The Agave Test : The Renegade Health Show Episode #639

Friday Aug 20 | BY |
| Comments (52)

As you know, there’s plenty of back and forth about Agave syrup over the last year or so…

In this episode, I propose a simple test called “The Agave Test” to see how agave really effects you and your body.

Go ahead and check it out to see if you should be eating agave regularly…

Your question of the day: Have you tried the Agave Test before? Let us know your results!

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

Live Awesome!

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 — 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.


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  1. Molly says:

    I’ve never eaten Agave because I avoid all added sugar. I read about agave’s effects on the liver, and I’ve avoided it ever since. I prefer sugar from just eating fresh fruit. However, I still use some artificial sweetener (Splenda). I’m weaning myself down. Your posts about water fasting got me really inspired to cleanse my body of toxins, so the sweeteners will be going soon, I hope. It’s an addiction, I think.

  2. Jessic a says:

    I love it but it makes me jittery as well so I no longer eat it.

  3. Sophia says:

    I am so excited about the wild foraging series!!! I love to learn about native plants!!!

  4. Ashleigh says:

    HELP! See bottom for exercise related question for next week 🙂

    I am writing on two of the topics you mentioned in today’s show; one, on agave, I went off of it for awhile as well and when having it again inside coconut ice cream, I felt the same symptom you mentioned – a serious sugar rush… not a good one. I also noticed that when I worked out and sweat the next day, my sweat had a bad odor when it normally doesn’t have any odor at all.

    And on the working out note, since you will be going over exercise next week, I would love it if you could shed a little light on a sibling discussion that began yesterday: healing injuries.

    I am an avid athlete. I pushed myself a little too hard yesterday and sprained my ankle; Bummed, but trying to look at it as an opportunity rather than a setback!… anyway, we are always told to do the “RICE” treatment (rest, ice, compression, and elevate). My brother disagrees with this philosophy. He feels swelling is a good thing as it means healing is happening. He believes ice is counterproductive to healing because he said it slows down blood flow and that it is masking a symptom.

    So, with the help of you, your research and the knowledge of the Awesome Renegade Health Show community, could you let me know if he is right. Is “RICE” like other “go to” traditional treatments – counterintuitive and something to question. Should we not be elevating or icing (still sounds crazy to me- but could be b/c its ingrained)? I am juicing like crazy and eating raw to speed up the healing, but when it comes to care of the injuring, I am so curious what you would suggest to do with a sprained ankle?

  5. jackie says:

    I haven’t had any agave in several months, and never ate it much before that time. Interestingly though, I just made a dessert with agave in it, and I didn’t notice any difference afterwards. I guess that’s good…?

  6. Barbaraw says:

    yes i’ve done the test – though it’s been a while..
    You can’t find agave syrup in nature and well that’s always been a red flag for me…
    if you need to sweeten your foods (and lets face it they sure are yummy) please choose more natural sweeteners (dates, fruits, honey, maple syrup) and remember to buffer them so that they don’t sky rocket your blood sugar levels… protein, fat, fibre and non starchy veggies aka leafy greens help to keep your blood sugar in check!!
    peace out!!

  7. Euneka says:

    Molly…have you checked out Splenda? I suggest you go to and take a look at the data on it including the dangers of ingesting it…there are many websites covering the subject. And you are right…it is addicting and designed to be that way! A detox is an excellent idea as you may continue to have difficulty giving it up until the chemical residuals are flushed out of the body.
    I agree with Barbaraw…choose a sweetener found in nature as the body is designed to thrive on only non-processed foods and the optimum diet is all organic.

  8. Jean says:

    Hi Kevin and Annmarie — always such a pleasure to see you and experience not only the information you share but your genuine and loving spirits.

    I’ve never liked Agave much so I don’t use it. I eat a lot of fruit and if I need to sweeten a sour drink I’ll use Jarrow Inulin FOS. Never cared for stevia much — the real stevia — the processed stevia (white stuff) has a more bearable taste. Xylitol from birch tree bark tastes pretty good but it will affect my stomach if I eat too much. I still want to try Lecuma (sp?) but haven’t yet, plus there are many more natural sweetners out there — there’s a website: that has many natural sweetners. BTW, I totally agree about the figs — truly amazing and delicious.

