Agave syrup – an overrated sugar substitute

Is agave syrup healthy?We find it on the shelves of natural food stores, it is considered to be a great substitute for unhealthy sugar, a natural product produced by traditional methods, ideal for diabetics, because it has a low glycemic index.It is used by many people who consider what they eat and want to eat healthy.Is it right?

Agave syrup is often presented as a natural product produced according to a traditional recipe by Mexicans.How does it look like in reality?How much is the current method of making agave syrup with the traditional one from a few hundred years old?

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How is agave syrup formed?

Agawa is a cactaceous plant occurring in over 100 species from the southern parts of the United States to the northern areas of South America in a hot and dry climate.The most known are Agave tequiliana and Agave salmiana.Agawa is associated with the use in the production of alcohol – tequila, mezcal and pulque, and recently also sweetening syrup, which is mainly made in Mexico.To obtain the agave syrup uses its core, which shape resembles pineapple and weighs 25 to 75 kg.The starch-rich juice of the starch and inulin is squeezed out, and then boiled or enzymatically treated to obtain a syrup with a high concentration of fructose.The next stage is refining and filtration.Finally, we get practically pure sugar, although depending on the producer, the amount of fructose in syrup can vary between 56-92% and glucose – 8-20%.

The main ingredient of agave syrup is fructose, which disturbs the mechanism of hunger and satiety

After cleaning processes in agave syrup, there are virtually no additional ingredients that could make it healthier.Before the industrialization of syrup production, it was made from agave leaves, not subjected to purification, but only to a long boil in order to evaporate the excess liquid.Despite the traditional production method and much better composition than the current product, it was still primarily a sweetener, although miel de agave syrup with health-promoting properties was also prepared.We must remember that beet sugar, which has a very bad opinion among supporters of proper nutrition, was produced at the end of the 18th century, so in this respect it could also be considered a traditional product.Probably, however, there will be no one who will risk saying that the sugar is healthy.

Nutritionists and nutritionists blame glucose-fructose syrup for negative health effects and criticize its addition to food products.At the same time, unconscious consumers sell practically the same product (with an even higher concentration of fructose) as a healthy substitute for sugar, added to muesli bars and desserts for a much higher price.There are also cases of adulteration when cornucopia syrup is sold as an agave syrup.

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Properties of agave syrup

You can buy agave syrup in a form similar to liquid honey.It is dense and has a golden-brown color, different depending on the manufacturer.Some syrups are characterized by a nutty aftertaste.The intensity of the syrup’s taste depends on its color.Bright syrups give sweetness, but do not change the taste of dishes.The darker the syrup, the stronger the caramel aftertaste gives the dishes.Agave syrup can be used to sweeten hot and cold beverages, to pour waffles and pancakes, add to muesli, ice cream, cottage cheese and cakes.

100 g of agave syrup provides 310 kcal, which is about 25% less than sugar

Agave syrup has a low glycemic index, which is 15-30 and is dependent on the fructose content – the more fructose in the composition, the lower the IG.For this reason, it can be recommended to people suffering from diabetes, because it will not cause a sudden ejection of insulin into the blood, because fructose is not directly absorbed into the bloodstream.However, the glycemic index is not everything.Agave syrup is unfortunately a better-known variety of glucose-fructose syrup, which has a negative impact on health.It is also not low-calorie, as many people think.100 g of agave syrup provides 310 kcal, which is about 25% less than sugar.However, it is sweeter, so you can use it less in the kitchen and consequently reduce the amount of calories by up to half compared to using sugar.Research on the effects of fructose on health has generated alarming conclusions, on the basis of which it is suggested that fructose syrups are dangerous for everyone, not only for diabetics.

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Why is excess fructose harmful to health?

High intake of fructose leads to overweight in its most dangerous variety – through the obesity of internal organs.It has also been noted that it contributes to the insulin resistance of tissues and increases the risk of developing type II diabetes.Glucose and fructose, although they have similar structure, are completely differently metabolised in the body.Glucose can be used properly by all body cells, while fructose is processed only in the liver.As a result of the metabolism of fructose uric acid is formed, whose high concentration causes a painful disease – gout, but above all triglycerides, which contribute to atherosclerosis and other diseases of the cardiovascular system.

After consumption of fructose products, we will feel much slower because fructose slows down the secretion of leptin – the hormone responsible for signaling the hunger to the brain.We can therefore eat more, which should be considered by those who control body weight.Unfortunately, adding agave syrup instead of sugar to the dough, we will not make baking healthier.In addition, we can cause problems with controlling the feeling of fullness.

Speaking of fructose in agave syrup, we have to refer to fruits in which fructose is the source of sweetness.No fruit, even dried, contains such a high concentration of fructose as the agave syrup.In fresh fruit the amount of fructose in 100 g is from about 1 g to about 9 g, which is even several dozen times less than in syrup.We also need to look at the product as a whole.The fruits along with sugar contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, which, taken together, gives very good health benefits.

Agave syrup has a very wide application in the kitchen, it is also added to finished sweets from the fit shelf.There are also many supporters of its taste.Unfortunately, it is a product that is bad for health, which can cause a lot of damage if consumed.A growing group of nutritionists emphasizes that agave syrup is one of the most overrated food products.It is considered natural, healthy and recommended for people on a diet.In reality, however, these attributes can not be attributed to him.

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