Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Agave Nectar and other FYI

I have wondered about agave nectar (sometimes called agave syrup) for awhile now. Since we have been in Africa for almost 2 years now, I have never tried it myself. I have a good friend who has been eating more raw foods for better health. She has lately been trying out some raw dessert recipes.

She asked me to find out more about agave nectar since she heard that it might not be as good as we've heard. I found some links to help everyone read up on this ingredient used for sweetening.

Please note: These articles have information to be considered. I do not necessarily endorse everything that the following people believe, say or otherwise convey. Please read with "detective eyes."

A bit of research to consider:
The Truth about Agave Syrup: Not as Healthy as You May Think
by John Kohler

Glucose and fructose considerations:
The Awesome Agave
by Lynn Stephens

Brief description of processing the plant:
Madhava Agave Nectar - 100% natural sweetener
by Wild Organics

Blog entry on agave nectar uses & other helpful links:
Kalyn's Kitchen Picks: Agave Nectar
by Kayln Denny

After reading a bit on my end, I'll check into it further before buying it myself. As with any sweetener, use in moderation. Know what you are buying no matter if you are a raw foodist, vegetarian, diabetic, trying to lose weight or anything in between.

I think there are possibly some good uses for agave nectar. I personally use a few sweeteners. I use honey, maple syrup, stevia, and used to use turbinado ("raw") sugar. I use other natural sweeteners occasionally. I do alot of sweetening using whole fruits too. I think my taste buds are adapted to eating fewer exclusively sweet things, but I still indulge in sweet desserts that I make, bake, or otherwise prepare for my own family for treats occasionally.

On the artificial sweetener debate, I have leaned heavily towards the "don't use unless your life is in danger" mode because these sweeteners are just what they are called: artificial. They are chemicals or combined with chemicals purely for taste. The makers of artificial sweeteners are concerned with their bottom line: profits. And many food companies are this way. I prefer to spend my dollar (read: vote) for those foods that can help me to stay healthy and alive. Putting chemicals into my body knowingly would not accomplish this.

I challenge you to look into something you've been eating without really knowing the details of why you do it. Is it tradition, a fad, or other whim? Do you use it just because it tastes good? If I help anyone with my posts, I hope they remember that I wanted them to know about what they are eating and why.

Please vote in the newest poll, in top right sidebar, today! =)
For other kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes.


Candace @ A Garden of Blessings said...

Hi Loretta-
They say ignorance is bliss, and I read the ingredients on the peanut butter jar yesterday- partially hydrogenared oils. I will have to be more careful.
I tried to vote on your poll, and it gave an error. I refreshed it and tried again, still errored.

Deb Schiff said...

Hi Loretta,
Great post!
I've been using agave nectar for a few years because I suffer from sugar sensitivity. The low-glycemic value of agave nectar has really changed how my body reacts to desserts I make.
On my blog, I've been covering the agave news as well as new products and my own recipes. Please visit Altered Plates and let me know what you think. The link is in my bio.

carrol said...

Lots of Organic Agave Nectar. Visit WholeAndNatural.com .