Agave Revisited – Is Agave a Healthy Sweetener – The Renegade Health Show Episode #373

Thursday Aug 13, 2009 | BY |
| Comments (98)

We covered agave nectar about 6 months ago, but a few questions yesterday spurred a few questions…

Today, I’m going to reveal a little more research that I’ve done about agave to help you determine for yourself if you think agave is a healthy sweetener or not.

We’ve stopped using agave in our recipes and do our best to make sure it doesn’t sneak in the RV in a dehydrated product. :-)

Here’s some more on it, plus some other questions!

Take a look…

Your question of the day: What are your thoughts on raw food desserts?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments now!

Live Awesome!
Kev

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.

98 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Yasmine says:

    Hi,

    1. Where do you put honey on your list of sweatner ? 2. Is it better then agave ?

    Thanks

    • Jonathan says:

      I’m not sure about Kevin, but I would put Honey about even with Maple Syrup. Honey is higher in vitamins and Maple syrup is higher in minerals. Or the other way around I can’t remember, but Honey also has anti-bacterial properties.

      I highly recommend the most natural honey you can get though raw unfiltered and completely unheated is probably best, but can be hard to use since its not soft. I buy raw unfiltered and heated honey at Sprouts farmers market. Its only heated enough to aid in pouring and not to high temps like in pasteurization.

  2. Linda Miller says:

    So if a recipe calls for a couple tablespoons of agave nectar as in Wendi Dee’s wonderful milkshake, what would be a better replacement as far as taste? I always have honey around and wonder how that would work. Hmm..

  3. Morri says:

    Isn’t stevia liquid and sugar-like highly processed unless you use leaves?

  4. Rene Oswald says:

    I do lots of work with people suffering from Candida overgrowth and have found the major culprit for many people is the combination of fruits with fats, which is the common combination with most raw food desserts. The recipes in my book stress less fat/fruit combination as you progress to the higher levels. I try to use a higher percentage of buckwheat groats in my desserts to lower the fat content, since buckwheat groats are only 10% fat, and when sprouted and dehydrated they simulate the nutty crunch, we are often looking for in desserts, beautifully. For some sample dessert recipes, go to http://www.reneoswald.com and check out the free TLC Program Introduction and free videos.
    I totally agree with you Kevin, that the dessert recipes are a great way to entice people to try our recipes and they are a major improvement to the desserts most people indulge in on the standard american diet.
    I’ve also found that the longer people are living the live food lifestyle, the less they need or want the high fat desserts.

  5. Stacy says:

    Why would Stevia fall in with the dried fruits? That doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

    At Hippocrates Institute, they use Stevia.

  6. Roseanna says:

    I totally agree with you Kevin, raw is best and a dessert that is is a great intro and especially the kids!

  7. Redpumkpin says:

    Hi Kevin,
    What if you use raw agave? My mom is an artifical sweetener addict. She is having many health issues and has been told she needs surgery. She has fibromayalgia (sp?) and needs her knee redone, or so her doctor says. I used to be a Splenda freak, and used it for almost 2 years, never connecting it to the pain in and weakness in my hand, especially middle finger, and in my feet and legs every night. I could barely walk in the evening, and it took a while to be able to walk after I got up. I was certain I had arthritis or MS or something scary. If I had gone to the doctor, who knows what they would have told me to do, diagnosed me with that would have masked the real problem. I didn’t realize that it was actually Splenda and NutraSweet causing these symptoms. After going off of these, it didn’t take long for all those symptoms to completely disappear! I have told my mom about this, but she doesn’t believe me. She thinks these sweeteners are actually healthy because they have few calories. I wanted her to try agave, because it doesn’t have an after taste, and it would at least get her off artifical sweeteners. I think she wouldn’t like Stevia, at least not at first. What should I do? Isn’t raw agave better than Splenda, and maybe will open the doors, like you say, be a “gateway drug” to healthier eating? Thanks, LOVE, LOVE your show!

  8. Jalil says:

    Honey would be in the middle with dates in his explanation.

    Honey is an amazing food, so besides being a sweetener, you get a lot of other benefits as well.
    just make sure it is raw and no pesticides.

  9. Liliane says:

    I’m only about 75% raw most of the time, so I figure a bit of raw deserts is better than the cooked white sugar variety. I make raw cacao balls. I keep varying the ingredients, but the most recent ones contain the following ingredients: raw cacao, mesquite or lucuma, hemp seeds, raw coconut oil, raw almond butter, maybe even a bit of raw agave ( I will finish up what I have & probably won’t be buying it again). I made them today & also added goji berries. So, they are yummy, nutritious and satisfy that sweet tooth. I usually have one a day.Oh and I like a wee bit of raw honey & maple syrup at times (It’s the French Canadien in me ).

    Thank you again Kevin for all the great info.

  10. Can’t see the video, not on website, link in email doesn’t work either!
    One comment though—-I’m sure even cooked agave is much much much better than artificial sweeteners, and it does taste good. Stevia is just plain nasty, tastes like Nutrasweet to me. Dates are good tasting too. It’s not like we’re taking in all our day’s calories from these sweeteners. I think we need to temper what we know, or even think we know, with some common sense!

  11. Louis Schneidman says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Is the raw, dark amber, unrefined Agave still close to the “not-so-great” side of the spectrum?

    I heard an interview with Dr. Robert Young speaking about sugar. If I remember correctly, he said that by chemical compostition, sugar, however you slice it, is very acidic by nature and really serves no purpose when consumed in a way other than in its natural state. And even then it can still be over acidic in the body.

    My gut feeling says that the only purpose for adding additional sugar to anything above and beyond what already exists in a God made food is to satisfy some human flesh desire…or the cravings of candida gone crazy in our bodies.

    I was surprise where stevia showed up on the chart, especially since it has 0 calories, yes?

    Keep up the great work!!!

