Agave Nectar - what Robb Wolf calls "Liquid Death"; comparing it to corn syrup!
A common question I often hear is whether Agave Nectar is "ok" to use. Aferall, it has a low glycemic index and comes from a "natural" source, so it must be healthy...right?!
Perhaps delving a bit deeper into how that "natural" source is processed and, hence, how your body will digest it is the more important question.
Prior to going strict Paleo myself, the buzz that was going around was that Agave was the healthiest sweetener one could/should have, so I used Agave Nectar as my sweetener. Most people that are not strict Paleo are somewhat on the fence regarding this product. Ask Paleo folks, however, and most of them have the same opinion - eliminate it from your diet.
Once I joined the ranks of caveman-style eating, I decided to do more reading and research regarding real nutrition and the details behind Agave Nectar . Within a week, I made my decision to forgo sugar - ALL forms of sugar - including Agave Nectar.
The more I read about this sweetener, the more I realized it simply did not fit into my requirements for clean eating. I was simply substituting one sweetener for another, regardless of the source, and knew that the best decision would be to eliminate sugar completely.
So back to the question...is Agave Nectar ok to use?
Don't just take my word for it, make up your own mind by reading some excerpts below and going to the link provided for some detailed reading.
....Agave Syrup is not a “whole” food. It is a fractionated and processed food. Manufacturers take the liquid portion of the agave plant and “boil” it down, thus concentrating the sugar to make it sweet. This is similar to how maple “sap” that comes directly from a tree is heated and concentrated to make maple “syrup.” Agave Syrup is missing many of the nutrients that the original plant had to begin with.
...Agave Syrup and other concentrated sweeteners are addictive, so you end up trading a cooked addiction (eating candy bars or cookies) for a “raw” addiction which is not much better. Eating concentrated sweeteners makes it harder to enjoy the sweet foods we should be eating – whole fresh fruit since they don’t seem as sweet by comparison.
....Agave needs to be hydrolyzed so that the complex fructosans are "broken down" into fructose units or it won't be sweet!!