personal worldview essay
Agave nectar (or syrup) is produced from the agave plant – the same plant used to make tequila. It tastes similar to honey with a hint of molasses and is manufactured by extracting the juice from the plant’s core, which is then filtered, heated or treated with enzymes and concentrated until it becomes a syrupy liquid.
Proponents of this natural sweetener claim that it’s a healthy alternative to sugar, honey, and other sweeteners because of its low glycemic index. It’s advertised as ideal for people who are watching their weight or folks with diabetes who are working to lower their blood sugar levels. But before you add agave nectar to your grocery list, here’s what the heck you need to know.
Agave nectar contains up to 90 percent fructose. That’s significantly more than table sugar, which is 50 percent fructose (and 50 percent glucose) once it’s broken down by your body. Agave’s high fructose content gives it advantages and disadvantages. The good part first: Because fructose has a low glycemic index, agave doesn’t cause your blood sugars to spike as rapidly after eating it, which means it can temper the sugar rush that occurs after eating something sweet. And even though agave and white sugar contain approximately the same number of calories, agave is markedly sweeter. That means you can get away with using less to flavor your coffee, morning oatmeal, or baked goods and potentially save yourself a few calories.
Now for the bad part. The high fructose content in agave can have some undesirable health effects. Studies have shown that large amounts of fructose can increase blood-triglyceride levels, and high triglycerides are a known risk factor for heart disease. In addition, some