Stop Everything: Turns Out Agave Is Not That Good For You
You’ll never see skinny margaritas the same way again.
Do you remember that episode of How I Met Your Mother (early season, when it was still acceptable—we think—to admit you watched it every Thursday), when the friends’ illusions about one another’s idiosyncrasies are completely shattered? That’s precisely what happened when we started reading up on agave. The more Googling we did, the more we realized it’s not quite the health-industry touted miracle sweetner to be used as our healthy alternative to dessert (or in, like, everything). *Sound of glass shattering* In fact, it’s even worse for you than regular sugar. So, we’ve conveniently compiled all of our findings into an easy and digestible game of two truths, and a whole lot of lies.
Agave nectar (also known as, syrup) comes from an agave plant. Check. [Ed note: keep reading]
It’s low on the glycemic index:
You’re probably thinking, WTF is the glycemic index? It’s the potential of food to cause rapid spikes in your blood sugar—think sugar crashes. Not good. The lower on the index, the longer it takes your body to metabolize and sustain the energy—this is a good thing! Agave sits low on the scale as it’s low in glucose but high in fructose (the sugar you find in fresh fruit).
It’s full of chemicals:
Technically, agave syrup is extracted from the agave plant—this much is true. But unlike the natural process of tapping and heating the sap of a maple tree (to get maple syrup), creating liquid agave requires a chemical process to create the sticky liquid. [A whole lot of scientific mumbo jumbo—genetically modified enzymes, clarifiers, caustic acids, filtration chemicals, et cetera—about how it’s actually made here] and you’re left with a sweetener that’s super refined. In conclusion: agave is full of over a dozen chemicals and more refined than table sugar.
It’s high in fructose:
Fructose is a bad, evil word. And agave has more of it than high fructose corn syrup (which as you might know, is just about the evilest of sweeteners). High and consistent intake of fructose can cause a whole slew of health problems like insulin resistance (which in turn can potentially lead to diabetes), converts more rapidly into fat, can cause heart disease, and throws the release of the hormone leptin (can we elaborate on what this is?) off kilter. YIKES.
In conclusion: There is no biological need for extra sweeteners, so why fill your body with it? Instead, go for some good, clean, delicious fruits.