  12. Rene says:

    It is true that various brands of agave nectar have various levels of ‘rawness’ or even of purity.
    I buy only truly raw agave (hint: it’s almost clear, and very, very liquid. Dark and thick agave has been cooked down!), and use it sparingly.
    Dates, raw honey (unless you are a true vegan that eschews honey), or just not sweetening things are the other choices, if you don’t want to use something that might have been processed somehow – me, I use stevia, agave, raw local honey, and dates.

  13. Ok, guess you didn’t have the video up yet!
    A couple of things Kevin—fructose IS fruit sugar! And high fructose corn syrup is made from GMO corn!

  14. Sue Rushford says:

    I’m happy using dates, whole or juiced fruits, and dried fruits for just about everything. I have stevia and agave at home but rarely use either one of them. And I have an ethical issue with honey.

    I totally agree that raw desserts are the best gateway to raw. I got the girls at work hooked on some of my raw desserts, while they look in puzzlement with a bit of admiration at my green sprout & veggie salads and in total fear at green smoothies & green juices – lol!

  15. Minh has been using dried and ground sugar cane her entire life. We don’t eat much sweets, but when we need a sweetner, we use dried sugar cane.

  16. I love eating raw desserts when I am having a “junk” craving. What about raw cacao? Kevin, I know you are involved with Elements for life as I am, and raw cacao is supposed to be amazing for us. Is it acidic though?
    What are your thoughts on kombucha, do you and Anne Marie drink kombucha?

  17. sarah coffey says:

    How about not using a sweetner at all? The more that I move away from sugar, sweetners, I find that I prefer the food that I am eating, as it is ….such as a blueberry smoothie, I like to taste the blueberries. I think that we seem to think that we HAVe to always add sweetners, salt, whatnot to our food. How about just tasting the food for once, and then, there is no question on if it is good or bad for you, it s just raw, real food, the way that it was intened to be?

  18. sarah coffey says:

    Oh, one more thing, I do think that honey is good, too!! It is real food, and has a lot of nutrients in it! Yum o..(;

  19. giselle cioraru says:

    Raw dessert like the mango pie looks great. but what about food combination? fat & sweet bad food combo. The nuts were not soaked isn’t that bad 4 digestion?

  20. junglegirl says:

    Back in the daaay…heh heh, there was no agave.

    I was taught to use dates and made date syrup to keep in the fridge, yo. But it does have that strong caramel flavor, so acclimate to the taste of stevia as a replacement for agave.

    Also, *ripe* pears and esp. ground dried pears (mostly because they are dried from ripe fruit), are super sweet with a clean flavor.

  21. HY says:

    Raw food desserts are a great way to bust the myth that healthy foods can still taste good health conscious people do not have to feel guilty about eating or giving those treats. It may show that you care about them. They can also look fancy like SAD desserts and are excellent choice for transition foods. Another advantage is that it is easier to make them hypoallergenic.

    I believe that they can still be very addictive since they are high in sugar and/or fats and they are rarely a balanced meal. They are not necessary as part of a healthy diet.

    Corn is most likely GMO so agave nectar may be a tiny safer than HFCS.

  22. David says:

    Raw Food Desserts are almost always too much fat in a combination hard for me to digest; I try to limit combining fat with anything other than non-starchy veges/greens (i.e kale chips …). Agreed this is hard to do.

    Sugar + Fat —> sulfur (gas)

  23. anabel says:

    Due to budget concerns, I tend to use raisins instead of dates because they cost less. They seem to work just as well. Also, growing some of my own grapes and hope to be able to make my own raisins soon. That would be very local food. :) (My idea of paradise is being able to eat entirely out of my garden.)

    In my early thirties, I did eat artificial sugar and wondered why it was not so popular in Europe when I visited there. After a while, I developed some mysterious physical and cognitive issues and a friend clued me in on it possibly being related to the sweetener. Still not certain if the sweetener or dairy caused more problems for me, however I’m glad I don’t eat that stuff anymore.

  24. Katie says:

    You are so great at explaining things to people and I totally agree that people need to be “eased” in to changing things slowly; otherwise I have noticed that they totally go the other way…On a complete different subject; I have 2 cats and a dog. They are on grain-free dog/cat food now that my male cat has had struvite crystals…I would love to know what you feed Johnny 5, and do you vaccinate him and has he ever had any issues with wheezing/coughing? We just had to take our male back to the vet for that…he goes outside…we have tried keeping him in, but he goes absolutely nuts tearing the house to shreds, getting nasty with the kids…He was born outside and wants to be outside…our other cat is a 15 year old female and never an issue. Thanks for all! ps Loved AnnMarie’s talk on Byron Katie and the retreat in Vancouver. Love Vancouver :) My Favorite place in Canada!

  25. susie says:

    Sue Rushford,
    I’m curious what your ethical issue is with honey. Bees are born to make honey. That’s what they LOVE to do! I am around bees a lot and they are happy happy happy when they are making honey. It does not cause them pain or hurt them when humans remove the honey from the hive.
    Peace :)

  26. Kevin,

    I’m curious why so many in the raw world seem to saying these days that agave can or even should be adequately compared to high fructose corn syrup, based on the fructose content. There are so many other things to consider besides just fructose, like the glycemic load of the food the agave is sweetening when combined with the agave, and what processing method was used (although you did touch on that a bit).

    HFCS is processed way beyond anything that could be considered normal processing (I would consider washing, straining, very low temperatures being used on raw foods etc. normal processing). The worst thing that HFCS does (did) to me was that it turns off the signal in the brain that says “stop eating”. Literally blocks that signal, so you keep eating and eating, and you can’t seem to stop! Agave has never once done that to me. As well, I got up to 311 lbs when I ate HFCS, and that was over twice my normal body weight. Now granted, I was also eating processed wheat, meat and dairy at the time, but giving up all of those without giving up the HFCS did not lead to weight loss for me.

    Also, my blood sugar tests have shown that eating truly raw agave (the clear stuff) as well as other raw agaves that are heated below 118 degrees F, causes no blood sugar spike. I can eat agave straight out of the bottle on an empty stomach and have my blood sugar never go up over 2 points. The same cannot be said for HFCS. Since agave doesn’t spike my blood sugar, it doesn’t turn off the signal in my brain that tells me I’m full, and I’ve lost over 100 lbs. while using it liberally, I’ll keep using it.

