31 Responses

  1. Faith
    Faith December 15, 2011 at 7:30 am | | Reply

    Thanks for a great article! My dad has been trying to push this on me for a long time, and my research has turned up much of the same things!

  2. Jen
    Jen December 15, 2011 at 7:58 am | | Reply

    My experience with Agave nectar has put me off of it completely. I started using it a couple of years ago–I was thrilled that I could bake with it and it didn’t seem to spike my husband’s blood sugar (I don’t care for the taste of Splenda or any of the other chemical sweeteners.) So what was the problem? I gained belly fat–and quickly. The agave was the only thing in my diet that had changed: exercise and everything else stayed the same.

    I started doing some reading and came to the conclusion that it is as bad, if not worse than, HFCS. I stopped using it, and the belly fat did come off. I pitched what we had left, which was painful because that stuff is expensive.

  3. Chris
    Chris December 15, 2011 at 8:16 am | | Reply

    I still use locally produced honey for recipes along with stuff like mashed bananas and apples. They work great. For my sports drinks, stevia does the job. Great article BTW!

  4. Sally
    Sally December 15, 2011 at 9:08 am | | Reply

    I’ve tried here. Here in Texas, Agave is pretty common. A lot of my friends have been after me to swap to it. My research really hasn’t impressed me. Sugar is sugar, regardless of the source. It hasn’t been the first time the “healthier alternative” has wound up being the opposite.

    Eating in moderation? All around win.

  5. kim
    kim December 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm | | Reply

    normally i don’t use any sweetener. i tried stevia, and it is tooo bitter for my taste. if i need to sweeten my tea or coffee, i will just use regular sugar and include it as part of my meal and bolus for it.

  6. Stead
    Stead December 15, 2011 at 12:11 pm | | Reply

    Great article. Very interesting.

  7. Khürt Williams
    Khürt Williams December 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm | | Reply

    “If you ferment the blue agave plant, it actually turns into tequila ”

    Actually it turns into mescal. Tequila is mescal that comes from the city of Tequila in western Mexican state of Jalisco.

    I’ve know about the sugary nature of agave nectar/syrup for quite some time. I simply read the lablel.

    “It’s almost all fructose, which is just highly processed sugar with great marketing,”

    Quite right!!!

  8. Hannah McD
    Hannah McD December 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm | | Reply

    My very dear friend gags at the mere mention of artificial sweeteners and will practically gag if she’s found out she just consumed something that might have a trace of it. While she doesn’t judge me, she does look a bit uncomfortable if I drink diet Coke around her.

    She’s been dieting recently on a plan that calls for no refined sugars at all, but she’ll still put agave in things now and then. She will cook with maple syrup (the real stuff) and has recently purchased palm sugar and date sugar. When I look at any of the nutrition ingredients, all I see are carbs. Carbs carbs carbs.

    I don’t know what to do about making things sweet anymore. I tried to get some sugar that’s organic, not bleachy white, and isn’t supposed to be totally refined, but you never know. Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it’s great for you. *chomps on organic tortilla chips just to make a point*

  9. Natalie
    Natalie December 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm | | Reply

    At the AADE convention in Las Vegas last August, I attended 2 different presentations about diet, and specifically, sugars. One thing that BOTH presenters were very definite about is that processed fructose is bad for EVERYONE, not just diabetics. There is no cell in the body that uses fructose for fuel, so the liver converts it ALL to triglycerides and VLDL, and that means one thing — FAT. Even excess glucose (like when your BG is high) gets converted into triglycerides and VLDL. This effect on triglycerides has been confirmed by papers on heart disease, which something we are prone to, as diabetics, anyway (sorry for not having the cites). Agave syrup is absolutely the WORST thing we could put in our bodies — ANY artificial sweetener is better. And sucrose is no different from high-fructose corn syrup — they’re both about 50-50 glucose and fructose. So it looks to me like artificial sweeteners, which by now, have been in use for MANY years, are safer than fructose or sucrose. In Canada, cyclamates NEVER became illegal, and they have been in use for more than 50 years, and there are STILL no reports of ill effects. It’s time to stop the hysteria over sweeteners and pay attention to the scientific evidence.

  10. Jessica Apple
    Jessica Apple December 16, 2011 at 2:47 am | | Reply

    Agave is really not healthy. I took me too long to figure that out. Thanks for the post.

  11. Diabetic Survival Kit
    Diabetic Survival Kit December 16, 2011 at 3:03 am | | Reply

    People need to read labels and rely on good solid evidence before eating anything. You commented about the safety of stevia. How long has it been out and are there any studies showing it is better than the others that have been available for many years?

