Hi there: Recently I had the chance to visit with some friends. One of the conversations that came up had to with a new supplement they had tried and were raving about. The supplement was agave nectar.
Maybe you’ve heard of this before and perhaps even tried it. For a while there everyone was getting pretty caught up in trying to reduce their consumption of refined sugar and were making the switch to ‘natural sweeteners’.
So along comes agave nectar with its claims to be a better choice for diabetics, have anti-inflammatory properties and may even be good for your immune system.
But here’s the ugly truth.
This stuff may use the name of ‘nectar’ and make you think of it as a juice but is more similar to a syrup. And the sugar contained within it has the same impact on your cells, metabolism and fat burning as regular table sugar does.
Actually I take that back. Regular table sugar has about 50% fructose in it whereas agave nectar is about 90% fructose.
So what’s the big deal with fructose?
Well when you feed animals a lot of fructose they develop fatty livers. And as we see our consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) continue to climb there appears to be a link to this and more cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
But fructose is the sugar in fruit, so are you saying to limit or even stop eating fruit?
No, not at all. And here’s why.
First of all the fructose in HFCS and agave nectar has a slightly different chemical make up than the fructose found in fruit. One is the D isomer and the other L. Huh? Don’t worry about it. Just know that structurally they differ.
Secondly, real fruit also has other benefits such as the vitamin, mineral, fibre and hydration that comes with eating a piece.
Lastly, the fructose in fruit is normally not free but bound to other substances as compared to the fructose in HFCS and agave nectar which is free and not bound anything else. This affects how quickly and it what ways it is absorbed, digested and metabolized.
So why would they say this is a good product for diabetics?
I guess part of the reason is that because it doesn’t have the same impact on insulin it can be considered beneficial for those concerned with their insulin levels. The trade-off however is all this extra fructose is converted to fat stored by the liver. The best option is be aware of the consumption of all sugars.
Kind of like ‘one step forward, two steps back’. But maybe worse because many simply see this option as a step forward and so ignorantly continue repeating it.
Oh I almost forgot to tie in the subject line ‘Wonder Juice Ta-kill-ya’.
Some of you probably already picked up on this this. The nectar we have been talking about comes from the same plant that is used to make tequila. And we should know to stay away from anything that makes us feel like drinking tequila does.
In the comments below let know if you’ve tried agave nectar and your thoughts on fructose. Or maybe you have a better story involving tequila. I’ve got one involving a stag, tequila shots and a trampoline but someone else will have to get the ball rolling first.
Chris okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’