    I respect you Kevin, if you don’t want to eat agave; there are certainly lots of other delicious, natural, raw sweeteners out there, and I use several of them myself, depending on the dish. Thank you for saying that you are simply sharing info that helps us decide if what we are eating will work for us. I always appreciate your simple, down-to-earth approach, and while I sometimes disagree with you (like on this particular item), I really like that you simply give info rather than telling people what they should or should not be doing. I love that I’m seeing your approach more and more in the raw food community! Keep up the great work! :oD

  27. Tori says:

    OT, but it relates to your blog’s main purpose.

    Do you know about Codex Alimentarius? Do you know about the House Bills that will be voted on soon that tie in to and relate directly toward our country moving toward Codex compliance by the 31st of December this year?

    I ask because it things go as intended (with the bills in the House and the way Codex mandates are intended, organic will become a thing of the past (with all foods being subject to mandatory irradiation). I hope you will look into this and… even, if you feel so inspired, share the news via your “webinars”.

    I found your site a few months ago and enjoy what I’m able to see. You have wonderful information available for those of us who are trying to improve our food consumption… as well as raw foodists, of course. :)

  28. Mary says:

    Thanks for clearing up the agave controversy. I still have a big bottle of raw blue agave and use it sparingly. The same with honey. I limit adding sweeteners to fruits, because they are sweet enough already. Surely not to dates. But Stevia, in minute quantities, is a good sub. Those who don’t like it might have poured it on like processed white sugar!! Your point about raw desserts as an intro for non-raw friends and family is right on. They’ll gobble them up and then may try a zucchini noodle dish at your next outing. Good show, Kevin.

  29. Christina Dodson says:

    What about Zylitol as a sweetener?

  30. P.S. I forgot to say that I agree with you completely about changing people’s minds about raw by using desserts. I bring chocolates, pies and cakes to parties and potlucks. And now that it’s summer in the northwest, I’m also starting to bring raw blackberry cobbler! Mmmmmm … so sweet off the vine, it needs almost no sweetener of any kind (but I do use agave).

  31. Shara says:

    Kevin,

    I notice that beans and lentils are not really consumed by raw fooders…is there a reason why?

    • Jonathan says:

      I think beans are considered toxic without cooking. Humans can’t eat beans raw without there being issues. I’m not sure about Lentils ….are they a legume like beans? I think its a legume issue though I’m not sure if Peanuts need to be cooked to eat…I suppose they do roast them..not sure if raw peanuts are ok.

  32. Geri says:

    what about the sweetner named, Taste Like Sugar, I can’t remember what it has in it, or what it is made up of but my 88 year young mom really likes it. She got it at a health food store. She uses this now for sweetner. Also Kevin and AnnMarie, how do you feel about all the negative talk going on with the swine flu? The fema death camps, hoarding food and supplies and so on! I would really like to know and I am sure others would too. There are films on YouTube about these camps where they actually film them and some even show coffins and it is so disturbing. Can you help me to sleep better at night? Talk about this please! Thanks so much, Geri

  33. Leslie says:

    A local raw carrot cake first got my attention! I noticed because of the enzymes and lower sweet content that it left me feeling just right. When I brought my friend one on her birthday, she couldn’t stop eating it and said her stomach wanted more. I am extremely active and still have cookie dough from time to time so for me it is infinite improvement. But I prefer the meals and to experiment with recipes. Thank you for your show! I want to know, where does yacon syrup fall?

  34. mary kay says:

    I agree with Kevin, that raw desserts are great to open mainstream people’s eyes to raw. I like’em too…probably a little too much though, as I’m about 15 lbs overweight….sigh….

    I am too busy to continue beekeeping, however both dh and I were beekeepers when we met. We give bees such good homes, that they are able to produce an abundance, so I feel honey is fine. However, what most people don’t know is that bees go to great lengths to keep the hive at/below 94 Deg F, therefore I don’t even like to use it in the dehydrator. I have not read this anywhere, but my own feeling is that I don’t even really want to bring it up to 105, therefore, for dehydrated things, I add a touch of maple syrup, and some dates, raisins…etc.

    When you get honey, try finding a local beekeeper who will not heat it at all. I just got a local guy, who sold me five gallons for $125 U.S….a great deal.

    Also try to find some who do not use any chemicals in the hive. Many beekeeprs now use some essential oils, and also start out with smaller combs, so that the bees are smaller and are less susceptible to mites.

    Mary Kay

  35. Rafael Morales Jr says:

    Thank you Kevin
    your presentacion was really good.

    now Kevin been in the 30 days reversing diabetis program. Does it means that I should eat more vegetables and less fruit?.
    is Raw agave good or Raw agave does’nt exist?
    need your help please. On raw foods deserts I love the concept. it breaks the routine. And it makes me feel that is worth it to continue my raw program.
    Thank you
    Rafael

  36. Stevena English says:

    Hi! I love your show Kevin! I personally use Agave everyday. Your source for Agave is VERY important . My suggestion to people who say is this good for me or not…..I have learned that I determine which foods serve me well and which ones do not. Long story short..I have used Agave products which spike my blood sugar and on other hand, do use agave daily which levels my blood sugar out. Raw deserts are awesome on occasion but simplistic eating is best for me most of the time. The link below is for an article on Agave along with audio about it as well…..if your interested in what’s on the other side of the fence
    http://sunfiresuperfoods.com/super-food/vanilla-agave-nectar/

    Blessings, Stevena

  37. Stacy says:

    I have to agree with a couple of posts:
    Why use sweeteners at all? Unless you’re using something bitter in a recipe (like raw cacao), then most raw deserts, etc., are fine with a little fruit added. I LOVE stevia (and don’t care for agave), but I think a lot of people are over-doing it, perhaps? Probably because they are use to super sweet SAD desserts. And after I read the info in your “honey” post, I will NOT be consuming bee products! That was very informative, and I don’t really use it for anything, anymore.
    BTW, for those people that keep bringing up “GOD” to justify their choices… PLEASE STOP! Your religion has nothing to do with my choices, so stop trying to convince me it’s o.k.. A person does not have to be religious to have ethics and morals. Just own up to it. Who are you really trying to convince, anyway? Me or YOU?