  9. Jean says:

    p.s. Mike Adams sells organic Palm sugar which I believe he wrote about as a low glycemic and delicious sweetner. Haven’t tried that yet either.

  10. sheryl says:

    Tried Agave for a few months and like you said I was buzzing. When I stopped using it I was alot more at Peace.

  11. Ray Deckert says:

    Hello Kevin and Ann Marie – I don`t use Agave because of the high fructose. As for next week, please talk about stretching. One of my chropractic brothers thinks it is not so good as it tends to weaken the stretched muscle. I`ve always thought that it helped to prevent injury by lengthening the muscle. That is, a shortened or tight muscle is more prone to tearing etc. Thanks!

  12. Ineke says:

    I have may be owned three bottles of agave but like any sweetener I have always used it sparingly. After the bad publicity I have thrown half of the last bottle in the garbage. I don’t know if that was going over board but I just didn’t feel comfortable with it anymore. So I won’t be doing an “agave test”. My sweeteners of choice are fruit, maple syrup, stevia and for the odd time I bake, I use sucanat. Speaking of sweeteners; next week I”ll be making crab apple jelly. Every recipe out there calls for sugar to make it gel. Do you may be know of an alternative that would produce the same results. This will be a cooked recipe. Thanks.

  13. Sarah says:

    I’ve never had any sort of reaction to agave nectar-ever. No buzz or jitters or anything. Perhaps like everything, some people are more prone to adverse reactions than others. I am allergic to a lot of foods-for instance, honey makes my tongue swell up to the point where I can’t even breathe. Honey is bee barf, and with a large percentage of commercial honey production, the bees don’t even get to keep it-they get sugar water instead. If the bees are getting sugar water, the quality of the honey is sure to go downhill and what about the fate of the honeybee? Consuming highly processes sugar water has got to make an impact on their health…and like all animal agriculture (yes, bees are members of the animal kingdom), whatever the animal consumes, you are going to consume as well when you eventually consume it. You are going to get all the hormones, steroids, antibiotics and whatever else they are giving them, at an exponential rate much higher than if you had consumed these things firsthand…

  14. Naomi says:

    famous enough 🙂
    thanks for keeping it real.

  15. Cindy in Marin says:

    Don’t really use Agave any more because of the bad publicity but recently discoved maple syrup and while not raw, omg it is so good.

    Wanted to say how much I enjoyed the fasting series and especially the Kristina interviews. I would love to hear a follow up about her in a couple of months.

  16. Tamikko says:

    I used Agave for the first time a year ago, last summer. I thought it was ok, but preferred honey. I have not used it since the news broke and I’ll never use it again. I still have the half a bottle and really need to get rid of it.

  17. briannaG says:

    I haven’t had agave since I first started hearing about adverse side effects last year!

    lol, the guy at the end is priceless. You guys are famous in my world, for sure!

  18. Sarah says:

    Check this out:

    (yes it is from an agave nectar company, and they of course are going to defend agave, but read it anyway-you might actually learn something…)

  19. Delma says:

    I rarely use sweeters.
    How is maple syrup more natural than agave?

  20. Hello… I have never had Agave, just a little honey. Just wanted you guys to know that you are FAMOUS!!!!! I love you guys any way:) Kirsten

  21. Nancy says:

    I love Agave and don’t really use a lot, but when I do, I use Volcanic Agave. It’s a lower glycemic agaave. I use honey in my tea. Do you guys not use honey either?

  22. Ellen says:

    I had a very bad experience with Agave in January. I was picking up cookies from my local Organic Restaurant where I also picked up lunch y and to make a long story short I started getting pains in my liver area and then it affected my pancreas, gallbladder and spleen. I was in the house for a month. My holistic doctor said that the agave poisoned me. The organic restaurant used it in all their cooking, vegetables, rice, etc. I had an overdose. It sent my blood sugar thru the roof. I then did a lot of research and found that for people who are sensitive to fluctuations in their blood sugar it is worse than high fructose corn syrup.

