Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Why not just use agave?

I heard this question a lot when I was blogging regularly about avoiding sugar. I would often note that I had left out agave in a recipe and people would ask me why. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I just felt like sweetening it with something else kinda defeated the purpose of weaning myself off sugar. However it wasn't until recently that I found an even better explanation.

If you believe the hype, then you probably agree that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) should be avoided. Personally this is what I believe. Now let's take a look at a pro HFCS website:  "High fructose corn syrup is basically the same as sugar—both in terms of composition and in the number of calories they contain." So at it's best, HFCS is just like sugar.

Okay now why are we talking about HFCS again? Oh that's right, because we all agree it's the bad guy. Well, I found a pro agave website (a company that sells the stuff) which states: "...Wholesome's Blue Agave is 75% fructose..." which is typical for agave. The same site also states: "...commercial fructose corn syrups contain either 42% or 55% fructose by weight." Now it also says a bunch of other stuff so feel free to read it for yourself, but I wanted to find biased sites that would put their product in the best light to confirm what I read on this site:

"Because of this concern about the elevated levels of fructose in HFCS, some health food stores will not carry any product that has HFCS in it. Yet on the other hand, they carry a full line of agave syrup products on their shelf and carry many products sweetened with agave syrup. But realize agave syrup has a fructose content of about 70-90% which is way higher (worse) than HFCS.

On the one hand, consumers, especially the health conscious, are avoiding HFCS like the plague because the level of fructose in it is higher (55%) than in regular table sugar/sucrose (50%). They consider the higher level of fructose a problem. The fact that is has a lower GI than table sugar is ignored."

Get where I'm going? If I'm avoiding sugar, and of course I'm avoiding HFCS, then I should definitely avoid agave too! The site linked above has tons of of other info, I found just poking around Facebook one day. I don't need that much convincing but check it out if you do, it's pretty good and seems legit.

So now what? Honey? Stevia? What it boils down to, for me at least, is moderation. I've loosened up the reigns on my sugar ban but only to the point that I'm not being ridiculous and going to extreme lengths to avoid it (and its sweet sisters like agave and honey). And of course I still indulge once in a while when the opportunity presents itself. 

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