Agave Syrup is NOT a Health Food

Agave syrup seems to be the latest health food natural sweetener fad, but it turns out that it really is not as healthy as it is touted. The Weston A. Price Foundation came out with a report back in April 2009 that said that agave syrup is highly processed high fructose syrup, very much like HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), and Dr. Mercola agrees. In a recent article by Dr. Mercola, he told how he tested several popular brands and found out they were all very high in fructose-- ranging from 59 to 67 grams of fructose per 100-gram sample. That is actually quite a bit more fructose than high fructose corn syrup, which has 55 percent fructose.

The problem with fructose is that it is worse than any other sugar in our bodies, and it has a primary role in creating obesity. Fructose drives up uric acid, which is shown to cause hypertension, insulin resistance/diabetes and kidney disease. Table sugar (sucrose) contains fructose and glucose. Fructose has clearly different metabolic pathways than glucose, and is much closer to alcohol with its chronic toxicity profile and for many people, fructose can act like a poison.

Much of the fructose you eat is literally stored as fat. The carbohydrate fructose is converted into fatty acids (lipogenesis), which is then stored in your body's fat cells as fat.

If you have any of the following problems, it would be best if you avoided all kinds of high fructose syrups including corn and agave: diabetes or insulin resistant, obesity, metabolic syndrome, kidney or heart disease.

If you do not have any of the above it, you can use fructose in moderation. It is recommended that you use less than three tablespoons (40 grams) of agave syrup a day. You want to keep your fructose consumption to under 25 grams a day. After that point fructose toxicity starts.

Other options to try in moderation instead of agave syrup-- raw honey, maple syrup, xylitol in small amounts, or glucose (sold commercially as dextrose) and my personal favorite-- stevia, a naturally sweet herb.

Be careful, there is a lot of misinformation about agave and corn syrup on the web. Do some research for yourself. For more information see Dr. Mercola's article at or visit the Weston A. Price Foundation.

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