  23. Kay says:

    RAW agave! There is a huge difference between raw agave and heated— Heated agave is “pure sugar”..The enzymes and minerals r completely destroyed -so all u r consuming is pure sugar. Raw agave is the blessing ! Has all the minerals -and enzymes. These minerals actually help balance your blood sugar. Just like sucanat — the raw sugar cane has great minerals although take this pure, raw sugar cane and heat it -strip it and u have pure white sugar. Are u testing RAW agave or Heated agave?? that’s the question. Remember the Bible says too much honey -will make you vommit– so too much of anything is not good. .Even too much raw honey,.

  24. I can’t remember the last time I had agave. At least six months ago. And even then, I used it sparingly. I mostly use fruits to sweeten my recipes. I will choose honey or maple syrup over agave any day.

    And by the way, I think you’re famous. 🙂

  25. Guys, there’s a high likelihood that it’s fructose malabsorption. My family is all celiac, genetically and antibody-wise. I am also a holistic nutritionist. My prior training was foundation design and engineering, so I am very science based and believe in validating suspicions with tests whenever possible. So I had us all hydrogen breath tested for fructose malabsorption (you can also do lactose and they can check H. Pylori infection and SBO). We were all swollen up and painful and crampy and off the charts! As agave has such a high fructose contect, I would not be surprised if it was contributing to your reaction. Aside from that, my husband and I met you in White Plains, NY, ages ago, but we recently moved to Boquete Panama and I will be the nutritionist at an alternative cancer center here starting next year. If you’re back in Central America, come by for a stay!

  26. Veronika says:

    Agave makes me jittery and gives me an anxious uncomfortable feeling, like a bad caffeine trip or something, with less of the high and more of the nervous discomfort.

    And yes, I loved the series on water fasting!

  27. Sarah says:

    When replacing agave with stevia, how much do you substitute?

  28. Roberta McMillian says:

    Tried agave once years ago, ended up giving it to a friend that used it. Did not agree with me. She was using it instead of sugar, so for her it was a step up.

    Kevin and Annmarie, thank you for the series on water fasting. It just so reminded me of how important it is to listen to wisdom of our own body because it is so smart if we listen. You two are important teachers in your field right now, so you are just a little bit famous. I like that you just keep learning and growing,and don’t get stuck in just one way of thinking. I learn and get inspired by the two of you! Thank you so much! Love and blessings.

  29. andrew says:

    Agave gave me bad health –

    trying homemade stevia grown fresh instead – greens and sweet tasting in one go!

  30. Tiff says:

    YAY I’m excited for exercise week, I love exercise!! WOO HOO

    Ya, that happened to me with the agave. I had never had agave before thankfully because of your shows—and it’s just logical—but one time I went up to NYC and was too tempted by these One Lucky Duck chocolate macaroons. I bought and ate the WHOLE BAG, easily. I felt awful. Didn’t mean to do the agave test, but yeah that was definitely a corroborating response for me too.

  31. Carol says:

    Between your posts on the agave reaction and the difficulty with doing the stairs workout, it seems to me that you might not have waited enough for your body to recover from the water fast. Even if you are feeling great, 5 days water fast must take some time for your body to recover enough to handle things like agave and intense workouts. Just a thought.

  32. Jasmine says:

    What do you suggest I do when I’ve come down with a bout of food poisoning? I can’t really keep anything down, but i’m so dehydrated. thx

  33. Maggie says:

    The only sweetener I can use without side effects is Stevia. I tried Agave thinking it might not give me the jitters but, nope, it was as bad as regular sugar or even honey. I’m hypoglycemic and very sensitive to the effects of sweets. Even certain fruits make me feel bad (i.e. grapes, watermelon). Only when I’ve eaten a full meal can I tolerate sweets without feeling too badly.

  34. Leam says:

    Look forward to the coming week of exercise!

    Tried the spicy asian almond butter dressing – it was so good! Thanks

  35. Dejana says:

    I used to eat agave in raw chocolate but after a while saw that it upsets my stomach, kinda feels funny. I don’t take it anymore, but from time to time have raw chocolate, because all raw chocolates in UK still use only agave for sweetener, except one.

