Is There Corn Syrup in Agave Nectar – The Renegade Health Show Episode #191

Tuesday Nov 25 | BY |
| Comments (80)

The buzz about agave nectar has hit the web…

There are rumors that food companies have been using corn syrup instead of agave to sweeten their foods. There are also rumors that it’s just as bad for you as high fructose corn syrup.

Is it true?

After seeing the resurgence of doubt around agave, I’ve done some more research into it and have confirmed some interesting facts.

We’ve never eaten too much of it, besides in some sweets and deserts, (yes, we’ve used it a few shows as well) but even then, is it too much?

You’ll want to catch this one and pass it along to a friend…


Your question of the day: What are your thoughts on agave?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave a comment now!

BTW: I had meant to mention dates in the video, but forgot and have been reminded by your comments! Thanks guys!! 🙂

Live Awesome!
Kevin

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

80 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Kristina says:

    Does this info include the new brand of clear truly raw agave that some people sell that I have yet to see in stores I know I went to a Raw class with Bruce Horowitz and he used a raw gave that is different than the regular ones no color and supposed to Be TRULY RAW??

    I knew Agave was too good to be true

    Thanks for always helping us to stay informed

  2. natasha says:

    Hey Kevin, what do you think about Yacon Syrup as a sweetener?

  3. Hi Kevin and AnnMarie,

    I’ve been using agave (without negative effects) and also promoting it on my site by using it in recipes. I also use dates, and once in awhile Grade B maple syrup, but I mostly rely on agave. Hearing this news is disappointing. I’m going to do my own research and find out more. Thank you for informing us, and keep up the excellent work!

  4. I agree with your findings.

    I have seen real raw agave.
    It’s clear in color and has a very light taste.

    Real raw agave is more beneficial than other sweeteners, but it is almost impossible to find.

    Thanks for the awesome information.
    Keep up the great work. 😀

  5. Shyra says:

    I heard Stevia is also an excellent natural sweetener. Too bad agave isn’t the real-deal. I just bought it for the first time a few days ago! Thanks for sharing. I won’t buy it again!

  6. WHOA! This surprises me…but then again, not really. I’m moving more and more towards just dates as a sweetener, and sometimes honey. I guess Agave’s hype WAS too good to be true. Hm. Definitely something to watch. ~m. >^.,.^<

  7. RY says:

    You asked about “Fitness Friday.”
    1) Do you really think that the regular viewers remember even most of the exercises demonstrated on your show? No one hangs on your every word, except for Annmarie — by the way, enjoy this while it last.
    2) Your NEW viewers never have seen prior expisodes of exercises, and do not intend searching for “Fitness Friday” shows.
    3) Add a little nuance or improvement, and show again. For example, the double shoulder roll can be improved this way: After one regular roll, on the next when you say to stretch the arms straight down, it is more effective to swing arms in a small arc.
    4) Present shows dedicated to certain situations. Such as on an airplane, offer exercises to avoid leg cramps, back stiffness…and if can’t be done in seat, go to bathroom for some. Or exercises for long car trips.
    5) Let Annmarie dedicate occasional show to quiet exercises, as yoga.
    6) Stop trying to cram everything into one show. Hold it to make another show later. For example, when Annmarie posed you in yoga position, you merely said dead man. Take the time to explain why this (is it due to position or some myth that it actually raised the dead?) and as many benefits this one position can produce.
    7) When talking/interviewing people, such as Dr. Sheridan, ask what exercises keep him fit. Then make a show of “Dr. Sheridan Exercises.”
    8) Fitness shops abound everywhere. Go into them and ask head honcho to demonstrate exercises used for most common complaint received there, et cetera.
    9) You overlook what should be the main focus of “Fitness Friday.” It is to motivate your viewers to exercise. You would be hard pressed to come up with an exercise not demonstrated in a book somewhere. Do you want us to ferret out the books or watch your show?

  8. Laurel says:

    Wow, is this true for all agave nectar? I’ve noticed some are way darker than others. I have some agave nectar from Sunfood Nutrition, and it has a really deep, dark color. Does that mean it’s been less processed?

    From what I’ve seen corn syrup is completely transparent clear color. So, it seems like agave would be a bit better. I’m okay with honey being healthier anyway though. I think it tastes a whole lot better :). I was using agave because I thought it was the healthiest option (besides stevia)!

  9. Tara says:

    i love using raw dates as a sweetner, too!
    whole foods are awesome!!

  10. Ann Gleason says:

    Personally, I have found any type of sugar to be very habit forming- but especially agave. Yacon root syrup, I think is an excellent alternative, or, organic raw local honey or maple syrup.

  11. Arianna says:

    Hi Kevin,

    can you please cite the links for the research you’ve done on agave? I’d like to read it. Thanks!

  12. rhonda says:

    Soaked date water works sometimes.

    What do you think about Stevia?

    Thank you Kevin, for all the info you bring forth……

  13. Carole says:

    Hi y’all, (that’s southern for two or more people)
    I use Stevia extract, raw honey or organic soaked dates to sweeten according to the recipe. Sometimes, but very seldom, I’ll use organic pure maple syrup.

    Kevin, I heard that humming is relaxing and reduces stress. Why not close your eyes and try it a few minutes along with deep breathing?

