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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Agave Nectar - Is it the Answer for Health-conscious Consumers?

We've used Splenda Granular in great quantities at times for almost 20 years. My sons grew up on Splenda. I feel fairly certain no one else will consume as much as we have - so, I feel confident in recommending Splenda over sugar or Agave syrup, for instance, which so many health-conscious consumers are gravitating towards. Agave syrup is nothing less than mostly fructose in disguise, hence the low glycemic value. We all know that HFCS is a problem and has been implicated in the rise of obesity.

Here is a recent quote by Dana Carpender "All of this is why high fructose corn syrup is the current Nutritional Enemy Number One, and it couldn't happen to a more deserving substance. And I have to tell you, consuming lots of fructose in the form of "natural" agave nectar (no more natural that HFCS, which is also made by converting other carbohydrates into fructose using enzymes) is no better for you. Worse, actually, since the percentage of fructose in agave nectar is actually higher than that in HFCS.

In short, agave nectar is not your blissfully natural and healthful substitute for those evil artificial sweeteners. While I am not sure Splenda is 100% safe, I'm darned sure it's safer than nearly pure fructose."


Jan J. said...

Thank you for this point and reference and link I can send people to who don't believe me on this issue! I know many people who are using agave instead of sugar and when I am on, which is frequently, I see people saying in the comments they replaced the sugar with agave syrup "to make it healthier." Sad so many are deceived like this. I would love to eat something more natural and organic but Agave is not it and Splenda will have to continue to be what I use.

Since I stopped using sugar and began using Splenda after being diagnosed with diabetes in January, I hardly have to use diabetic medications anymore, whereas I had fasting sugars in the upper 300s to 530 when I was first diagnosed. Now without medications it is usually 130s (as long as I don't cheat and sneak in some sugar or other white stuff!).

Jennifer said...

Dear Jan,

Thank you for your very interesting comment. I am so glad you have figured out a way to keep your blood sugar down, without medications! You're amazing!

There are so many things that occur naturally in nature that are deadly or poisonous, so natural does not always mean "good for us." Smile.

However, that said, I also keep my ear to the ground for any better alternative to Splenda. So far, I have not found any, other than I do use erythritol in combination with Splenda more often these days, for the synergy the two sweeteners provide.

Have a lovely day!

Nicky said...

Jan, you've come a long way, but you need to keep working at it - ideally you want to get your fasting down to 100, and your post-meal peak under 140 (which is where damage starts to occur). Here's the website from a book called Diabetes 101, that explains how and why:

Don't forget exercise - it's excellent for getting those blood glucose figures down later in the day.

And maybe you need those diabetic meds after all - there's no shame in it if you do. The commonest, Metformin, needs some time to build up levels in your body and become effective, you can't just take the odd one.