  36. john says:

    You both are so natural and if you do not know the answer you are honest and say you do not know the answer, a rare find in eminent talk show hosting. You both have excellent admiration for one another,I like that. Where one fails to forget the other is their to support and vice versa, I like that also -great chemistry. About 6 months ago I had put agave on sour apples and oat meal, no problem. Except if I start getting physically active shortly afterwards I get a lot of build up of stomach gas,and stomach pains.

  37. Jasmine says:


    I’m on the body ecology diet trying to rid myself of candida. I came down with food poisoning last night and I’m wondering what I should eat. I am really craving apples but not much else. I’m still on stage one so apples aren’t allowed.

    What do you suggest?

  38. I do not like the way I feel after eating agave-sweetened foods or large amounts of sweet fruits and fruit juices. To sweeten a green smoothie or dessert item, I just use a few drops of flavored liquid stevia. This prevents the sugar headaches, low energy, and intense thirst I get from eating sugary foods.

  39. hyesun says:

    i stopped doing agave after i started reading about how it was so high in fructose, sort of like high fructose corn syrup. and how processed it is. i wish people would stop thinking that it’s healthy. most of the organic raw food bars and so called “healthy” snack/desserts use agave so i’ve stopped buying those too. i use honey or stevia or organic erythritol. but i’m not sure about the erythritol. does anyone use that, and what do you think about it?

  40. Susan says:

    There is a huge difference in the different agave products on the market. There are is good agave that is raw. I use it in desserts, which I eat sparingly. I do not have a reaction. One of the beauties of agave is that you need so much less to sweeten something than if you were using dates, etc.

    I recently saw a raw chocolate cake recipe that called for 2 cups of dates. Dates are extremely high in sugars. 2 cups is a huge amount! That same cake could be sweetened with only 1/4 cup of agave.

    Personally, I have found Xagave to be the best on the market. They have extremely high standards, produce a pure, organic product and have a high ethical standard.

    Not everyone can eat everything. Everyone should see what works for them. And all sweeteners should be used in moderation.

  41. Julie says:

    I haven’t done an agave test as you’ve described yet, but now I plan to. I haven’t bought agave syrup, but I have bought the occasional raw cacao bar with it in it, and a frozen dessert that has agave in it. I don’t consume high amounts of agave, I mostly have fruits, dried fruits and recipes with small amounts of raw honey in it or stevia when I crave something sweet.

    Kevin, at a store this week I found an interesting product that I’d like your opinion on. It’s by a company called Coconut Secret. They make a raw, organic sweetener from coconut tree sap. They also make an aminos product and a vinegar. Could you check into them and let us know in an episode what you think?

    Thanks for all you do, Kevin and Annmarie. You two rock!

  42. Ann Marie Huntington says:

    You 2 r sooooo famous!!!!

    Jasmine, try some cilantro and parsley for your food poisoning….

    Peace out, Annie

  43. Kiyoshi says:

    What can I say? I don’t really have any immediate reactions to Agave but I try to stick to raw. No jitters or discomfort or any of what you’ve identified. I don’t use it regularly and if I do it’s in small amounts. I am looking into getting some blood testing done so I feel that will tell all.

    To Ashleigh: The R.I.C.E. Method is very old school and promoted by folks who haven’t learned any other method. Swelling is a natural reaction by the body attempting to heal itself. However there are issues with it. The proteins and other waste products can become trapped in the effected area and cause issues. A good technique to use is called light brushing. In the case of a sprained ankle, immediately when it happens place your leg across the opposite one with the ankle in reach. Gently stretch the ankle a bit inward with the opposite hand from the hurt ankle. Hold in place and lightly stoke the area upwards towards the knee. This will help increase circulation for blood and lymph. It also helps to flush any toxins that might normally build up.

  44. jim6263 says:

    Excellent blog, Y’all…

    Key words (i.m.exp.): RAW (agave or whatever) and ORGANIC (as is “truly” organic); also pure H20.

