agave

The Truth About Agave 0

adios agave.jpg

Agave is often touted as a super healthy alternative to sugar. We have been told over and over again that it is raw, all natural, does not contain glucose, does not spike blood sugar, and so on… however, these claims are not necessarily true.

Agave nectar is indeed made from the agave plant… but not the actual nectar. Agave “nectar” is actually made from the starchy root of the plant. It is combined with inulin, a complex carbohydrate comprised of chains of fructose molecules through a highly chemical process. By the time we consume this “nectar” it is in the form of a highly indigestible fiber. Furthermore, it contains 70% (or higher) fructose. To put this in perspective, high fructose corn syrup (also not on the “healthy sweeteners” list) only contains 55%.

Why is fructose frowned upon? Fructose in moderation, and in it’s natural form (i.e. fruit) is not the issue. The problem is when it’s ingested in high quantities. Fructose is metabolized for energy by the body and stored as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. When your ATP levels are high excess fructose will be converted into fat and stored by your tissues for future use. In our society, we rarely need to call upon these fat reserves, as new calories are constantly being ingested, stored as energy, etc. Not only is fructose stored as fat, an abundance of fructose can be very damaging to the heart and liver.

In short, agave syrup is highly refined, highly concentrated, and highly unnatural. Don’t fret! There are many healthy alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth. Opt for coconut nectar, palm sugar, or stevia in place of agave. Your body will thank you.

The Not So Sweet Side of Sugar 0

 sugar 1

 MmmmmmSUGAR! It seems to make life so sweet… or does it? We all know that though sugar may taste delicious, it can have a negative impact on our health. Sugar can increase cholesterol, contribute to diabetes, weaken eyesight, cause cardiovascular disease, contribute to osteoporosis, interfere with protein absorption, and fuel the growth of cancer, but did you know that it can also wreak havoc on your skin? When simple sugar molecules such as glucose, or fructose attach to fats and proteins rogue molecules begin to form. This process is known as glycation. Glycation causes the onset of wrinkles, can make your skin brittle and inflamed, and destroys both collagen and elastin.

How can you have your cake and eat it too? There is no need to cut out sugar completely. Sugar naturally occurs in many healthy foods such as fruit. There are also healthy and natural substitutes such as stevia. Honey and agave are other great substitutes as they have a lower glycemic index than sugar. Just remember to steer clear of those nasty chemical substitutes. They don’t come without a price and are accompanied by a whole new slew of health problems.

Another way to fight the glycation process is by upping your intake of antioxidants. Filling up on green tea, berries, and spinach are good ways to keep the nasty side effects of sugar at bay and help protect your skin.

Just remember… 

sugar 2