  38. Great comments! True raw, unheated cane sugar, raw honey and fresh (or dried) stevia leaf are good choices. I know vegans do not consume honey because it’s an animal product. In 1944, Donald Watson made it clear that the term “vegan” applied to those that live on only products from the plant kingdom. I don’t like labels though. Stevia leaf, not the processed powder and true (if you don’t mind the unique taste), raw, unheated, unfiltered honey and cane sure are great foods. Agave is leaps and bound better than HFCS and all chem/synth sweeteners. Health & Blessings.

  39. Lyndel says:

    Could you comment on Yacon Syrup and Lakanto please??

  40. Sharon says:

    I’m not going to stop using agave since it is fine for my keeping my blood sugar stable. I cannot say the same for honey, maple syrup or dates. For me they are equal to sugar in destructiveness in my body although a very tiny bit is okay. No more than 2 dates though!

    I don’t really make desserts although sometimes I think my meals are rather dessert-like since I eat a lot of blended frozen fruit and I like to snack on frozen blueberries too.

    With all the controversy about agave I have yet to see anyone post that it’s hurting them!

  41. Nicole says:

    If I eat plenty of fruit, I don’t really care about “desserts” like I thought I would. I guess I view desserts as special occasion treats, not something you eat every day. I look forward to making a raw birthday cake, and some Christmas treats though, and maybe having some raw brownies in the freezer would be a good idea, to stand in for the non-raw junk I sometimes cave into.

  42. Gail Giustozzi says:

    For those of us who believe in God, he is the creator of these unprocessed raw foods we eat. It’s just natural for us to mention his name when talking about raw, unprocessed food.

  43. Chris says:

    I’d like to hear more about if agave is really raw or not. It is labeled as raw but many people are now saying that it isn’t raw. Also that it is cut with corn syrup. Do you know if this is true? There are also different varieties of agave. Dark amber, light amber and clear. Some say the clear is the truly raw, others say that it is the most processed. Kevin, do you know anything about this? Also heard that yacon isn’t raw either. There needs to be more restrictions on products to make sure they are truly raw. Right now anybody can put raw on their label and not have to justify it. Raw doesn’t really mean anything. Just because it says raw on the label doesn’t mean it’s raw. Personally I usually use dates as a sweetener. The odd time I’ll use agave, but I’m using it less and less now.

    Thanks,
    Chris

  44. Stacy says:

    Then you should know that, when refering to “Him”, it should be the upper-case.
    And my comment was actually carried over from reading the “honey” post, where “He” was used to condone the exploitation of “His” creatures. It has not been brought up to talk about eating, say, carrots??? Atleast nowhere that I have seen.

  45. Kevin,

    Thank you for your talk on sweetners. I couldn’t help notice you did not mention that nearly all high-fructose corn sweetners are genetically modified (Jeffrey Smith’s book Genetic Roulette gives a thorough expose on why these products should be avoided). Also I was hoping you’d mention honey among the other sweetners. We have an excellent raw organic honey gathered locally. What is your opinion of honey?

    Gratefully,

    Darielle Richards, Ph.D.
    Salem OR

  46. will says:

    As indicated in a couple prior responses, I think you need to differentiate between raw agaves (eg Wholesome Sweeteners’ Organic Raw Blue Agave) and the processed versions you refer to here. Clearly a raw version is considerably closer to the date sugars & stevia on your scale than the processed versions…

  47. Didiydi says:

    Another safe sweetener is Erythritol. It is similar to Lakanto, except lakanto has a chinese dried fruit mixed with Erythritol, but both don’t feed candida (true in my experience).
    Agave is maybe processed, hence unhealthy, but it still has a low glycemic index, and my candida reacts on it a lot less.
    I was using yacon powder because it’s prebiotic and feeds good bacteria, but then I loved it so much I couldn’t stop eating it so I stopped- I am still not sure if it was feeding my candida or not (even though they say it’s safe).
    I wonder why would you put fruits as safer than stevia- you can eat no matter what quantities and there will be no negative effects, which is not what can be said for more than 2 fruits a day. Also, dried fruits are loaded with sugar and unsafe for teeth, so it should be said, for people who listen to the video and are new to raw.

  48. Mary Jane says:

    I’m due to travel on a long haul flight to New Zealand from London in 3 weeks time and have ordered the raw vegan meal option, only to be told by a friend who works in catering that raw foods on airlines are put through a bleaching process before being served to passengers…
    Can anyone help me with any further insights into this, because I’d rather make an alternative choice if this be the case?
    Many thanks
    Mary Jane
    in the West of Ireland

  49. Page says:

    I wasn’t much of a dessert eater, even before I went raw. “Dessert” for us has always been, and will continue to be, fresh fruits such as berries and grapes.
    Thank you for answering the questions about processed agave. I was going to try it, but now I won’t waste my money. I do not care for the taste of stevia – it tastes like the artificial stuff to me, even a leaf straight off the plant.

  50. Wendi Dee says:

    Re: Agave (from a comment I posted on We Like It Raw)

    I only use Madhava brand of agave after reading the debate about agave on Natural News many months ago. I think we all know that whole foods are the best for our bodies. I do, however, use agave sometimes. I don’t like steevia. And even though I like the taste of honey, I just can’t do it without feeling my heart break at the thought of even one bee being harmed just so I could have something sweet. :-/

    My thoughts on agave are this: if you are eating a clean diet and you include some processed food like agave, you are still doing great compared to the vast majority of people on this planet. Plus, I know for me that I regained my health and released nearly 100 pounds all while consuming agave, so it can’t be all *that* bad for the body (at least not in the beginning of going raw).

