In recent years, agave sweetener made with agave nectar has become a popular substitute for sugar. Processed in Mexico, agave sweetener comes from the agave plants that grow south of the American border. Though the FDA has approved some forms of agave sweetener, there are also many health concerns that stem from agave sweetener. Much like high fructose corn syrup, which is added to many processed foods in the United States, some experts are speculating that agave sweetener could actually be causing obesity in many Americans. However, even if agave sweetener is not the culprit, there are some things that you should consider if you are using agave sweetener as a substitute for sugar. Here are just a few of the risks that you may face if you're currently using agave sweetener:
Contains between 70-90% of Highly Refined Fructose
Though agave sweetener is considered to be a good alternative to sugar, agave nectar actually contains a very high percentage of fructose, even when compared to high fructose corny syrup. Though there is still no proof that high fructose corn syrup causes obesity. Some experts feel as though, if it does, agave sweetener will also be just as problematic for you.
Can Raise the Level of Fat in Your Blood
Though doctors have not been able to prove that it's bad for you yet, using agave sweetener will likely cause you to increase the triglyceride levels in your body. Triglyceride is another word for fat. So, you could essentially be putting more fat into your blood cells. As a result of increasing these fat levels, you could put yourself at risk for heart disease in the future.
Calories Can Add Up
While some sugar alternatives, like stevia, can be nearly 300 times as sweet as sugar, the same cannot be said for agave sweetener. In fact, agave sweetener is only about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar. Though agave sweetener contains roughly the same amount of calories as sugar, if you like things like coffee with a lot of sugar, you will probably end up using just as much agave sweetener. This will not help you eliminate calories in your diet.
Can Alter Your Blood Sugar Levels
If you use agave sweetener, there's a good chance you will raise your blood sugar significantly. If you have issues with diabetes, using agave sweetener is no better for you than sugar. Those people who have trouble regulating their blood sugar should also be careful if they are using agave sweetener.
How Healthy Is Agave Sweetener?
Though agave sweetener may be slightly better for you than using regular sugar, there are some sugar substitutes that actually work better than agave sweetener. For instance, if you are trying to watch your health, consider trying stevia, Purevia or another sweetener that contains zero calories. Of course, all sweeteners have their side effects so be sure to see how healthy other sweeteners really are. When used in moderation, agave sweetener won't negatively affect your health.