When my book SUGAR SHOCK! came out in January 2007, it seemed like I was one of only a few people raising questions about agave's safety and its potential dangers.
For instance, in my book, I warned that agave is a non-GRAS (not generally recognized as safe) label for highly refined fructose, which is metabolized in your body like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
What's more, agave has "twice the intensity and sweetness of high-fructose corn syrup," according to food and beverage formulator Russ Bianchi.
Overconsuming HFCS, as you can learn from listening to my recent radio show, has been linked with a host of health ailments, including heart disease, cancer and obesity.
In addition, in my book SUGAR SHOCK!, I wondered if agave really is from the Mexican cactus plant, because there's been a shortage of blue agave, which is also used to make tequila. (If you have a copy of SUGAR SHOCK!, you can find my agave remarks on pages 307 to 308 in the Frequently Asked Questions chapter.)
Anyhow, what I didn't include in my book SUGAR SHOCK! is that I'd heard that high fructose corn syrup was being either added to agave or even swapped for it. At the time, I didn't publicly discuss this, because as a journalist, I was seeking additional substantiation. But now other people are making the same claims.
For instance, in this article, The Truth about Agave Syrup: Not As Healthy As You May Think by John Kohler, he says that "those within the industry who I have spoken to at various trade shows … say that some of the agave syrup is `watered down' with corn syrup in Mexico before it is exported to the USA." This is done, he explains, because agave syrup is expensive and high fructose corn syrup is cheap.
Meanwhile, I urge you to listen to Kevin Gianni's recent Renegade Health Show, which also raises the question as to whether or not there's high fructose corn syrup in agave.
Also, see this article in the Chicago Tribune.
And, finally, I invite you to learn about the complicated process, too, to make agave nectar.