  14. Raw Monkey says:

    Hey Kevin or Annmarie,

    Could you spare some advice on the ratio replacement of honey to agave nectar? I know there will be some consistency issues I will need to work out, but I am more worried about getting the “sweet” level right for my recipes.

  15. Doug44 says:

    Thanks for the info Kevin, I am trashing mine tonight. It seemed way to sweet anyway. I just tried it once.

  16. giselle cioraru says:

    I just bought some raw agave last week. I s raw also bad for you?
    I fine that agave is alot sweeter though. Honey is better

  17. Thank you! I always liked honey best but was trying to make the switch in the name of health. Hooray, it’s back to honey for me.

  18. Nicole says:

    This is some troubling news. Definitely worth spreading though since I’m sure companies producing agave are glad to take advantage of the raw food community’s belief that this stuff is actually a good, natural and minimally processed sweetener.
    Luckily for me raw honey and local maple syrup are actually more readily available and cost effective than agave so I won’t be sad to see it leave my pantry!

    Thanks for dishing out the truth as always Kevin!

  19. ri0tp00f says:

    What about stevia leaf powder? I’m surprised you didn’t mention this at all… And what about lucuma powder?

  20. Christa says:

    What is your opinion regarding yacon root syrup? I heard that it was a great alternative sweetner that actually prevents cancer and contains antioxidents. There is also xylitol, which I don’t really like the taste, it’s also to grainy. But I have found a natural sugar alchol called Erythritol. What do you think about it? I find that it tastes closest to sugar compared to all other alternative sweetners that I have tried. I would love to hear your opinion. P.S I love your show, you are such a great example and so many of the questions that you answer have been pressing on my mind for some time that I never seem to get answers for. SO thank you sooooo much!!! I love your insight and dedication to getting the word out about health and nutrition. It is so great what you are doing!!! Please do not stop!!

  21. Bree says:

    You mentioned on the show that raw honey and organic maple syrup are good alternative sweeteners to use. Are there any others? Such as xylitol or stevia?

  22. nomi says:

    Ahhhhh, finally!!!! A voice of reason.
    The “new” “trendy” “fad” foods being marketed to raw fooders are being far too rapidly embraced without enough research and the test of time. I wish I had a nickel for each email I have received asking how much cacao should I eat a day, how much coconut oil. All the recipes I see with 1/4 -1/2 cup agave nectar per serving…People!! this stuff is being MARKETED by someone for PROFIT.

    Maybe you might think of me as old fashioned because I stay away from the “new” and stick with the time honored and well-tested ingredients. All things in moderation but especially these new items. Here is my current short-list of yet-to-be-proven, to me anyways foods. Not that I don’t use them a bit…a BIT not in quantity

    Agave syrup/nectar

    chocolate, raw or otherwise this is a moderation food not a cure all superfood-it’s
    a treat not a daily meal

    Irish Moss, interesting properties as a thickener, it is also a time honored herbal remedy, is there such a thing as taking too much of it? I don’t know yet so I am not going to make whole cakes, pies, puddings with it..til I do know and that could take awhile.

    Lucuma, Yacon I have’t taken the time yet to get into these in depth, who knows this time next year maybe I will be eating this stuff by the cupful…

    Coconut- Love young coconuts. The whole coconut is a wonderful food and so is coconut oil IN MODERATION. Not measured out in cups a day per person.

    Unfortunately it has been my experience that there are many people out there who are stuffing themselves with these foods-thinking they are superfoods, there is so much hype and verbiage about them, the new reader fastens on to this information and foregoes the rest, so they don’t get the complete picture. Then they call me for a consult and I can only shake my head at what an unbalanced diet they are eating!

    It’s best to stick with the tried and true and
    tread carefully with “new” foods. In the case of Agave it has never since the dawn of time been eaten like this!! Who knows how the body is handling it..It especially makes me sad that so many new to raw get hung up on these fad foods first. You should have heard the daily menu of a 3 month raw fooder in my class in Sedona in Sept, she was living on raw cacao, coconut oil, agave…it was a list of all the “iffy” new stuff and not nearly enough fresh raw fruits and veggies which are the true back bone of a raw diet. She was wondering why after three months she still had so many health issues…sigh

    I use dates a lot, Medjool vairety, they add a wonderful stickiness that is necessary to certain recipes like pie crusts.
    I also love Maple syrup tho it’s sure not raw. I am not as keen on honey even raw, it’s still from an animal. Stevia works I don’t happen to enjoy the taste but can use tiny amounts along with other sweeteners.

    And I still thicken things with ground psyllium seed husks because I have proven to myself that used in a recipe they do not act as a laxative or noticeably add more roughage than advisable.

    I need to experiment more with these foods, I am not saying that they are bad, I am just saying let’s not assume they are GOOD in quantity for awhile…there are so many foods you can be sure of…

    Thanks Kevin You Rawk My friend.
    Hugs to all Nomi

  23. Elaina harman says:

    I like stevia and raw honey better than agave but was using because I wanted to ingest the best. What are your feelins about the Yacon Syrup. I was looking at it the other day so what do you think?
    Elaina

  24. Janet says:

    I’ll stick with Stevia and some xylitol.

