South Beach Diet - Lots of Negative articles about Agave Nectar (My new favorite stuff!)

Fat Melanie
08-21-2010, 12:24 AM
A lot of you have sung the praises of agave nectar many times during the few years I've been on this forum and I always wanted to try it, but never did. I finally purchased some and I love it! It's like honey only better! I drizzled some over a 3 minute microwave soy cake tonight and me and my son like it drizzled over wasa fiber crispbreads.

I've been looking up articles about it online and I've found a lot of negative ones, including this one:

And I don't know what to think. What do you ladies think?? Some of you know a lot about agave nectar whereas I do not and I'd trust all of your opinions over a random article writer.

There's also this article too which paints it in a disturbing light:

I'm so confused now!

08-21-2010, 08:07 AM
Melanie, these articles do raise some questions about agave nectar that I was not aware of. Thanks for bringing it up.

Now I'm wondering about it, too.

08-21-2010, 08:38 AM
There is some very mixed research out there about agave. When I get back to my computer I'll add more links. Some things to think about - most of the negative stuff is coming from one primary source. A few things to keep in mind - it is not calorie free and it still impacts your blood sugar especially in large quantities. That's one of the reasons we added palm sugar to our mix, also low GI without the fructose issue. For me the takeaway is to limit any sweeteners and choose wisely.

one summary from Elena's pantry (

and a note about Natural News - In the past I followed their rss feed. then I realized that much of their material is either press releases or completely unsourced. That's not to say that agave is in the clear, just that it's important to check sources, funding of research and other facts.

08-21-2010, 10:05 AM
Cyndi - where do you buy your palm sugar? I haven't been able to find it lately.

Fat Melanie
08-21-2010, 01:03 PM
What's palm sugar?

I read the Elena's Pantry article and noticed they recommend the brand of agave that I've seen at Walmart. Should I get that kind? I bought a kind from Harris Teeter that's called "Wholesome Sweeteners", and it calls it, "Organic Blue Agave Nectar." Then it has a USDA certified organic stamp on it. I'm not sure what the stamp means, if anything.

I've been using it sparingly thus far, drizzled on crispbreads (the amount of 1/2 teaspoon), and last night on a microwave 'cake', to the amount of 2 teaspoons. I haven't yet used it in a recipe and I was going to, but now I'm not sure.

Maybe I could use it to replace some of a Splenda in a recipe, like parts Splenda, parts agave syrup and that way it wouldn't be a large amount. Say, instead of using 1 cup of it in arecipe, maybe a partial cup, and splenda. But I've been trying to get away from Splenda use and that's why I was so excited about the nectar.

08-21-2010, 02:05 PM
After reading the article in Elena's Pantry, I'm relieved to know she recommends the brand that I use. I use it sparingly, though, because of the calories.

08-21-2010, 03:07 PM
Thanks for some of the clearing up. I buy my organic agave from a local honey distributor who actually buys all his product from a reliable source in Mexico. I feel good about my source, and as others have mentioned, I use it sparingly, anyway.

On an interesting note, my Agave man had to find a new source because Keebler Co. (yeah the mega cookie corporation) had come in an purchased the entire crop from his fairly large source. Hmm...I don't know if they're planning on putting it in cookies or are just getting it out of the food chain.

08-21-2010, 07:42 PM
:eek: I hope that agave isn't going to go the way of stevia. Stevia has become so processed that IMO it no longer counts as a truly natural sweetener anymore than splenda does.

I get my palm sugar through Amazon. I do all my odd shopping at Amazon ;) Don't take my word for it though, do your own research. The sweetener decision is one we all need to make for ourselves. For me low glycemic is important but I can't and don't use artificial sweeteners. Sadly I don't like the aftertaste of pure stevia though that's what DW usually uses. The other really important piece for me is limiting my use of all sweeteners. Too much sweet of any kind definitely makes me crave. For example - this morning's yogurt had half a mashed banana and a sliced peach, no other sweetener needed. The more you can modify your tastebuds the better, no matter what sweetener(s) you choose

08-22-2010, 12:32 PM
I am still using agave(just bought my second bottle- I had the first for over a year) but I don't use much at all... In fact, I rarely sweeten anything that I eat, I am more of a salt person...
BUT, after reading this and a few other articles online I may not buy it again... I don't care for stevia, I really don't care a lot for agave either-but I will occasionally add a tbs or so to a stirfry or something... I quit using artificial sweeteners a while back I just don't like the processing- and now I am not sure I like the processing of agave either. oh well. live and learn I guess...

