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  • Agave Nectar



    I was in my local health food store earlier this week and looked at a bottle of raw, organic agave nectar. I was shocked to see that 1 tbsp of it has 60 calories (!!!). I'm especially surprised that it's regularly used as a sweetener in several of the "primal" recipes that have been shared on the forum and on primal sites.


    Can someone explain why it's often used? Is it sweeter than sugar and therefore less is needed? I'm trying to understand why 1 tbsp of 60 calories is a better option than 1 tbsp of 45 calories (standard granulated sugar).


  • #2
    1



    It's just as bad as table sugar, honey, HFCS, grape juice concentrate, dates, etc.


    People might realize one day that they are all just sugar. Just because it comes from a different source doesn't make it any better for you.

    The "Seven Deadly Sins"

    Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . . Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
    Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
    Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)

    Comment


    • #3
      1



      Agave is probably even more problematic than other common sweeteners, given its higher fructose content - something like 70% or more. Fructose appears to be metabolically damaging and is certainly more glycating than glucose.

      Comment


      • #4
        1



        Tarlach, why are dates bad? Are they not just some sort of fruit, dried? Maybe I don't really understand what they are...

        Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.

        Comment


        • #5
          1



          Dates are just very high in sugar. They're a stone fruit/drupe (their pit is about a quarter inch in diameter and about an inch long). It's around 10g of sugar per date, and they are not large. Compare to 1 extra large strawberry (about the same mass/volume or a little bigger) at 1g of sugar.


          Here's a picture of a bacon wrapped date.


          Agave nectar (or agave syrup, as it's properly called if you're not a raw food zombie) is up to 92% fructose. It is not a natural food. I find it especially humorous that the raw foodies like it because the agave goop that comes out of the plant is not really that high simple carbohydrates, and it is processed via thermal hydrolysis with chemicals to break them down into simple sugars, so it's anything but raw.

          Oh, but they can also process it without heat..by fermenting it with black mold.


          From wikipedia:

          Low-carb diet advocate Dr. Michael Eades M.D. advises to "avoid it [Agave syrup] like death".


          Eating fructose because it doesn't immediately spike your blood sugar is like giving up cigarettes for crack. That fructose is assassinating your liver and metabolism. See here: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/04/fructose-vs-glucose-showdown.html


          If you're going to have sugar, you're better off just having plain corn syrup that is 100% glucose rather than table sugar or HFCS or agave. And if non-sugar sweetener is at all an option, choose that. It just sounds like it's primal (as if you're going up to a flower and drinking the nectar from it) due to the name (same reason people think fat == fat, and 'saturated' means 'clogged' instead of the real meaning of 'less reactive/hard to oxidize').

          Comment


          • #6
            1



            Nick, thanks. I mean, I knew they were little pitted thingies and I've eaten them and I have some in my pantry... I just have never seen one that doesn't come out of a bag you know? Like, the thing that it originates from? (And man, bacon-wrapped dates are the shit. So sad to realize they have SO much sugar.)

            Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.

            Comment


            • #7
              1



              Dried fruit has more concentrated sugars.

              Comment


              • #8
                1



                Hang me from the rafters, but if I am going to use a sweetener it will be raw honey.

                Comment


                • #9
                  1



                  Raw honey has the same makeup as HFCS. You are greatly deluded if you think it is any better for you.

                  The "Seven Deadly Sins"

                  Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . . Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
                  Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
                  Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    1



                    Ditto Shelby. Stick to real whole food. In moderation of course. The stories of diabetic honey addicted pharoahs help keep my head out of the honey pot when I can manage to remind myself.


                    Richard Johnson of the University of Florida whose work is referenced in the post from Whole Health Source that Nick linked to has a book out btw, "The Sugar Fix: The High Fructose Fallout That Is Making You Fat and Sick."


                    If you've got any doubts that agave "nectar" is a nasty, industrial food, take a look at this leaflet from Weston A. Price's Sally Fallon. Describes the gruesome details of production:

                    http://www.westonaprice.org/modernfood/HFCSAgave.pdf

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      1



                      Something to look into if anyone is interested is this book/website.

                      http://www.sweetpoison.com.au/

                      Mx

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        1



                        That Weston Price piece made me toss the bottle of agave "nectar" I had pronto. I've not used any in a long, long time but used to fairly often.


                        The part on HFCS was excellent, just enough science to give body, not so much as to overwhelm. I had heard about the reverse molecule on the radio once, but never have seen it in print.


                        Look, fructose is just like anything else entering our body. Some small quantity is not a problem, huge quantities are. What those quantities are depends on the substance, mostly. That's why toxicology has the LD50 and LD100 rates. People have eaten lots of honey and fruit w/o problems gaining weight. But what was "lots" in 1900 is not the same as in the Big Gulp era. You can eat too much of anything considered good in the PB, also. Nature has no perfect food.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          1

                          [quote]

                          Nature has no perfect food.</blockquote>


                          Eggs are pretty close... so is fish or beef (as you can live solely on either).

                          The "Seven Deadly Sins"

                          Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . . Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
                          Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
                          Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            1



                            Close to perfect still isn't.


                            Actually, I think blood might be the in the same category. Instead of consuming it, we dry it out and use it as feed or fertilizer.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              1



                              Look, I am not ready to give up baked good and ice cream totally yet. Maybe I am in transition phase and eventually will get to the point where I can eliminate it completely, but for now, I crave a little dessert after dinner each night. Mostly, blueberries or apples and cinnamon will suffice or perhaps a piece (or two) of dark chocolate. But I have been finding these recipes for almond flour cakes/muffins/cookies and home made ice creams. They often use honey, agave nectar, xylitol, or stevia as a sweetener.


                              So I have been doing a little testing. Sugar causes me to crave more sugar and when I eat dessert with sugar, I can&#39;t stop with one slice. I need another (and then my heart beats really fast and I get high and dizzy). I got the same cravings with splenda. Okay, splenda and sugar are out.


                              So what about the rest (xylitol, honey, agave, and stevia)? From the above discussions, it seems agave is terrible. And honey is the same as HFCS. What about Stevia and Xylitol? I am kinda confused about how these artificial sweeteners affect insulin levels? Do they elevate insulin levels just like sugar? What happens when insulin levels elevate but there is no glucose (cuz it&#39;s fake glucose)? Are you still preventing your body from burning fat?


                              I have read the "Truth about Truvia" post on MDA (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-truth-on-truvia). Is the liquid stevia that is found in the supplement section of the grocery store any better?


                              Does Stevia cause more sugar cravings? What about xylitol?


                              It is my goal to one day stop craving anything sweet ever again. I know that to do that I will have to tighten up and stop eating fruits and all sweet things. Sweet stuff causes more sugar cravings. I know. But until I am ready to take my primal diet to the next level, what is the safest crutch?

                              Comment

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