  25. DebB says:

    Well….RATS! We love agave. But we’re lucky to have a good local source of raw honey, so no worries.

    I just made a 6x (yes 6!) batch of your fantastic grawnola and used
    50-50 honey and agave.

    I had never heard of this about agave, thank you (as always!) for sharing with us. *Ü*

  26. Marie says:

    What do I think about agave?? Well, I had my doubts before, but now after seeing your show, I’m definetaly going to stop using it!!

    Anyway, there’s alot of great honey being produced where I live, and I’m in Montreal, Quebec, so I never did give up my maple syrup : )

    Thanks for the info

  27. Debra says:

    I’m a little confused now. If agave is made by taking the sap and boiling it down, isn’t that the same way that maple syrup is made? Does that mean according to your thoughts, that maple syrup is just as bad as corn syrup too? I always considered maple syrup a natural food, even if it’s not raw. Does the process make it high in fructose too? I hope not. I don’t use it often, but would like to once in a while in a recipe on special occasions, etc.

    Debra

  28. Gudni says:

    I probably got gout, that I never had before from Agave syrup just week ago. I took some every day for few days, adding it to smoothies. Then I woke up with a good deal of pain in my ankle. So much that I was limbing. Too be fair then I have been doing intense excercising and that can create too much uric acid in your body that is of course the main culprit for getting gout. I realised that it was the Agave when I once again added it to my smoothie and I got tremendous pain from it. By the way, fructose can cause gout. So I did some experiment and got myself glass of water full of salt and drank that. The reaction from that was peeing like a fire hose rather quickly after I put it into my body. Then I took rather strong drink of vinegar and soon after I got myself a fire hose like diarrhea. Then I buffered it with calcium and it worked somewhat. The tremendous pain went away and it was only painful when I walked. So all sign of acid reaction…maybe.

    Disclaimer: Do not try this unless talking to your doctor.

    Yep… I like to go to extreme sometimes. After all I was conceived in America…the land of the extreme and no it wasn´t in a medical library.

  29. Mark says:

    What do you think of Yacon root syrup?

    Also,
    David Wolfe sort of kind of addressed your issue on his telecast tonight at success ultra now ,with nick good.
    He did say that 80-10-10 doesn’t work, and it was this that caused the leaching of your minerals intitially and the candida… the cacao may have only contributed to the unbalanced diet since it is not to be taken in high amounts like you were doing… unfortunately he said that you may have sensitivity to cacao now and have to stop using it. (at least for awhile I assume)

  30. nashima says:

    Hi Kevin & Annmarie, thanks for the info : )
    Agave always felt kind of fake to me, almost too ‘clean’ like regular sugar, and I do not like to use it. For sweetener I use lucuma powder and yacon syrup most of the time (yacon acts as great prebiotic as well!). Honey or dates work great too.

  31. thanks for the info on agave!
    I don’t have much sugar any more, so I do not crave anything sweet!

    I don’t like honey!
    I use fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil for dressings!
    bye
    sheryl australia

  32. Debra says:

    Also wondering… Hasn’t agave always been said to be low-glycemic? How can it be low-glycemic and be high-fructose? Is that possible? Or is it really not low-glycemic after all?

    I think I will stick to raw honey and dates for now…

    Debra

  33. Gaia Singer says:

    Kia Ora from New Zealand
    I started using agave about 4 months ago after choosing to heal cancer purely with diet change, so I was not amused this morning to read the excellent article in Natural News and have it reiterated by you this afternoon! Although I didn’t feel any fear, or dwell on the fact that the agave I had been consuming was not beneficial to my health after all, I did feel great anger for a few minutes towards the dispicable actions of the manufacturers.
    But, hey, what do you think about the FDA scientists rebelling against their corrupt bosses? Isn’t that fabulous?

  34. Elizah says:

    I wonder why it’s fine for diabetics and corn syrup is not. This confuses me.

  35. Catherine says:

    I stopped using Agave about 2 years ago because of this information. I was actually shocked to see you use it in recipes. I figured since you read all the health headlines that you would be on top of this kind of information. I had to cringed at your Snickers Bar recipe and the amount of Agave used.

    I use stevia as a sweetener. It is an acquired taste though.

  36. Enzo says:

    I started Yacon syrup, as it’s sweet and not able to be absorbed by the body because of the long chain sugars. David Wolfe recommends it.

  37. Patricia says:

    Thanx for your information Kevin! 🙂 Let me just mention something important in terms of VEGAN. I am a vegan/raw vegan chef and have used agave syrup to keep my dessert beautifully bright/white. So I am now thinking of what I would use as a substitute for the light agave syrup? And here we go: Honey, raw honey, manuka honey…etc…is simply not vegan. What do you suggest and most of all what is your opinion on that; vegan vs. honey?
    Thank you very much and many greetinx from Vancouver, BC,

    Patricia

  38. Mary Ellen says:

    no one has mentioned lo han (chinese fruit comes in powder form) as a sweetner. i think that this mite be an even better alternative to stevia. it tastes better & does more good things for u. how about getting back to me sometime? i have sent u a few comments & u have never gotten back to me. have u rec’d any of them?

  39. Irina says:

    Very disappointed about agave syrup – but it still has a low glycemic index, as opposed to other sweeteners (like maple syrup)?
    How about using dates or yacon syrup as a sweetener?

