Sunday, April 5, 2009

Agave Nectar is Not a Better Alternative

So, a little while ago I was going through some recipes for 'healthy' baked yummies... the kind those crazy raw food / super health nuts would make for their kids and husbands. I'm trying to generally trend towards healthier foods with less chemical additives, so I figured why not go to the source. I kept seeing references to Agave Nectar, and these women were touting it as a healthy and fabulous miracle sweetener that was totally 100% great to use in place of horrible things like corn syrup, sugar, or honey (which everyone knows rots your insid
es and makes you 50x more likely to die immediately).

Well, I figured if it was so healthy it must taste NASTY, but maybe the sacrifice would be worth it to make healthier cakes and such for my family, right? Imagine, serving up a tantalizing torte that was GOOD for you? Anyway, I wanted to see what it tasted like- then amazingly I actually found it at a local grocery store and snapped it up. Well, it's been sitting on my shelf for a while, as I was too afraid to try it. My sister informed me that agave it was the same plant they make tequila out of, so I just had horrible visions of semi-sweet, thick tequila goo. It was off-putting.

Well, tonight I broke down and tried it, and imagine my surprise at how TASTY and PURE it was! I purchased the light variety, and the flavor is so clean, sweet and most of all... delicate! I wanted to make little fairy cakes with it. It is more liquid than corn syrup or honey but still a little viscous. It reminded me of a honey but thinner and lighter and without the flavors of honey, just the sweetness, and no aftertaste.

Of course, this stuff tasted delicious- no way it could be good for you.. those health nuts were morons! Couldn't they taste this stuff? I wanted to eat it out of the bottle for Pete's sakes! Well, unfortunately I was right on this count, it isn't good for you, and might be worse for you than stuff like white sugar and even high fructose corn syrup... because it contains 90% fructose in a condensed syrup which really makes it not nutritious. Certainly not any better than maple syrup or honey at all. Only reason to like it is if you have problems with glucose I guess. But it just causes other problems in response!

Well, you don't have to believe me you can go google it, there are lots of places that say it's unhealthy. Here is one person's summary that I found pretty complete, but it is from a raw foodie perspective so ... grain of salt. And here is the website of the company which made my Agave Nectar. Notice they also make it sound like dew from heaven. So, basically, go try the stuff if you want a nifty new syrup to play with... but not if you're looking for some healthy sugar substitute.

Oh well, if something sounds too good to be true... At least I will be able to make some unhealthily delicious little tea cakes!



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