The following is input from a visitor to our healthy eating website. We appreciate hearing from our readers with questions, comments or guest blogs since the compendium of healthy eating information is large and complicated and is growing and changing all the time.
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Is agave syrup better than sugar for sweetening? My husband is on a diet and I make him these special cookies that are sweetened with agave syrup. It is quite expensive and I wondered if you thought it was worth the cost. Thanks.
This is a great question, Shayla! Agave syrup has gained popularity in recent years as a healthy alternative to white sugar. However, there is some controversy surrounding this trend.
Part of the problem with agave syrup is that since it has become a hot item, the food producers have changed the way it is processed, making it very similar to high fructose corn syrup, rather than the natural syrup from the agave cactus that it originally was when it first hit the food supply.
As soon as it became a highly profitable commodity, food companies figured out ways to make it cheaper to produce and so it stopped being the “natural” food that it once was.
Too much fructose
Another problem with agave syrup is that it is very high in fructose, a simple sugar that must be processed by the liver. This is the reason that agave syrup is lower on the glycemic index than other sweeteners. Instead of going right into the bloodstream as most simple sugars do, fructose must go through the liver to be digested. There is a body of evidence that shows that we eat too much fructose which leads to fat synthesis and a fatty liver.
Note-The fructose that occurs in whole fruits does not seem to have the same issues, possibly due to the fiber, etc. found in the whole food.
Links for more information
Here are some links that may help clarify these issues for you.
Agave Nectar Good or Bad?
What's wrong with Agave Nectar?
I suggest that you use processed sugars very sparingly. I live in an area where maple syrup is plentiful and I often use a little of this locally-produced sweetener in my cooking.
I hope this helps and thank you for visiting our healthy eating website!
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