  40. Carola says:

    This is very confusing. I occasionally use raw pure organic agave nectar by Madhava. Does this apply to the brand you had or to all brands. The one I have says that it is produced at temps below 115. I like it because it is thinner than honey and easier to work with. I personally do not like the grade b maple syrup unless I use it for a master cleanse. Anyway, can you do a show on raw honey?
    thanks,
    Carola

  41. Simona says:

    Good, bad. Good, bad. Manufactured products are often good then bad. Always ironic. But naturally, who can go to an agave plant or a corn plant and squeeze out syrup, haha?

    RY’s constructive critcism was interesting, but out of it I really like the proactive suggestion about possible Fitness tips and shows for traveling: when in planes, airports, cars, etc!

    Any possibility for any shows like this? It would be most benificial!

  42. MARY THOMAS says:

    YES, I AGREE, BEST TO AVOID. NOTICED IT MADE MY TEMPERATURE RISE AND CAUSED FLUSHING AFTER TAKING IT. LOVE AND ALL BEST WISHES. LOVE YOUR CAT!

  43. Anthony says:

    What about yacon root syrup? Is that a good alternative? I read that it contains a certain kind of sugar that our bodies can not digest, so we get to enjoy the sweetness without absorbing the sugar. Sounds pretty good to me, but yet again I haven’t tried it yet so I’m not really sure if it tastes good. I would love to hear what you think. Thanks.

  44. Lauri says:

    Hey Kevin, O.K. That’s it.. You are in big trouble. You’ve bursted my bubble twice in one week!! First Cacao and now Agave?! 🙂 Quit staying so informed! Just kidding. I’m glad you’re out there getting the scoop for us, but I’m not sure I agree 100%, yet.

    I guess my biggest question would be that if one can find TRULY RAW agave from a trusted source then wouldn’t this agave still be the ideal sweetener? Is there anything else in the process or about the agave itself that bothers you? Unless I missed something, it seemed like this was your only concern.

    If so, then SURELY there are at least a few sources in our raw food community that have found reputable manufacturers who do not overheat their products. I just checked Sunfood.com and found this statement on one of the agave products:

    (This product is made using state-of-the-art low-temperature processing technology making it the least heat-exposed dark agave product on the market.)

    Also, I’ve been purchasing my Vanilla Agave from Radical Health here in Austin, Tx. http://www.radicalhealth.com I did a search for agave on this site and found this article in the archives interesting.

    (Agave Nectar’s low GI (Glycemic Index) probably comes from it’s high Inulin content.

    Inulin is a long chain sugar (fructan polysaccharide) which resists and defers
    digestion from stomach and small intestine to lower intestine/colon.

    Inulin is powerful and fragile. When Agave Nectar is heated past around 120, Inulin
    begins fusing together and the resulting heated Agave Nectar can approach the
    GI of Honey and white sugar.

    Yemiah and I began importing our own Agave Nectar because we found most so called
    “Raw Agave Nectar” was cooked at high heat rather than dehydrated, so the Inulin
    was fused which creates the same “sugar shock” and Pancreatic Exhaustion as
    white sugar.)

    I’m fortunate to have found this company whose concern for quality, integrity and expertise is superb. I intend to call Radical Health to see how they’ve confirmed the low-heat processing from their manufacturer. I’ll let you know what they say.

    I think Alexander is right. “Real raw agave is more beneficial than other sweeteners, but it is almost impossible to find”. But, I do believe it can be found. I think this is the type of product that needs to be ordered on the internet through a good raw food source who knows what they are doing and not from a grocery store. (Even Whole Foods – Not yet anyway) Finding a company who specializes in bringing us the best quality of raw food products is the way to go. Maybe a good question of the day could be, “Do you know a reliable, trusted source for TRUE, RAW agave?”

    Thanks Kevin & Ann Marie for everything you do!
    Lauri

  45. A says:

    Regarding the comment about psyllium way back in these comments…I understand that the reason that psyllium works for elimination is that it has arsenic in it. The body tries to release it as quickly as possible.

    It may be best to stick to Irish Moss, Dates and Honey.

  46. A says:

    Madhava is the one that supposedly had trucks of broken Mexican candy showing up at their door.

  47. LAP says:

    Honey (raw) really is the only “whole food” sweetener, i.e. not extracted in any way, so honey is the way to go for me!

  48. larry albritton says:

    I’ve been using agave (light). Is all agave sweeteners like the one you were using? How about certified/organic sugars, are they O.K.?

    thanks for your time

    Larry

  49. Susan says:

    Kevin – Found your information today on agave nectar very interesting. As an individual who has had candida challenges for a very long time and after many years of focusing on eliminating sugars, wheat, gluten etc. out of my diet (Body Ecology by Donna Gates) – combined with alternative approaches through supplements and bio-energetic analysis I am happy to report that I am feeling so much better. I would highly recommend Body Ecology combined with bio-energetic assessment work for anyone dealing with candida, chronic fatique and other such auto immune issues.