    Lots of love to you,

    Wendi
    XOXOXO

  51. Kym Hutcheon says:

    This has been fascinating, as always. I had read numerous times that fat slowed the metabolism of other foods. Specifically, I always put half an advocado (plus greens) in my morning three-fruit (plus a little ginger and honey) smoothie for this reason.

    However, after reading some posts here, I wonder just how wise (in terms of candida, etc.) this actually is. Just for the record, after that smoothie, I’m blasting for hours…

  52. Autria says:

    SO, is it okay to use raw honey? I thought to myself at one point that agave is really sweet to be to so healthy. Thanks for clearing that up. I been using it since Dr. Weil said it was a better alternative. Didn’t know that it wasn’t good for the liver.

  53. Hilary McDaniel says:

    Can someone please tell me how to get used to Stevia?
    I’ve tried every version/form of it and it still tastes as nasty as Aspertane. Agave is the only sweetner I like. I only use sweetner in my hot tea. I rarely make deserts as my husband doesn’t care for them so why bother. Another thing, does anyone else have problems with Kelp as far as chewing goes? It’s like a rubber band, it just won’t go away. I like the taste but I can’t seem to get it to break down so I’m not swallowing a line of kelp. Any suggestions?

  54. Steve Meyers says:

    RAW Agave —— Is not the same as Agave that is processed. You need to check that out guys . Your information is incorrect when it comes to 100% Raw Agave .

  55. Steve Meyers says:

    Maple syrup you mentioned is actually processed not truely raw —– Raw agave is amazingly nutritious and very good for diabetics to use .

  56. Allison says:

    Like #27, I would also like to see you comment on Codex.

  57. Jackie says:

    Can’t watch the video.

    Jackie

  58. Beth says:

    Kevin,

    Another great show.
    I love that you are providing the information, and letting people decide for themselves what is best for them.

    Raw desserts are a great way to introduce the raw lifestyle to friends and family. They are always a hit. I call them “no bake” desserts and explain how easy & fast they are to prepare, and to clean up after. If my friends & family feel good after eating it and ask for the recipe, even better :)

  59. sharon in Sugar Land says:

    Raw food desserts have helped me transition into the raw world. However,once i started eating them, my weight has not been coming off as easily. It’s time for the next step…try to save the desserts for special occasions.

  60. GoRawMe says:

    Hey Kevin,

    Thank you for the tip regarding lemon and kelp noodle softening. I’ll give it a try!

    And thank you SO much for bringing this info regarding raw sweeteners. I have what I consider a rather harsh viewpoint. It’s a viewpoint that is truth based. And the truth so often is so hard for us to take in.

    I have to stress that I was a non-dessert eater prior to going raw with the exception of dark chocolate and brownies – a treat I gave myself once a year on my birthday.

    I was not looking for a gateway drug when I went raw … but I was quickly offered raw desserts … not as a gateway drug, but as … “raw desserts are wonderful because you they are totally healthy and you won’t gain weight and you can eat as much as you want.”

    Well I fell for it. And three months of raw desserts (10 lbs later) I knew I’d been ‘had’. I knew – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that raw desserts are desserts. Agave is crap. Raw desserts are crap (from the standpoint of health). There … I expressed the ‘very unpopular thing’.

    Where I am now in my raw journey is that I don’t eat desserts. I am on a journey to what true health is for me. That’s my path.

    I don’t really buy the belief that a gateway drug is required, but if people want to tell themselves that, it’s fine with me. I sometimes want to shout – “Buck up folks … if you want to gain health … the steps are there. If you want to pamper yourself … the steps are there.”

    But I don’t waste my energy shouting. I don’t give a hoot about transforming anyone to raw. My friends and family ask me if they can try something I’ve made … I don’t bring things to them.

    So, what I experience is that the folks who are interested in a health change and want to explore raw come to me with curiosity and questions. So I’m basically ‘preaching to the health choir’. And some of the facts are hard for our minds (that so often are programmed to non-health) to hear.

    You are a very popular guy in the raw food world. I thank you for your non-harsh, but honest offering of information. And keep making those desserts. People love them. So, why not? I know you’ll excuse me if I don’t eat them. But please pass me your kale salad! ;)

  61. satatma says:

    Kevin,
    I would really love to hear you talk about Jerusalem Artichoke and Yacon Syrups!

    As for raw deserts, they are the best reason to go to Cafe Gratitude… but unfortunately, most of those deserts use agave!

  62. Irene says:

    Where do you get your kelp noodles?

  63. Brent says:

    Hi All, Im with Kev on this one, dont really care much for sweets, im happy with just a few pieces of fruit a day. Once you are green, eating too much of anything else spoils it:)

  64. PE says:

    GoRawM<e said it, but I’ll post anyway.
    Kathy and Sue earlier made some good points- fructose is fruit sugar (and here we go again, processing something already sweet to make things ‘convenient’), HFCornSyrup is genetically modified (and agave is both over-processed– even if ‘raw’– and imported, there goes your carbon footprint; and if you think it’s nature’s or god’s bounty, taste agave sap), and there are ethical issues with honey (and more so with pollen, we learned).
    Also, I read that the clear agave product is closer to raw unlike the cooked dark stuff, no it’s more processed because it filters out the dark stuff, no… the arguments go on…
    Dried ground sugar cane was mentioned– and corn stalks would work too, they’re sweet and may be local for many, and non-GMO.
    But what ever happened to plain old fruit? No glamor? Not junky enough? Too little prep time? They’re not all high glycemic index (like carrots, hmmm) so just eat them, in green smoothies if you must, though many recipes include so little greens you may as well just eat them too. Or is that too low tech? Too crude? Too…raw?

  65. RMyers says:

    The debate on Agave was referenced in Natural News a while aga and this mlink points to the response by the president of Madhave

    http://www.naturalnews.com/025060_agave_nectar_sugar_sugars.html

    It appears as though much of the information used against Agave is either outdated or incorrect. Doubtless some manufacturers of Agave make versions that are highly processed and should be avoided, there are other manufacturers who go to a great deal of trouble to provide a raw and healthy version. Like anything that you buy rather than make yourself, due diligence before purchasing pays off.

