is normally used as an ingredient in the following Healthelicious products:
premium energy bar
nutrition booster bar
peak performance bar
chocolate chip slice
coconut and macadamia nut slice
A syrup from the same plant from which tequila is made, it provides vitamins, minerals and enzymes not found in other processed sweeteners. Low glycemic index agave is absorbed slowly into the bloodstream and is diabetic friendly. As a sweetener, it does not significantly raise blood sugar levels, preventing the highs and lows associated with sugar intake. Instead it provides a sustained, steady source of energy.
Agave contains saponins and fructans. Saponins have anti-inflammatory and immune system-boosting properties, including antimicrobial capability. The Aztecs used agave syrup to treat wounds because of its antibacterial properties.
Inulin is a type of fructan or fiber that has many health benefits. Inulin can be effective in weight loss because of its low impact on blood sugar and its ability to increase satiety and decrease appetite. Inulin is also associated with lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of certain cancers, and increasing the absorption of nutrients, such as isoflavones, calcium and magnesium.
The agave plant contains fructans, non-digestible carbohydrates that help the body absorb calcium and magnesium. Studies show fructans promote the growth of good bacteria in the intestines. They also prompt better absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Researchers found that mice fed agave absorbed more calcium and significantly increased the levels of a protein that marks new bone tissue growth. Other sources of fructans include artichokes, onions, and garlic.
There was some recent press about “how bad agave is;” so I asked my supplier, Loving Earth, to clarify for me some of the broad brushstroke criticisms leveled at Agave and how they did or did not relate to the organic Agave I use in the food bars. This was their response.
“There has been controversy regarding the use and promotion of Agave Syrup as a health food. “Agave Nectar - The high fructose health fraud”, an article written by Rami Nagel and “Beware of the Agave Nectar Health Food Hype” by Dr Mercola are the sources of the confusion. Both authors have presented some valid information regarding conventionally grown and processed Blue Webber Agave. However, the information presented is not an accurate representation of Loving Earth’s Agave products.
“Our Agave is a Wild Maguey (Salmiana Variety). It is wild crafted, certified organic and organically processed at low temperature. Loving earth works closely with the Indigenous association of Ixmiquilpan. We have met our growers in person and seen their operation. Our growers do not produce tequila they run a small-scale operation producing only Agave Syrup. Our agave is raw. It is vacuum evaporated at 45 degrees and a certified organic, vegan enzyme is used to break down the sugars. It contains 70-75 per cent fructose unlike the Blue Webber variety, which can have fructose levels as high as 90 per cent. http://www.raw-chocolate.net/indigenous-growers.php?country=mexico - Click on the photos next to the Wild Maguey text to view the operation for yourself. Photo number 7 shows the vacuum evaporator.
“Doctor Mercola states that “Agave Nectar as a final product is mostly chemically refined fructose”. The sugars in our agave nectar come from the breakdown of the inulin molecule through the introduction of the certified vegan enzyme. It is in no way chemically refined, there are no chemicals involved in any part of the production or packaging process. Our growers do not use any chemicals, Ionic resins, Sulphuric/hydrochloric acid, dicalite or clarimex in the manufacturing of our Agave Syrup. This has been independently audited and verified by Australian Certified Organic. It is refined only as much as the excess moisture is removed from the juice of the plant.
“Dr Mercola is also erroneous in stating that dark agave is burnt. The light and clear varieties of Agave have undergone filtration, which is why they are lighter in colour. The Dark agave is richer in minerals, which results in its darker colour.
“Unlike high fructose corn syrup that stores its energy as starch, Agave Syrup stores its energy as Inulin, also known as Fructans or Levulose. Inulin is typically found in roots or rhizomes. There is no starch in Agave Syrup. Inulin bypasses digestion in the stomach and small intestine and is actually digested in the large intestine. Inulin actually feeds the probiotic bacteria in our digestive system.
“Agave syrup is a concentrated fruit Juice. Like all sweeteners Loving Earth believes that agave should be consumed in moderation. We believe that Agave Syrup is a healthier sweetener alternative compared to cane sugar. When used respectfully Agave syrup does have health promoting properties. Overconsumption and inappropriately using Agave is what leads to health issues and puts our bodies out of balance. Agave should be used as part of a balanced diet.”
So while I am normally a great fan of Dr Mercola, on this occasion it seems he is inappropriately painting all Agave with tars and feathers - a position apparently not borne out by the facts. While it is nowhere near as entertaining, sensational or dramatic to insert caveats to exclude certain products from the firing line, unless you do, innocents can go down along with the guilty.
In current warfare terminology they euphemise this by referring to “collateral damage” of “non-combatants”. Makes it seem a whole lot better than “innocent women and children killed”. Oops. Crossed the line there, didn’t I? Let the peace lover in me out.