    Regarding your agave information . . . Body Ecology has a sweetener called Lakanto that Donna is selling on her website. She is the only U.S. distributor of this sweetener that she is importing from Japan but it is amazing. Check out her website for more information on the benefits to diabetics or people with candida since it is made from a plant and has a zero glycemic index. It’s not cheap but is a good substitute for any and all sweeteners. She also highly recommends stevia and does not promote any other sweetener for people with or without an auto immune disorder. If I remember correctly she does indicate that tupelo honey can be used in small amounts after a person’s condition is improved but her protocals encourage people to stay totally away from all types of sugars (including fruits) when needing to kill off the candida. Any sugar will feed the yeast and not provide the healing one is looking for.

    Hope this was helpful for anyone looking for alternative sweeteners or dealing with candida.

  50. Sweet Cicely says:

    Thanks so much for the up date!!!
    Raw Honey will be my sweetener of choice ~~unless you can figure out more on Yacon Root Syrup??? Thanks for all you do to change one person at a time!!! Debra / Sweet Cicely (Herbs books & Gifts).

  51. Vanessa Rice says:

    Kevin,

    Just wondering how “raw agave” is boiled and called raw???? This seems to be a wrong statement on the part of the manufacturer. What about
    Yucon Syrup? Can you give us heads up on that?

    Need your imput, Vanessa

  52. Pat Lee says:

    Thanks kevin,
    Wish i would of heard this before last weekend. i just went to Tucson shopping and bought a big and a small bottle, so i am really stocked up on Agave nectur now!

    again thanks for the info and all you do!

    Pat

  53. Geri says:

    Thank you sooooo much Kevin, isn’t it too bad that these companies justr find it so difficult to be truthful with us.

    Thank you so much for your being Congruent on living the Raw Lifestyle, you and your sweet wife are very much appreciated by me.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving, we all have Lots & Lots 2 B Thankful for.

    Hugs, love and blessings,

    Geri Mac from Illinois

  54. Deborah says:

    I had been around Aguave Nectar in 2000, trying it in different recipes and always preferred to use honey. Something about the idea of it being the only food that never goes bad… and I have always been fascinated by bees, how they get around gathering all that pollen…

    Must admit, I love that Grade B Maple Syrup almost as much. There’s lots of minerals there and if I am looking for something to satisfy that ‘inner child’, I will use either of these to keep Little Debbie safe.

  55. Brian Elliott says:

    Idea for future fitness friday: A show on dynamic warm-up stretches prior to running or other activities and dynamic and/or static stretches for cooling down post-exercise. I always love learning new stretches.

  56. I used to avoid agave, and lately it’s been creeping back into my diet and I have noticed it causes a sugar rush.

    I like using date paste. If you soak the pitted dates, then blend with water till a smooth paste it works great. Another alternative is to soak dates in water, and then strain it and use the water. It is very sweet and mellow tasting.

    I’ve used raw honey too in the past and it causes the same sugar rush as agave does for me.

    SO I’ll put agave(all sweeteners really that aren’t whole foods) in the ‘rare’ category for my diet again, and in the meantime I am not going to worry! Just like you make a difference in the world one show at a time, we all make differences in our lives one day and one meal at a time! 🙂

    Thanks Kevin for the interesting show as always!

    Smiles,
    Christina:)

  57. Estrella says:

    On a daily basis I use a ratio of 2/3 yacon syrup and 1/3 raw honey in my morning smoothie. For some desserts I use dates. I am curious about lo han since I think I saw it listed in some recipes in G. Cousen’s book, Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine.
    Regarding Fitness Fridays, my favorite episode was when you were traveling and jumped out of the car to a park with benches and showed us a circuit. It really reiterated how we can make exercise fun wherever we are. I would like to see some things we can do at work, during lunch or a break. Or have a one minute review of a new DVD of some workout or dance exercise.

  58. Season says:

    Kevin,

    What about David Wolfe’s proposed Yacon Root Syrup? He says Yacon is a long chain sugar that can’t be absorbed by the body. And what about the Agave sold on Sunfood’s website? Wolfe says that their Agave is made using special technology. He says that they are both safe for type 2 diabetics. If the agave is the same as corn syrup, wouldn’t diabetics have major problems with it? Unless of course you are not talking about level of fructose, but are simply comparing the amount of processing. Would you mind clarifying that for us? Thank you so much.

    ~Season

  59. Deb Schiff says:

    Hey there. I’ve been a journalist for a long time and always go right to the source when something like this “bubbles up,” to use your wording. I contacted Madhava about another article published elsewhere on the web regarding the same issue, and the president of the company actually responded directly to me with this helpful information. You should definitely consider it before continuing to run your video above.

    “Well, this article just does not accurately reflect our agave nectar or it’s production. The sugars are not “changed dramatically” as stated in the article, they are simply common simple sugars fructose and glucose. The sugars composing our agave nectar are the result of the breakdown of the fructans in the agave juice, the proportion is the natural result based on the molecules composing the longchained fructans. As an example, flower nectar is similar in composition to the agave plant’s juice. The honey it produces is also composed of the same simple sugars the agave, but in different proportions as a result of different longchained polysaccharide molecules of the nectar.