The last time I bought agave I bought the organic raw stuff... and now I am not even sure what that means! lol

08-22-2010, 02:07 PM
I've used agave for years and really enjoy it. It doesn't "crash" me out like sugar or honey. I tried stevia for the first time 15 years ago and it nearly knocked my boots off. Yuck! I couldn't handle it, but perhaps it has come a long way since then. But I was pretty dependent on sugar.

I think it is just like anything else you put in your mouth - Know where it comes from!

08-22-2010, 03:53 PM
It's all confusing isn't it?. I use stevia (drops) agave(occasionally) local honey (occasionally) and use organic dates to sweeten smoothies (when I can find them)
dates are pretty full of fructose, but not processed . I think the key is just to use all of them very sparingly and stay away from stuff that is highly processed and comes in a box with a lot writing!.

Fat Melanie
08-22-2010, 06:22 PM
I've noticed the agave does not give me cravings, but I do use it very sparingly, I haven't yet used it in a recipe. I am trying to get away from Splenda... since SBD is whole foods lifestyle, it doesn't make sense for me to use a processed bleached chemically changed sugar... if that makes sense. Not to say I have quit it cold turkey 'cause I used it in a microwave cake last night. I used a bit of agave to mix in with sf natural PB for an "icing".

I agree about stevia being sooo processed. I want to find some natural leaves.

I really like the agave, but will limit its use due to the concerns and also the calories. Though I'd rather use it than splenda, I think.

Sweet stuff was never my downfall (savory stuff always was) but I do like to have something sweet every once in awhile. Using agave sparingly should be fine for such cravings but I will continue to keep an eye and ear out for more information and new studies done on it.. it is all very confusing.

08-22-2010, 07:28 PM
Melanie, I have a stevia plant and tried to make my own stevia drops following a recipe. yuk.
The leaves are horrendously sweet...wierd sweet if you put one in your mouth.

08-22-2010, 09:48 PM
I think that there are no healthy foods, only healthy diets. There's a tendency to sanctify or villify specific foods as healthy and unhealthy, leaving people with the impression that "healthy" foods can be eaten with abandon.

A healthy diet is a balancing act, and there are so many ways that we can fall for "too much of a good thing."

Agave nectar is a processed food. Fruit and vegetable juices are processed foods. When you remove the fiber, water, and other micronutrients that come with the whole fruit/vegetable "package" you reduce the healthfulness of the food.

Is that a terrible thing? Depends on a lot of things - your current weight, your current health, and what else you're eating and how much (how much processed foods you eat, and how much whole foods you eat).

It's possible to make a healthy choice unhealthy by eating too much of it, or by having an unbalanced diet in other ways.

Personally, I do best (not only with weight loss, but with other health issues) when I eat relatively low-carb. That means that I have to be careful, even with fruit. I can easily overdo fruit (the last few days was a case in point. We bought a small watermelon - because I'm the only one who eats it, and I still ate it too quickly). I stayed within my calorie range, but only by trading out all of my starch exchanges, all of my dairy exchanges, and a few of my fat exchanges. In the short-term, I think my choice was fine - but in the long term, it would be reckess.

I think all natural and all artificial sweeteners have risks and benefits, and there is no one best choice. Your best choice will depend on your current health, your personal metabolic issues, and the rest of your diet, and how much of the sweetener you intend to use.

08-23-2010, 11:39 PM
Melanie, these articles do raise some questions about agave nectar that I was not aware of. Thanks for bringing it up.

Now I'm wondering about it, too.

Me, too. Thanks so much for posting about this! I honestly hadn't even thought about it. Now I have thought about it a lot...

I have been reading a LOT of diet/nutrition books recently. Knew about fructose, but did not connect that with agave nectar.

I have to say I am a bit sad. It was too good to be true. I love the taste of agave nectar!! And I bought it because of the "natural, low-GI, etc..." I did think it was something really healthy. Oh well. I'm trying to steer away from the sweet things in general anyway :p

08-24-2010, 07:02 AM
Oh, BTW, Melanie...that usda organic stamp does mean a lot.

I had a webdesign client who had one on her products. She had to jump through a lot of hoops and a lot of proof, a lot of inspections, chemical analysis etc to earn that stamp. They don't give it out freely. (not that I'm a fan of the usda) So when I see that stamp, I know the company has done a lot of work and proof to get it.