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The Truth About Agave

Is this 'natural' sweetener healthier than table sugar?

Is Agave Healthier Than Sugar? continued...

And concentrated fructose sweeteners don't seem to offer any health advantages. In fact, a study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggested that consuming fructose may be less healthy than consuming similar amounts of glucose. Study participants who consumed fructose were found to gain more unhealthy visceral fat, were more insulin-resistant, and were at greater risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

One of the most celebrated properties of agave is its profile on the glycemic index, a scale that measures how much various foods raise blood sugar levels. Agave ranks lower than many other sweeteners on the glycemic index. As a result, some manufacturers tout it as a "diabetic friendly" sugar. But, according to Clemens, "there is inconsistent evidence to assign a glycemic value to any food, and it should not be used as a green light for diabetics."

In fact, the American Diabetes Association lists agave along with other sweeteners (table sugar, honey, brown sugar, molasses, fructose, maple sugar, and confectioner’s sugar) that should be limited in diabetic diets.

Is 'Natural' Sugar Better?

Experts agree: The American diet contains way too much sugar, especially in the form of sweetened beverages.

One of the simplest ways to improve the healthfulness of your diet is to reduce the amount of all simple sugars -- agave, sucrose, honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, molasses, brown sugar, corn syrup, turbinado sugar, and more. When it comes to sweeteners, the choice is yours -- but keep in mind that all caloric sugars are virtually the same.

It's better to satisfy your sweet tooth with whole fruit than with any kind of concentrated sugar. Not only is it unprocessed, and fiber- and nutrient-rich, it has an even lower glycemic index than agave.

 

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