  66. bryan says:

    i notice that the same time you come out with your new product, that you say can be used as a sweetner you also come out with a show downing Agave and other sweetners. I hope this is your true belief and not a sales tactic. I admit i am going to try your product, because i have always trusted you. I hope that i will be able to continue to trust you about other peoples products now that you are starting to sell you own.

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      Hey Bryan! Funny you noticed that… definitely not intentional at all! LOL :-) I think the question came up with reader questions… that’s why we addressed it.

      I’ll have you know that the products we will/do create and sell are products we use and believe in. I always keep an open mind and if something changes or new information comes up, I will gladly bring it to everyone’s attention regardless of repercussions on our own sales and bottom line.

      My revelation into creating new products came about because I just wasn’t happy with what was being produced and didn’t know who to trust. So we created our own. This way we can trust, see and know what’s in there!

      Thanks for your support!
      Kev

  67. Cherie says:

    My thoughts on raw food desserts is I would love to have somebody make it for me anytime:)
    I;m not much of a cook but that recipe looked even doable for me! When I muster up the courage I will try it.

  68. Charlotte says:

    Can you talk about the dangers of GMOs, please???

  69. Ahntara says:

    This episode and the entire discussion that followed epitomizes my frustration with ‘raw’ and ‘health’. There is SO much conflicting information. One week This is good and the next it’s BAD. One ‘expert’ says item A is desireable, be it food-stuff, supplement or alternative, and another ‘expert’ says they’re out of their mind.

    10 years ago, when my ex and I were consuming a 3-lb bag of refined sugar a week, and were both diagnosed as diabetic, I knew that I had to find an alternative. We switched to (powered, purchased) Fructose. (BTW, that makes terrific orange-flavored Kool-Aid. That should have clued me in right there.) Then a wholistic practitioner told me that Fructose is highly processed and therefore NOT Good. I then discovered Agave Syrup.

    I’ve spent a fortune and traveled many, many miles to ensure I had a supply. I even carry a small bottle in my tote (aloing with Celtic Sea Salt) so that I’m prepared if I have to eat out.

    NOW agave is supposedly Bad. Says who? And, why? Kevin, in the video you rate agave but gave no supporting data and never mentioned its low Glycemic Index, which is a critical factor for diabetics. I’ve never heard of the doctor you quoted/referred to. Why should we believe something this person spoke about? What’s the actual EVIDENCE that agave is Bad?

    Here’s my scale:

    Gossip, data with no supporting evidence, 3rd-hand information = BAD

    Real life experience, lots of scientific, supporting research, Years of actual trials and referrals = Good

    This made me incredibly irritable. Maybe I just need a nice cup of tea and a nap.

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      Ahntara, there has been many studies done on fructose and the liver… particularly in terms of how insulin resistance is affected. Please use PubMed.com as a research base for your knowledge. My points in this video and today’s follow up can be STRONGLY supported with scientific evidence. :-)

      Kev

  70. Danielle says:

    Hi, I have a question. Do you know anything about Endometriosis? Any natural cures? I am in desperate search for a cure or some information thank you!

  71. sunshine says:

    Why does David Wolfe promote agave it is in many of his recipes. Also Dr. Casar sells and promotes agave from Ultimate Superfoods – these guys know there stuff but not Agave is not so good? hmm…

  72. Ahntara says:

    Kevin:

    Thanks for answering my irritable comment and posting a reference. For anyone reading this – Beware of menopause.

    I searched pubmed.com and found two results on ‘agave syrup’.

    The 1st suggests that agave, like other sugar alternatives (as opposed to sugar substitutes) may contain antioxidants. Not exactly a bad thing… I posted it for reference.

    “Phillips KM, Carlsen MH, Blomhoff R.
    Biochemistry Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA. kmpvpi@vt.edu

    BACKGROUND: Oxidative damage is implicated in the etiology of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other degenerative disorders. Recent nutritional research has focused on the antioxidant potential of foods, while current dietary recommendations are to increase the intake of antioxidant-rich foods rather than supplement specific nutrients. Many alternatives to refined sugar are available, including raw cane sugar, plant saps/syrups (eg, maple syrup, agave nectar), molasses, honey, and fruit sugars (eg, date sugar). Unrefined sweeteners were hypothesized to contain higher levels of antioxidants, similar to the contrast between whole and refined grain products. OBJECTIVE: To compare the total antioxidant content of natural sweeteners as alternatives to refined sugar. DESIGN: The ferric-reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) assay was used to estimate total antioxidant capacity. Major brands of 12 types of sweeteners as well as refined white sugar and corn syrup were sampled from retail outlets in the United States. RESULTS: Substantial differences in total antioxidant content of different sweeteners were found. Refined sugar, corn syrup, and agave nectar contained minimal antioxidant activity (<0.01 mmol FRAP/100 g); raw cane sugar had a higher FRAP (0.1 mmol/100 g). Dark and blackstrap molasses had the highest FRAP (4.6 to 4.9 mmol/100 g), while maple syrup, brown sugar, and honey showed intermediate antioxidant capacity (0.2 to 0.7 mmol FRAP/100 g). Based on an average intake of 130 g/day refined sugars and the antioxidant activity measured in typical diets, substituting alternative sweeteners could increase antioxidant intake an average of 2.6 mmol/day, similar to the amount found in a serving of berries or nuts. CONCLUSION: Many readily available alternatives to refined sugar offer the potential benefit of antioxidant activity.”

    The 2nd one speaks to the antifungal properties of agave – similar to honey.

    “Davidson JR, Ortiz de Montellano BR.
    Wound treatment practices of the Aztecs are discussed. The use of concentrated maguey sap (Agave ssp.) was widely dispersed and has persisted in folk medicine. A possible reason may be that it is effective. Laboratory analysis of maguey syrup indicates that its utilization as a remedy by ancient and modern Mesoamericans could contribute to the healing process of aerobic wound infections. Both pyogenic and enteric bacteria appear to be susceptible to maguey syrup. The traditional addition of salt to the remedy seems to enhance the effectiveness of the material in inhibiting the growth of one of the major causes of pus-forming or pyogenic infective processes, Staphylococcus aureus. This finding is additional proof of the effectiveness of pre-Hispanic medicine, and of the skills of pre-Hispanic physicians.”

