America is slowly becoming more educated about health, dieting and exercise. More people are moving away from processed and sugar laden foods and buying more organic and natural foods. Sugar, an ingredient that is found in the majority of our sweet-tooth cravings, is one of the things we think we must omit to stay on the path of a healthier diet. So naturally, we look for sugar alternatives. One of the products that is advertised and marketed as a “natural alternative” to sugar is agave nectar. We think seeing: “No Sugar added!” on products means we have found a way to still satisfy our sweet cravings without the effects of sugar. Well… We are wrong. The variety of agave nectar that we buy in the grocery store are far from natural. They have been processed and refined and have the same effects as sugar.
Agave Nectar is a form of syrup which is used as a sweetener. It is derived from the Agave plant, the same plant from which tequila is made. The “honey water” from the core of the agave plant is used to flavor foods and drinks. Agave nectar’s it is found in many “healthy” items such as granola bars, health bars and drinks, which leads consumers to think this will solve their sugar problems. We believe it is healthier for us because we think it is unprocessed, but in fact it is. The Agave Nectar is heated to varying degrees, changing its anatomy, which results in a processed product that is different from its original state. Therefore, the level of fructose in the nectar has changed. Like other high fructose sweeteners, agave can raise your blood sugar levels which raises fat storage and cholesterol.
At the end of the day, sugar is sugar. Whether you are putting sugar in your coffee or agave in your tea you are still subjecting your body to the effects of sugar. Next time you go to the supermarket and you see a label that says “No Sugar added” or “Unprocessed” make sure you read the ingredients. For all you know, you aren’t doing yourself any good.