  12. Doug
    Doug December 16, 2011 at 7:26 am | | Reply

    In an attempt to lower the quantity of declarative over reactions here…

    I’ll add that if you like margaritas, and have had BG problems from them. My experience is that tequila, agave nectar and lime juice over ice makes a tasty margarita that doesnt spike my BG nearly as much as others. Milagro tequila is giving away a bottle of nectar in gift packs with their silver tequila.

    As far as belly fat or conversion to lipids, I found 25 years ago in my first T1 diet class that ANYTHING that tastes good is not good for you, if its low sugar its high fat, or high sodium and vice versa.

    So everything in moderation ….

    ( I know that alcohol is bad…. Im a sinner with a 20+ year record of a1cs under 7 )

    I’m LOLing that ” Agave syrup is absolutely the WORST thing we could put in our bodies ” really ? LOL Wow…

  13. CJ
    CJ December 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm | | Reply

    I am curious how fructose from fruit is “perfectly fine” but fructose from corn syrup and agave nectar converts to triglycerides. Isn’t the fructose in both chemically the same or is there a difference? If anyone has an explaination I am quite interested.

    Also, I find xylitol (Xyla) to be a great tasting sweetener with minimal effects on my blood sugar. The only side effect that I have seen is that it can cause intestinal discomfort when eaten in larger quantities (I haven’t experienced this yet). The label on xyla says its “safe for diabetics since it is metabolized independently of insulin” however a book I read says sugar alcohols do affect blood sugar, just not as much as sugar. Does anyone know a good source that can accurately clarify this?

    I find that in general, I am constantly running into conflicting information when it come to diabetes and food that are safe/not safe and low/high glycemic load.

  14. Natalie
    Natalie December 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm | | Reply

    CJ, the scientists that I heard at the AADE specifically noted that there is no evidence one way or the other about the fructose in fruit. But fruit has other nutritional benefits, whereas agave syrup has none.

    And, Doug, yes, I misstated when I said agave syrup was the worst thing we could put in our bodies. What I was thinking was that agave syrup is the worst SWEETENER we could put in our bodies, but what the mind thinks and what the fingers type can be 2 different things, especially when you’re a fast typist, LOL!!

  15. rita NJ
    rita NJ December 17, 2011 at 8:24 am | | Reply

    I use Agave and have for almost a year. I can’t use artifical sweeteners because of the affects they cause. Iused them for years and had sever IBS from the use. I find Agave works for me. The taste is pleasant, I use only a quarter of a teaspoon in tea and it has helped curb my IBS symptoms. I can’t say it is healthy but it beats a full teaspoon of sugar and lets face it, any overindulgence in anything isn’t good. OH! and my fasting sugar is 101 so I am fine.

  16. CJ
    CJ December 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm | | Reply

    Keep in mind that triglycerides are stored and can then be broken down for energy later. It seems that someone who eats a healthy diet that’s low fat and low sugar with a modest amount of agave syrup (or any fructose for that matter), and exercises regularly is at a pretty low risk of becoming obese and developing complications. I am still confused why fructose in fruit is okay? All the research I find discusses high fructose corn syrup, soda, and fruit juice but never mentions fruit. Perhaps its the fiber in fruit that helps, or perhaps no one wants to make the claim that to much fruit can be unhealthy??

  17. CJ
    CJ December 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm | | Reply

    Although fructose, as well as other sugars are converted to triglycerides, they are stored as energy and can be used/burned later (via exercise). So someone who eats a healthy low fat and sugar diet, eats modest amount of agave (or any form of fructose for that matter), and excercises regularley should have a low risk of obesity and other ill health effects. I still can’t figure out why fructose from fruit is okay. All the studies I see reference high fructose corn syrup and sucrose. Perhaps the fiber in fruit helps, or no one wants to make the claim that fruit is unhealthful?

  18. Dave
    Dave December 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm | | Reply

    I’ll just stick with Splenda, thanks. Great article and drives home the point that for people trying to avoid sugar there are many pitfalls to be avoided as well.

  19. Judy
    Judy December 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm | | Reply

    Very interesting article

  20. eve
    eve December 21, 2011 at 7:09 pm | | Reply

    I try to avoid using agave. I don’t give my son any artificial sweeteners. I use small amounts of organic maple syrup, raw honey, bananas or unsweetened applesauce.

  21. Amy
    Amy December 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm | | Reply

    I think people make way too much about artificial sweetners. When I was first diagnosed in 1982 as a child, Tab was the best thing ever created to me. I have since drank diet sodas and use Splenda in tea. Have great a1c’ s and perfect (per my MD) cholesterol, triglycerides, and all other levels. It’s all about moderation and not sweating the small stuff.