    I copied and pasted both for reference, so there would be no confusion as to what I found and what conclusions I came to based on the site you referred me to.

    I see no indication that agave is Bad or to be avoided. There was no supporting data for the info in your video. Your own reference seemed contradictatory. I don’t wish to get (even-more) argumentative. But simply saying that something is Bad doesn’t make it so, even when someone with ‘props’, a reputation, a website, a degree or Doctor before their name says so. Can you post a specific link, study or additional references?

  73. Ahntara says:

    Additional comment.

    Just re-read your answer and noted that you said ‘fructose’ not ‘agave syrup’. I’ve got more research to do…

  74. Aimee says:

    Hmmm… my opinion and question:

    Research on the safety/toxicity levels for stevia are still uncertain. There are some very reputable studies that have found that high levels of Stevia can cause lesions in blood cells and organs, cancer, reproductive problems and energy metabolism concerns.

    Additionally, most purchased stevia products are highly processed. For cosumer products, the 2 super-sweet compounds of the leaf (rebaudioside A. and stevioside) are extracted and then bleaching products are often used to produce that attrative ultra-white sparkle. These bleaching products are not a healthy addition. Of course, there are companies that manufacture without bleaching products.

    I realize that stevia was used for centuries in South America with no identified side-effects. But, in the U.S. of A., we rarely use food and herbs like they did hundreds of years ago. Overconsumption of a product is now common. Additionally, bioaccumulation through ingestion of a variety of products containing the particular substance(s) is something to be aware of. And now, with “Rebiana” getting GRAS, there is a real possibility of reaching a high consumption level of stevia or stevia compounds.

    Based on my interpretation of the research, I believe that a small bit daily of unbleached stevia wouldn’t hurt. But, I’ve decided not to purchase or make it at my own house. My biggest reason is because of the reproductive concerns with stevia. Men may be more at risk for these: High stevioside consumption has been liked with reduced sperm production, increased cell proliferation in testacles and a decline in the weight of the seminal vesicles (findings are mostly from rat studies). These effects can cause fertility problems. For women (hamster studies mainly), studies revealed fewer and smaller offspring. Since the hubs and I are considering having children in the future, this research was the clincher that stevia did not need to be a part of our diet.

    Goodness, sorry… I didn’t mean to write a novel. I just wanted to share my thoughts on Stevia and see what others were thinking. This is just my interpretation of the research, so take with a grain of salt.

    BTW… Thanks for your show and all that you do! Getting discussions started and people thinking about their health is a wonderful thing!

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      Hey Aimee,

      Thanks for your comments! From my research, the studies on stevia that have shown problems have been high levels and have been conducted using the chemical compounds in stevia, not the green leaf.

      If you have any knowledge of studies on the green leaf and toxicity, please post them here. I haven’t been able to find any. Also… stevia is in the sunflower family (generally non-toxic).

      Kev

  75. Cheryl says:

    I have read about chia seeds as a good protien. Do you have any information about chia seeds, I have not seen any recipes from you including these seeds.

  76. Sharon says:

    Thanks RMyers for that link: http://www.naturalnews.com/025060_agave_nectar_sugar_sugars.html. I hope everyone else will read it too!

  77. debra says:

    To be a sweeth tooth or not to be a sweet tooth, that is the question.

    Perhaps, it’s more than addiction, folks.

    Read up on the science of Aryuveda. Some doshas (body types) do indeed need more sweet taste than others. Here’s a link to find out what your dosha may be.

    http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/

    This link and quiz will give you a simplified look at the science of Aryuveda, but it may give you some insight into why you aren’t able to do without some type of sweetener.

    Sweet Taste can be very pacifying to Pitta types -but if Kapha types are eating sweets it may just be an addiction.

    Find out more about your dosha and you’ll know more about why you feel the need to eat sweets.

    My personal opinion is that American taste buds have just become desensitized to the true, subtle flavors of food because of the all the additives in processed foods. So now we have to wean ourselves away from the bang of excess sweet or salty taste.

    I raised my children without sugar and to this day they wouldn’t even think of eating junk food.

    I remember the first visit to Grammy’s house. The candy on the candy dish was quickly spit out. I didn’t have to forbid it. And they didn’t have to hurt their Grammy’s feelings. It was just a matter of taste.

    debra

  78. Michael T. says:

    Regarding sweeteners, the key issue is the amount consumed. I don’t believe anyone would be harmed from eating one tablespoon of agave. This is about 15 grams of sugar, about the same as an apple or an orange.

    The difference between agave and fruit is that agave is about 80 percent fructose, and fruit sugar is usually about 50 percent fructose. So, one and a half apples is about the same amount of fructose as one tablespoon of agave.

    If you’re concerned about too much fructose causing fatty liver and other health problems, it is essential to limit one’s total fruit consumption. Some people eat a dozen or more pieces of fruit in a day, which adds up to an excessive amount of fructose.

    In the times before modern agriculture, people ate wild fruits, which have much less sugar than modern cultivated fruits. Ever tried to eat wild berries or wild grapes? They are not very sweet. They are mostly skin and seeds, with just a hint of sugar. This is how “nature” makes fruit.

    Humans came along and after many generations, developed fruits with higher sugar levels. So what most of us eat as fruit is not at all “natural” — it’s way too high in sugar.

    Now, I eat this modern fruit every day. I’m not saying don’t eat it, just be aware that it is far sweeter than “nature” provides.

    Whether we are eating honey or agave or sweet fruit, the key point is moderate consumption. Too much of ANY form of sugar can throw the body out of balance, clog up the liver with fat, create high levels of acidity, cause trace mineral depletion, etc.

    I think this is why the healthiest people I know are eating a lot of veggies and not so much fruit.