    Both flower nectar and agave juice are approx 50% water. Both will ferment rapidly once removed. Both must have the excess water evaporated to prevent this. Bees fan the nectar in the comb before sealing it to achieve this. The water is removed from the agave juice in an evaporator, under vacuum to allow the moisture to be removed at low temperatures. This is not an “insult”, it is a necessity to avoid fermentation and produce a sweetener from the juice of the agave salmiana. The aguamiel cannot be marketed as is because there is no way to prevent its fermentation without the moisture removal.

    And, as for “forcing” agave through a centrifuge, there is no centrifuge or anything resembling a centrifuge in any part of the production of our agave nectar. The author uses a lot of negative phrasing to prejudice the reader.

    Other points regarding sugars are a consumption, or overconsumption issue.
    Certainly consuming large amounts of sweeteners of any kind will be detrimental to one’s health. Suggesting fructose could cause health issues when concentrated amounts are eaten is a statement which should really apply to the overconsumption issue. The information the author links to agave nectar is the result of megadose testing of pure clinical fructose. Not the same thing as normal daily use in the course of our meals. And, Agave nectar has greater sweetening power than sugar or honey, so, comparatively less is used as a result.

    Corn syrup is refined from the chemically processed starch of corn. Agave nectar is more similar to honey in its production. The production is a gentle process, unlike that described in the article, and there are no chemicals are involved.”

    Just thought you should know.

  60. Michael T. says:

    I’ve done a fair amount of study on sugars, so I believe I can clear up some questions. First, any product that is high in fructose will have a low glycemic effect, because the glycemic index only considers the glucose content of foods. Therefore, agave is low-glycemic, and is useful for diabetics and people with blood sugar challenges.

    Cane sugar is mostly sucrose, which is a disaccharide, a compound that consists of two sugar molecules bonded together. Sucrose contains one molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose bonded together.

    Honey is a combination of glucose and fructose, and a little sucrose. The exact proportion depends on what kind of honey. Honey will raise your blood sugar level about as fast as cane sugar. Tupelo honey has more fructose (also called levulose) and less glucose, so it has less of a glycemic effect.

    The key factor here is how much you are taking. There is no problem with eating modest amounts of agave, honey, or other sweeteners. One tablespoon of agave only contains about 16 grams of sugars. That’s not likely to send your blood sugar through the roof.

    Fructose has been getting a bad rap because people are drinking 32-ounce bottles of soda, sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. These sodas typically have between 20 and 30 grams of sugar per 8 ounces. If you consider an average of 25 grams, that’s 100 grams of sugar in a 32-ounce bottle, or the equivalent of six tablespoons of agave nectar.

    But consider this, orange juice has 22 grams of sugar (fructose and glucose) per 8 ounces. So if you’re doing a lot of fruit juice, say for some kind of cleanse, you could easily consume 100 grams of sugar in the form of juice.

    So it is pointless to avoid sweeteners such as agave syrup, and then go out and eat a whole bunch of fruit or fruit juice.

    If you’re doing the 80-10-10 diet, and consuming 80 percent of your calories as fruit, you are taking in a huge amount of fructose and glucose. On a 2000 calorie diet, 80 percent of that is 1600 calories. At 4 calories per gram, that means you’re taking in 400 grams of sugar a day — the equivalent of 25 tablespoons of agave nectar. Now, fruit does have some fiber, so you will absorb that sugar slower, but it still all ends up going to the liver to be processed, where much of it is turned into fat, because your body can’t use all that sugar at once.

    So it is very ironic that people like Doug Graham are pushing the 80-10-10 diet because it is low in fat, but then when all that sugar enters your body, much of it ends up being turned into fat anyway, while subjecting your liver to a lot of stress.

    So, Kevin, it is kind of sad that you are picking on agave syrup because it is high in fructose, but not saying anything about the dangers of eating too much fruit, especially too much fruit juice. It doesn’t matter to your liver whether the fructose comes from an orange or from enzymatically-processed agave. It’s still fructose, and too much of it is harmful.

    This is one reason why David Wolfe’s sunfood triangle system makes so much sense. You balance intake of fruits, veggies and seeds, with each group contributing about a third of your nutrient needs. This helps to minimize the dangers of too much sugar overwelming your body’s ability to process it.

    By the way, people who are considering maple syrup should know that it is 95 percent sucrose – just about the same as cane sugar. You might as well be eating unrefined cane sugar, such as Rapadura.

    To minimize the fast absorption of sugars, it is helpful to combine them with oils. Any food that is eaten with nuts or seeds will digest more slowly, and the liver won’t be overwhelmed with a high rush of sugar. So keep some coconut butter or oil around to mix with your sweets, and your liver will thank you.

    For those who wish to read more,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose

  61. Kathy says:

    What about Brown Rice Syrup?
    I use Organic Sucanat (dehydrated cane juice) sometimes. Looks like brown sugar.
    What do you think about it?

  62. Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

    Few things…

    Deb, I’m not sure what article you’re referring to at all here, just a video… looks like you may have Mike Adams’s article confused with this site. The bottom line is that agave is processed likely more than we’d want it to be and overuse of ANY sugar is not really a good idea. 😉 The fructose content of agave is actually higher than corn syrup, so let’s look at that, regardless of everything else.

    I didn’t mention centrifuges or anything like that, which makes me think that you’re thinking of Mike Adams’s site or somewhere else.

