7 Reasons to Stay Away from Agave

Clearing the Sweetener Confusion

Agave-NectarOne of my closest friends—a smart, health-conscious, exercise enthusiast—recently texted me questions about alternative sweeteners while she was planning to create a healthy dessert for a birthday dinner party.

“What about agave?” she texted me.

“No! The Worst!” I text-replied.

She was perplexed.

“Is agave low-glycemic or not?” she text-quizzed me.

“It doesn’t matter,” I answered.

“High in fructose…. Will send you articles soon.”

My friend’s questions alerted me that it was time to do another Sugar Shock Blog post to Clear the Agave Confusion and to warn people that it’s not safe.

Over the years, I’ve repeatedly tried alerted people to agave’s dangers.

First, I wrote about it in my book, Sugar Shock! 

Then, I’ve done blog posts about agave, such as in late 2008,  then in April 2009,  May 2009,  December 2009 and March 2010.

Unfortunately, many label-reading shoppers, health experts and even chefs at ostensibly healthy restaurants are still suffering from massive Agave Confusion, which has been persisting for years.

I’m now determined to again do my part to Clear the Agave Confusion. Here are 7 Sour Facts About Agave:

  1. Agave is a non-GRAS (Not Generally Recognized Safe) product that is essentially highly refined fructose, which is metabolized in your body like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
  2. Agave has “twice the intensity and sweetness of high-fructose corn syrup,” according to food and beverage formulator Russ Bianchi.
  3.   Over-consuming fructose — and hence, agave — has been linked with a host of health ailments, including heart disease, insulin resistance, cancer, obesity, metabolic syndrome, fatty-liver disease, and weight gain, topics I addressed in this this episode of my Gab with the Gurus Show.
  4. Agave may be worse for you than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) because it’s so high in fructose.
  5. Agave may not be from the Mexican cactus plant, according to experts, because there’s been a shortage of blue agave, which is also used to make tequila.
  6. High fructose corn syrup may be added to agave or even swapped for it, according to observers.
  7.  In short, agave is one the sweetener that has most often duped many in the health food industry. (Darn, on many occasions over the years, I’ve had to turn down desserts or not buy them, because they added agave.)

Yes, as my friend pointed out, agave nectar has a low-glycemic index, and it’s that fact, which leads many consumers to erroneously believe that it’s healthy. But that low-GI figure is because agave s primarily composed of fructose, as in the substance you find in high-fructose corn syrup.

Fortunately, in recent years, the word has been spreading about agave’s dangers, unlike in December 2006, when I raised questions about the sweetener in my book, Sugar Shock! At the time, I was one of a handful of people speaking out about agave’s safety.

So I repeatedly tried to set the record straight by doing Sugar Shock Blog posts in late 2008,  April 2009,  May 2009,  December 2009 and March 2010.

Thankfully, though, in recent years, a number of other health experts have joined me in discussing the dangers of agave.

In recent years, other notable people have come on board, too:

  • Dr. Andrew Weil also finally spoke out against agave, in his post, What’s Wrong With Agave. (I’m not a fan of maple syrup, as he suggests.)
  • In Feb. 2014, Dr. Mehmet Oz, once an agave fan, reversed his previous stance in a post, Agave: Why We Were Wrong. (Yeah! I disagree, however, with his honey recommendation. More about that later.)
  • In addition, Authority Nutrition includes agave among 6 Healthy Sugars that Can Kill You.

So, please, I urge you, if you care about your health, stay away from agave.

 Question: Do you eat agave? Until reading this article, what did you believe about agave? Share your thoughts in the Comment section below, underneath the About box. And make sure to warn your agave-loving friends by sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter using the social media buttons below or above this post.


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Are you tired of your cravings for cookies, chips or other "treats" rushing after you? Then, before you know it, they pounce on you like a ravenous lion, and you've blown your diet trying time! But it's a new year, and Connie Bennett is here to help you Claim Calm Control, shed those wily pounds, and Rebound After Relapse™. ...Connie is your ideal guide, because she's been where you are. After losing her angry, dying mother, she blew her diet big time, gained 21 pounds, and while slimming down again, exhaustively researched the subject. Now Connie is back with simple, powerful, proven ways to help you get the body you seek. Connie is author of Sugar Shock (Berkley Books) and Beyond Sugar Shock (Hay House). Her next book is I blew my diet! Now what? Join Connie on her Gab with the Gurus Podcast, which will have new episodes starting in April.

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2 thoughts on “7 Reasons to Stay Away from Agave

  1. Thanks Connie but does that mean even if the label says its 100% Blue Agave, “organic, low-glycemic” it’s still not okay? Are there no “better brands”? I have a lot from Costco and hate to throw it away. And would love to know what you think of alternatives like Yacon syrup and coconut nectar.

    • Betsy,
      Your agave may be organic and low-glycemic, which is why you’ve been duped. Sorry, but I’d recommend tossing out your agave. I’m not a fan of the other sweeteners you suggested either. Stay tuned for more detailed replies to your question.