    I seem to do better when I alternate meals, a fruity meal, a veggie meal, back and forth. Also, blending greens, seaweeds or algae with fruit helps create balance.

    I hope this information is helpful.

    Michael T.

  79. tina says:

    Hi Kev
    loving your work
    You just put the information out there for us, we ultimately choose.

    I would love it if you could give us an example week of eating raw, so that we get to see that high sugar it not always on the menu. What does plain raw look like?

    What is the concern abt high fructose as in the rehydrated mango?
    How much fruit is too much Kev?

    really want an answere.

    Thanks Tina

  80. Judy says:

    I rarely make sweets,however when I do I usually use a little honey. I use stevia in my smoothies not because it has great health benefits, but to avoid that sleepy feeling I get after I eat ‘sugars’ ,even many natural sugars in fruits.
    I’m very sensitive to sugars. Stevia works OK in my body.

  81. Aimee says:

    You bet Kev, unfortunately there has been little research on consumption of whole leaf stevia. There has been some in animal nutrition/feed but nothing quite relevant to human health. But, I think this data gap is why there is still concern for the safety of stevia.

    I like the words of Kip Panter (heads USDA’s Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory in Logan, Utah), “Most things are toxic if they’re eaten in large enough quantities or too much.”

    The question for stevia is, “How much is too much?” I definitely think stevia is safer than most NNS’s, but there are still safety concerns that need to be addressed.

    Further, I believe whole leaf stevia is safer than the liquid extracts and white powders that have now been created.

    Of course, I’m often overly cautious :)

  82. Aimee says:

    Sorry, one more thing…

    Stevia is in the sunflower family… But, consider Datura, horse nettle and Atropa belladonna, both are extremely toxic and are in the same family as tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum (Solanaceae family, AKA Nightshade family). Socrates was likely brought to his death by ingesting an extract from poison hemlock… which shares a family with carrots and celery (Apiaceae family). Mangos and cashews share a family with poison ivy and sumac (Anacardiaceae family).

    Just like in human families, plants can be in families that contain the essentially harmless amidst the surprisingly toxic and volatile.

    We are surrounded by so many amazing plants—some are great for more frequent consumption, others beneficial for medicinal uses and still others are more poisonous than any man-made chemical. Of course, some plants can serve multiple purposes.

    OK, stream of consciousness done… :)

  83. Since I’m 16, after reading Upton Sinclairs, “animal farm’, I have been eating “healthy’ on and off for 42 years. But mostly off than on. Now that I am looking at 60 next month and shifting back to raw food, no meat, etc. along with reading your & viewing all your videos, I feel like I am sca-rewed. I feel relatively healthy, no meds, per se, but can I undo the damage I have done at this late date? I just feel so behind, how will I ever catch up?
    Mary

  84. Irondoll says:

    I’m sitting here thinking about my good friend, Leland Jung, the owner of Alive restaurant and the beautiful desserts he’s made and finding myself wondering if you’re going to interview him. He’s got a most lovely restaurant on Lombard Blvd and works hard the San Francisco Farmers Market at the Embarcardero. Have you been there? There are at least 2 raw rood stands, and if you look around, you can find raw foods in some of the most unlikely places. Also, there are a lot of well-known characters in The City who are VERY WELL known, raw celebrities in their own right, and were around even before Matt and Terces, and who have brought life to raw, as you know, with their “sacred commerce.” These local celebs have been here longer than you and Anne’s years on the planet! :-D There are monthly potlucks at the 16st SFPD station, too. Write me sometime, and I’ll tell you. Have you heard of the Sproutline? Contact John Kohler, if you’re looking for names.

    Will you be connecting with Lydia or Blessings? Two true pioneers… and we all know each other!

    Also, you MUST visit Rainbow Groceries and our wonderful organics distribution point in SF. You’ll need a connection, though. I have names to name! :-D

    Pat

  85. Irondoll says:

    Ooops…Lombard St….

  86. Irondoll says:

    Is it ok to use date pieces over dates? I know they are cheaper, but what’s that dusty stuff that keeps them from sticking to one another…should I really worry.???

  87. andy says:

    Good info on iodine is
    http://www.iodine4health.com/overviews/audiovisual/flechas_audiovisual.htm

    Also you could put some iodine on the skin and see how fast it disappears. IF iodine disappears within 24 hrs you are iodine deficient, though probably its not reliable test.

    Oral lugol iodine could harm healthy bacteria, and if you want to use orally better to use nascient iodine.

    also dr. circus cures cancer with iodine, soda and magnenesium oil. Iodine can be applied on the skin and its very good for melanomas, breast cancer.

  88. Veronica says:

    How about Raw agave?

  89. Shannon says:

    raw food desserts: I am always dissapointed when I pick up a raw-food cookbook and it’s 1/3 desserts. I’m not sure it’s healthy to go on a raw food diet and then proceed with a high-fructose, high-fat diet. That being said, they are a great way to “lure” people to the raw-food diet at the beginning. haha.

  90. Shannon says:

    PS
    THANK YOU for using Pub Med and other reputable sources for your research. I can’t tell you how much i appreciate this!

  91. sherry says:

    Hello ,
    My thoughts and experience and research ,
    Bad combining with desserts , always usually it is a nut and sweet food combo whether it be dried fruits , fresh fruits of any kind of syrup , really ,really hard on the digestion and pancreas , also will contribute to candida overgrowth…
    Take good care
    Sherry

  92. Joan says:

    In dessert recipes, I like to use pitted dates – in tea, we have switched to Stevia – a very tiny bit goes a long way…

  93. MARY THOMAS says:

    RAW UNPASTEURIZED HONEY IS DIVINE, BETTER THAN ANY SWEETNER YOU CAN FIND. MAKE SURE IT IS ‘RAW’ AND ‘UNPASTEURIZED.’ YOU WONT BELIEVE THE DIFFERENCE IN TASTE, NOTHING LIKE ANY HONEY YOU HAVE TASTED BEFORE.

    Comments are closed for this post.