    Also, going directly to the company that produces the product, may not be the most unbiased source of info 🙂

    I’ll be answering more questions here on an upcoming show, but just wanted to respond to this one.

    Kev

  63. Janice says:

    Oh Gosh Kevin, loosing our regular sweeteners stinks, but Mike Adams did a report on agave also so when this issue comes to the forefront it should not be ignored. i do have honey and maple syrup in my pantry and I love majool dates but I tend to over do on all these products and need to be moderate with them. I used agave sparingly and didn’t have over indulgence as an issue surprisingly enough. I have not tried the yacon syrup. Any advise about this product? Have you used it ? In allot of my smoothies I would add orange juice or apple juice as a sweetener but I will miss the agave syrup and am disappointed in all the packaing that claims it is a raw food product!

  64. I look forward to doing more research on this, thanks Kev!

    Kind of a bummer, that I’m sitting on nearly a gallon of agave in the ‘bulk’ section of my kitchen…haha. But, that’s ok – I’ll just have to be experimenting in the next few months with reducing and at times eliminating agave from my diet to see how it goes. This was simply a reminder that I do use too much of it anyway.

    And in the meantime, I’ll be buying more Dates, and there is also a lovely Canadian honey (obviously not local to me here in Southern Oregon, but it’s great!) – we get it from our local herb-shoppe! I also am a big fan of Lucuma powder…I’ll be experimenting more with all of these after watching this episode.

    Still not a big fan of Stevia, though. I keep ‘trying’ to like it, but it just seems to have that funky flavor that keeps me from using it as a replacement for sweetener.

    Yacon syrup is nice, although…I don’t feel it is (by taste) appropriate to use replacing sweetener in recipes.

    Maybe I’ll give Maple Syrup a shot, too!

    Although I haven’t ‘braved’ trying them…not sure that I would want to – I think ‘Sugar Alcohols’ would be an interesting show topic (Zylitol, etc.). Although they may not be appropriate for the Living Food community, I’d surely like to know more about them 🙂

    <3 Happy ‘Thanks Living!’ <3

  65. sonja says:

    Hi Kevin,
    this was interesting. I bought Agave because there was a big article in the paper how it was not affecting your blood sugar levels, and was ideal for diabetics..I bught some for my husband who does not have many sweet things. I still have a confusion ragrding fructose. It is in all fruit, so every time you eat fruit you have fructose, so what is the difference?
    I used to use concentrated pear or apple juice to sweeten things and I was very happy with the result.

  66. Bernadette says:

    Hey Kevin,

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I have to admit.. I’ve been hearing from Brian Clement and Gabriel Cousens that we shouldn’t be eating processed sugars or oils on a healthy raw whole food diet.. that anything extracted from a whole food is not the way mother nature intended us to eat. After this week, hearing about cocao, agave and having read in Gabriel Cousens new book on Diabetes that olive oil was never included in the study on the Meditteranean diet, I have to admit, I feel like I have just been hit over the head with a frying pan to wake up and smell the coffee.. not that I drink coffee.. but it does have a nice aroma. I hope they don’t tell us next week that breathing in the coffee fumes is bad for us too. 🙂 The bottom line is, since diabetes does run in my family, I think I will be heeding the words of Brian and Gabriel.. and moving away from extracted food sources and eating mostly, if not all, whole foods.

    Alot of people have been asking about stevia.. and when Gabriel gave a lecture in Georgetown a few weeks ago, he mentioned that stevia was the only sweetner he recommended. However, I was just wondering, isn’t all stevia processed?

    Another thing I learned from Gabriel that is worth a mention is that there are a lot of studies out there showing caffeine raises blood sugar. He doesn’t recommend that diabetics drink coffee.. and so I think this would probably extrapolate to cocao as well. Just for your information.. since you said you have some blood sugar issues. I don’t know if you knew about the connection between caffeine and blood sugar.

    To good health..
    Bernadette

  67. lightcan says:

    Thanks, Kevin,
    It’s great that this came out (again) although we’re none the wiser about sugars in general.
    At least all those people that offer so many raw chocolate products made with hydrolized agave syrup should try to experiment with something else.
    Maybe those who are looking for research should read this perspective on agave
    http://www.living-foods.com/articles/agave.html
    These people say that their agave nectar is raw but fructose is not healthy, not even for diabetics.
    http://www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com/agave.htm

    All the best

  68. deletha says:

    Hey Kevin,
    Thanks for the info on agave nectar. I am new to The Raw Food Movement and I am trying to incorporate Raw Foods into my diet all the time. I have used Agave Nectar in the past but will consider another alternative. I was actually using it because my husband is a coffee drinker and I was trying to get him away from white sugar. I keep honey on hand all the time, this will be my new natural sweetner. Thanks, deletha

  69. Nadia says:

    Some info on Stevia would be great. I use the concentrated form (w/ no fillers) in my smoothies all the time.

    Thanks.

  70. Raluca says:

    Hey, thanks for the info, Kevin. And Noni, thank you too for your time, I’ve been reading your oppinion on agave nectar before all this flared out.

    Here in my country in Europe, I cannot find that easily agave nectar. But I never intended to. I kind of thought that since my ancestors did not eat it and it was not that easily to eat all over the world, I could live without it.