    To: “Jasmine
    8:38 p.m. on August 21st, 2010”

    I’ve been detoxing (mostly raw, and mostly vegan) for @2 yrs and what worked for me (ditto re: flu) — (AFTER I’d already re-gained healthy levels of good gut bacteria by taking 60 Billion CFUs of (good, refrig’d; keeps the CFUs up) Probiotics dialy for @2~3 wks straight (and lots of natural fiber). I’m 67 and had done too many antibiotics, buko sugar, caffeine, asprtame (GD poison!), and white flour for decades — all of which are also one cause of IBS, b.t.w.) — was take @60Bil CFUs of Probitoics + 1 qt of Organic veggie broth (2 large glasses; it was pkg’d, not homemade). The next morning I felt great. Go figure. I’m not an M.D. but — i.m.exp. — I will do the above again anytime I feel the need vs. taking some chemical O.T.C. crap… and/or most meds, f.t.m.! I’d heard (from an alt. med nutritionist), that taking a gelatin cap of ground cloves cures more forms of dysentary (Giardia, e.g.). So, I tried it (one has to make/fill the caps). But this apparently is also true, as I tried it. One wants to have Organic cloves, of course. And I avoid ALL G.M.O. foods. DEMAND ‘they’ require Labeling on this crap!!

    My 4 ¢…

    Health, y’all!

  45. mileena says:

    Thanks for the info on agave. I like it but I don’t use it that much. If I have to sweeten something I prefer maple syrup.

    I’m so excited about your Manitoba series! I live in Winnipeg and grew up in Northern Manitoba. We used to forage for mushrooms and berries when I was a kid but thats about it. I’m excited to see what you found. I wish I would have known you were coming though.

  46. Josephinesped says:

    Ashleigh, I studied under the international lymphology president and he says swelling is like a temporary ace bandage–good for when you have to keep running from or to something. Otherwise, stop the swelling, since it inhibits circulation and will thereby inhibit healing and encourage infections/scarring. Inhibit with cold-but not icy-and plenty of pressure, like a tight ace bandage, and elevate the injury. Once the swelling is arrested, some warmth helps circulation, including warm-then-cool applications.
    Any of the fruity syrups bother me. Fructose raises the LDL bad cholesterol, though I can eat raw fruit and be OK as long as I exercise well several times a week. Being in a heated syrup without fiber, it really gets bad. Cane and beet sugars are better for me if heat is applied.

  47. Lucy says:

    I have severe ME and am super sensitive to any kind of sweet stuff, even fruit. My fault as I used to binge on sugar so much that my body had enough! And yes the last time I had agave I felt all the symptoms people described- very jittery, headache, on a high, and then I had a hangover! Who needs alcohol when I just need a tiny drop of agave to get me high?!… I joke I will certainly not be putting my body through that again.

  48. stephanie says:

    Candida under control…withing 2 days of eating agave (first time i bought it) and I had yeast screaming at me! I am not a fan of agave, it’s in plastic bottles, it’s totally processed (most accessible) and it’s SUGAR not likely grown anywhere locally to where I live. NO NEED FOR it here!

    Thanks hero and shero kevin and ann marie 🙂

  49. Angela says:

    Loved the 8 part water fast videos! Thanks for doing them, I know it was trying and yet a growing experience for you. My question for both you and Ann Marie is if you felt or know of any different it made for you guys. You both are already healthy and I was just wondering what you thought may have improved. Thanks guys

  50. violet says:

    i thought the whole point of agave is that it’s low glycemic, meaning no sugar reaction. i don’t eat much, and i haven’t noticed a reaction, whereas i have a huge reaction from a small amount of sugar or maple syrup. Confused!

  51. Agave doesn’t give me the jitters or upset my stomach but I stopped using it because of all the controversy.

    What sweetener do you recommend? Do lucuma powder and yacon syrup have the same issues has agave? What about raw agave? I don’t like stevia at all, tastes like saccharin to me! So, I stick with raw honey but would like to branch out a bit.

  52. Connie says:

    No, I have never tried agave. I am so glad you warned me about it before I went out and wasted money on it!

    Hey, who says you’re not famous? 😉


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