Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I have received several questions and emails about the use of Agave nectar and the recent controversy surrounding it.
For the record, we do use agave nectar, sparingly, but we use the raw blue agave which is heated at a lower temperature. (Click on the above link for a full explanation of the process). And the fact that agave is sweeter than HFCS, honey and refined sugar means you can use less of it to achieve the same sweetness.
However, real maple syrup is not processed and is my sweetener of choice. I also use sucanat, primarily for baking, which is processed twice versus white sugar that is processed up to 20 times.
I think the real issue is not that agave nectar should be avoided at all cost but rather that we should all be trying to eat more whole foods and less refined, processed and fast foods. Processed sweeteners are just one culprit in the larger health epidemic that essentially boils down to the fact that we no longer know what real food is. Fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and legumes are no longer the staple of the American diet and that, in my opinion, is the real problem.
So, in your quest for better health I urge you to look at the whole picture – the totality of your diet and whether it is one that promotes health – rather than getting hung up on one particular aspect. Any sweetener, whether refined or raw, should be used sparingly.
The good news is that the less refined, processed foods we consume the more we are actually able to enjoy the natural sweetness found in fruits and vegetables.