a sweetener when I was baking, or on my oatmeal. However, recently I’ve read more and more that it’s simply not the better solution that it appears to be.
If you’re not familiar, Agave is a natural sweetener that is a little milder tasting than maple syrup that is relatively low on the glycemic index scale. The reason that agave ranks so low is that it is primarily made of fructose which does not hike up blood sugar or glucose. Fructose though is not easily metabolized by the body and can in fact contribute to obesity. Agave actually has higher fructose content than other natural sweeteners – even more so than high fructose corn syrup. Since it had such a great reputation in the healthy living community for such a long time it is found in numerous products too such as energy bars and assorted drinks.
All the information out there on what you should eat can be confusing and often overwhelming. What’s a girl to left to choose? Well, if you really love Agave you could have it in small amounts, but you should at least know what you are eating. If you are using it because it is labeled as healthier then I would recommend switching to honey, natural maple syrup or Stevia. They’re all great alternatives and an easy swap to make. I don’t think Agave is so dangerous that you have to avoid all the products where it may be on the ingredient list. I do think though that there’s no reason to consumer larger amounts of it when the evidence clearly shows that it’s not offering any true benefit.
Question of the Day: What’s your sweetener of choice?