  22. Dana
    Dana December 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm | | Reply

    I have never tried it and after reading this I have no interest in trying it. I have a “diet coke addiction” I am trying to break and really trying to get away from so many artificial sweeteners in general.

  23. Toshiko
    Toshiko December 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm | | Reply

    I’m glad to see all this info!

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  27. Richard
    Richard November 13, 2012 at 4:54 am | | Reply

    I see it’s nearly a year since anyone has added any comments to this thread. I just found it while researching agave/diabetes. I am a type 2.
    In any case, here’s my take.
    I, too, thought that agave would be a good solution for my sweet tooth. But I am lucky to have a sister who is a RN and works with nutrition plus the daughter of a friend who is a doctor in nutrition. Both assured me that agave is NOT a sensible replacement/substitute/alternative to sugar. Just another bad idea.
    I am a retired chef living in Spain. And I like to bake.
    Last year, the EC finally authorized the commercialization of stevia. (Thanks to the sugar-lobby for trying to block it on the market and once again screw with our health. Not sure where the FDA is on this.) I now use pure stevia in powder form to bake/cook with and the results are more than satisfactory.
    You do have to be careful about the plethora of “stevia sweeteners” on the market now and read the ingredients, though. Most have other things added.

  28. Ophiolog
    Ophiolog April 5, 2013 at 10:47 pm | | Reply

    Of all the places to find misinformation about agave syrup, I would thought that a site devoted to those with diabetes would have their facts straight, but apparently it does not.

    Let’s start with the content of fructose. Dr. Ingrid Kohlstatd is wrong in claiming that agave syrup is “almost all fructose”, as you are in claiming that it’s 90% fructose. If was 90% fructose, it could hardly be poured. It actually contains around 50% to 70% fructose and about 19% water or moisture, along with a little over 3% to 11% glucose, depending on the individual syrup.

    Because agave syrup is 1.4 to 1.6 times sweeter than regular sugar, it takes much less to sweeten. As others have found, it takes about half a teaspoonful to sweeten coffee or tea in place of a full teaspoonful of regular sugar. That means you are consuming way less glucose.

    Insulin resistance? Go through the human studies on fructose and you’ll find that no insulin resistance is found at up to 120 g of fructose/day, which is way more than one would consume.

    Triglycerides? Yes, but you would have to consume at least 60 grams of fructose each day and at least 100 g/day to see the slightest increase in fasting levels if you were not diabetic. Even 60 g/day is more than the mean level of fructose consumption in the U.S. at 49 g/day.

    As for the study you cite in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2009 that “states that fructose-sweetened beverages can cause weight gain and insulin resistance” is one of the most absurd ever conducted. Look at the study and you’ll see they had overweight and obese adults drink 250 g of fructose each day! That’s about 5 times the mean intake in the U.S. and more than anyone ever consumes.

    And the Weston A. Price Foundation? Practically every claim they make about agave syrup is either completely wrong or exaggerated, and that goes for the claims of Dr. Mercola. For a start, agave syrup is not made from starch in the plants and never was and the process is not similar to that used in making HFCS, which is a “chemical and enzymatic process”. By repeating their claims, you have unwittingly participated in a propaganda war.

  29. Maggi
    Maggi June 13, 2013 at 11:07 am | | Reply

    I must agree with the last comment. This is an unjustifed war against agave. People tends to forget that our body needs sugars in order to function. sugars give us energy and cannot cut them out of our diet completely.
    I experienced in my body the bad effects of HFCS, it really raised my cholesterol and tryglicerids levels. It also gave me a cavity, which I never have had in my entire life. Also, I gained weight and it was very hard to loose those extra pounds I gained. I swichted to Agave about 3 years ago, and my cholesterol level lowered, triglycerids as well.
    I have been working out and eating less carbs, and it has turned out fine. I use agave every single day and my viceral fat has lowered.
    I do not think it is the same as HFCS. Yes it is fructose, but I guess that everyone forgets to work out, drink water, and eat the necessary amounts of food. We all need sugars, either they come in the form of fruit or Agave. Also, it is not true that they use chemicals to process it . If they did, most of Agave brands couldn´t be labeled as organic.

    I think the best is to try it out and find for your self if it works for your body or not. It worked for mine!

  30. Melanie
    Melanie October 31, 2013 at 10:30 am | | Reply

    I’m a type 1 diabetic and was looking for a straight up answer about agave if it raises blood sugar or not. I’d like to say that it would be great if everyone could stop using acronyms on here….half the things you are saying is in acronyms that most don’t understand. Thanks

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