    I’m using stevia from time to time. I like it a lot. But from the same reasons as above, I try to use it only once in a few months.

    I’m having problems with insulin resistance (and PCOS) and I was determined not to use any kind of sweetener. That was until I read about stevia and honey as being awesome for my problem. So, maybe every other week or so, I use a little raw organic honey or stevia for a little treat.

    I was very happy to read good things about honey and insulin resistance, because it is such a healthy food, all our old and wise people used to treat almost anything with honey.

    And in all your recipes, I always used honey instead of agave nectar.

    What a great idea with the dates, for some variety, thank you very much!

  71. Brian says:

    I trust madhava when they say their raw agave is kept below 115F to evaporate the water. They admit their other agave nectar products are not raw. This is the best they can do to bring the product to market.

  72. Donna says:

    What do you think of the Raw Madhava Agave Nectar. The label states it is specially processed at temps. below 115 degrees.

  73. Laika says:

    If you guys are concerened about HFCS then WHY ARE YOU EATING AGAVE?? it’s has even MORE fructose in it than HFCS!! Agave is almost pure fructose. I cannot think of a worse thing to consume especially from an anti againg standpoint. High fructose consumption leads to glycation which leads to premature aging. I wouldn’t touch this junk with a 10 foot pole.(and my body thanks me for it)

  74. Dear Kevin,

    I listened this morning with interest to hear you speaking out against agave nectar, as I have been strongly advising people against its use for over 8 years now. My interest quickly turned to frustration, however, when maple syrup was suggested as a recommended alternative to agave syrup.

    Allow me to explain:
    With maple syrup you have to cook it in VERY high temperature for a long time in order to concentrate it 30 times from the condition it is in when it comes out of the tree. (Coming out of the tree it is almost like water. You really have to cook the heck out of it to make it sweet.

    The distinct flavor of maple syrup is proof that it has been caramelized, which indicates that it is highly “glycosilated”. This means that it’s now a molecularly altered, unstable sugar that can easily bind with protein expressed at cell membranes. This causes severe free radical damage and major structural and functional alteration in the cells of the blood vessels (capillaries, veins, and arteries) thereby increasing capillary fragility and the risk of cardio-vascular disease as well as damaging brain cells and accelerating neurological degenerative diseases.Glycosilated sugars are implicated in all the vascular complications of diabetes and are a component of what we generally call AGEs (Advanced Glycocylated End products) which are a major cause for premature aging and degenerative disease.

    Did I mention that it degrades all tissues of the body, as well?

    All this is in addition to the negative impact of a highly refined sweetener that contains no fiber and no nutrients. Given all these considerations, it is even worse than agave.

    Kevin, I appreciate your good intentions and efforts to inform others, but comments like this one create confusion and miseducate people. Neither agave syrup nor maple syrup are deserving of any health claims. If you’d like to get more of the facts about sugar, I highly recommend you listen to my series of free teleseminar lectures on http://www.thetruthaboutyourfood.com.

    The raw food movement has a long way to go before we get some semblance of clarity on the table about food, but again, I appreciate your efforts to educate and inform.

    Yours in health,

    Dr. Adiel Tel-Oren, MD, LN, DC and guest lecturer of http://www.thetruthaboutyourfood.com

  75. Cindi says:

    Sunday….. Hi Kevin……I hope this is a fun… warm… wonderful day for u .. filled with love and peace and excitment too…. and I also want to thank u for all u do for all of us … i enjoy your emails and all that u share and i have to thank u for keeping me connected too… as i did really great for a while there… 100% .. but .. i let old behaviors creep in for thanksgiving and fell off my wagon … but it was your daily connections that brought me back and i am back to totally vegan and about 70% raw now… just some vegan soups to warm me in the jersey cold… so have a great birthday Kevin….. and ty ty ty….

  76. Marissa says:

    Is all agave bad? Maybe not.Take a look at http://alteredplates.blogspot.com/2008/12/madhavas-craig-gerbore-responds-to.html this link for the other side of this story which needs to be told.

    I too have been concerned about agave and that I have been recommending it to clients. I have been informing them about the controversy and in doing that have received this this informative blog. I believe that moderation is key, like anything too much can be a bad thing. I am still looking into this issue but I think that enzymatically produced, raw agave with 70-75% fructose may be okay. In moderation.

  77. angela says:

    WAY TO GO KEVIN!!
    You are totally RIGHT about Agave. Everything you said is a fact!
    Blessings and prosperity wishes to you,
    Angela

  78. I can’t speak for other brands, but Madhava Agave does Not contain corn syrup, it is made directly from the plant. It is sad when the ‘bad’ brands create a mass opinion of a product like Agave that is a natural plant based sweetener. I only shop for these type of items at Whole Foods or other natural high standard markets and I read all labels. As a vegan, I will continue to support this brand and use agave. http://www.madhavasagave.com/FAQ.aspx#q26

  79. David Favor says:

    http://SunFireSuperFoods.com/Agave for our latest Vanilla Agave Nectar info.

  80. Tibetan says:

    I’m having problems with insulin resistance (and PCOS) and I was determined not to use any kind of sweetener. That was until I read about stevia and honey as being awesome for my problem. So, maybe every other week or so, I use a little raw organic honey or stevia for a little treat

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