Every once in a while, a new sweetener comes out that seems to have a lot of promise. And, these ingredients tend to follow a strange wave of being lauded and then rejected not too long after. Diet sodas have long included aspartame in their formulas. But, now aspartame has a dark shadow over its name. Likewise, some people love stevia leaf extract, while others shun it. So, what about agave nectar, which comes from the same succulent plant as tequila? Is Blue Agave Good For You?
In this article, we’ll be trying to answer that question. And, in order to answer the question, “Is Blue Agave Good For You?” we’ll be taking into account a few different inputs. After all, it seems like these topics rarely have a consensus. We hope you’re ready to learn more about this interesting ingredient. So, let’s jump into our article: Is Blue Agave Good For You?
Is Blue Agave Good For You? | What’s Wrong With Sugar?
People are constantly looking for a way to make their food more palatable, without over-using sugar. Most Americans are used to consuming quite a bit of sugar on a daily basis. In fact, one article from the Harvard Health Blog estimates that added sugars make up around 10 percent of the calories that an average American consumes in a day. But, some people go even more overboard, getting around a quarter of their daily calories from added sugar. What’s the damage? Why is sugar so bad, and why are people wondering, is blue agave good for you?
Well, there are many health risks that come with eating too much sugar. One of them seems to be heart disease. And, this disease is no joke. Currently, Medical News Today ranks heart disease as the #1 cause of death in the United States. In fact, it accounts for almost 25% of total deaths in the United States – roughly 614,000 people per year. As a reference, the fourth-leading cause of death the States is “accidental injuries,” which account for only 5.2 percent of deaths. But, sugar doesn’t JUST contribute to heart disease. It also contributes to cancer, the second-leading cause of death, and definitely diabetes, the seventh-leading cause of death. Sugar is serious business. So, that might be one reason why people are curious, is blue agave good for you? Well, let’s take a look.
Is Blue Agave Good For You? | The Source
We may be asking, “Is Blue Agave Good For You?” But we should also ask, “What Is Blue Agave?” The blue agave plant, whose scientific name is Agave tequilana, tends to grow in Mexico, but can crop up in the southwestern United States and down into South America. Basically, it has multiple cultivars, but tequila comes from one in particular called “Weber’s Azul,” which is larger and blue-gray. This plant is essential for the tequila industry, and therefore has been grown on a commercial scale. Unfortunately, some of this commercial growth has caused a lack of biodiversity in the plant offspring. Which, has made the crop an easy target for pathogens and fungi.
However, answering the question, “Is Blue Agave Good For You?” goes beyond the plant itself. So, let’s talk about the nectar. The nectar is high in fructans, which are often broken down into fructose during processing. And, fructose has a lower glycemic index. To compare, the glycemic index of glucose is 100 (per gram), whereas fructose is 19. (Table sugar is 65, which makes sense, since it’s comprised of glucose and fructose.) Here’s the rub, though: the agave syrup you get in most sweeteners contains very little actual nectar. Most likely, it has been highly processed by the time you buy it. And yes, a more accurate label is probably “agave syrup,” rather than “agave nectar.”
Is Blue Agave Good For You? | Diabetes
We’d say that one reason blue agave has gotten so much attention compared to other alternative sweeteners is because people think it’s a good option for diabetics. This is because of the low glycemic index of blue agave nectar. Arguably, answering the question, “Is blue agave good for you?” is the most important when it comes to those living with diabetes. And, the truth is that blue agave should have less of a negative effect on blood sugar and insulin. One study on mice, which lasted 34 days, showed that mice fed agave nectar gained less weight than mice who were given sucrose. The agave nectar mice also had lower blood sugar and insulin levels. But, this was a short-term study, and on mice, not humans. And, it doesn’t necessarily answer, “Is blue agave good for you?”
The issue is that glycemic index is not the only indicator of whether a sweetener is “healthy” or not. So, we can’t answer, is blue agave good for you, until we consider other indicators. Even the website we cited above for the glycemic index comes from the Calorie Control Council, which seems to have some financial interest in disproving the health consequences of consuming fructose. The reality is that being a discretionary consumer requires a little deeper research. And, deeper research brought us to the understanding that fructose is metabolized almost exclusively in the liver. (This is unlike glucose, which is widely metabolized.) As such, fructose may overload the liver. It may eventually lead to other issues, like insulin resistance. Normally, it may be hard to reach overload levels of fructose, but agave nectar tends to be around 85% fructose. So, moderation may be even more necessary. And, if you have diabetes, you wouldn’t be amiss to ask your doctor, “Is Blue Agave good for you?”
Is Blue Agave Good For You? | The Takeaway
It’s not outlandish to say that anything that is “healthy” in some situations can quickly become unhealthy when you lay it on too thick. Even Wholesome, one of the companies known for its alternative sweeteners like agave nectar, says that anything in excess is bad for you, including sweeteners. On the whole, the ticket to avoiding the health hazards of sugar might be to cut down on sweet foods in general. Or, to switch over to whole foods that are naturally sweet, like fruits. Of course, if you’re going to have a treat, you could reach for the blue agave nectar to sweeten your food. We just don’t recommend it in large amounts. And, you probably wouldn’t go amiss to make sure your agave nectar meets USDA Organic standards.
Is blue agave good for you? The answer may not be clear. But, it’s probably not worse than sugar or any other alternative sweetener. We’d say the key is to enjoy your treats in moderation, whether they come from a cane, or an herb, or a cactus. Plus, when you cut down on the sugars, you get a little bonus: every time you indulge, it’s just that much sweeter! Thank you for reading “Is Blue Agave Good For You?” and we hope you come back to Best New Supplements soon for more helpful articles!