August 23rd, 2011 by Helen Scholz
There are many different sweeteners and sugar substitutes out there and Agave is one more to add to the list. Agave is a sugar substitute that is low glycemic. Agave is also organic and kosher certified. It is a natural sweetener that can be used on or with many different dishes. There are different kinds of Agave, like Blue Agave, however the side effects are generally the same as long as it is a high quality Agave. There are a few sites that sell high quality Blue Agave like Global Goods as one example.
Agave is usually made from the Blue Agave plants that live in Southern Mexico. The Agave plants look a lot like cactus but they are more similar to the Aloe Vera plants. The Blue Agave plants have higher carbohydrate contents so it is the preferred plant for producing the Agave nectar.
Unlike Stevia side effects, Agave has more recorded positive and negative side effects because Agave is an approved food additive. Stevia is forbidden in the European Union and a few other countries as an additive because there are not enough studies confirming that it is un-harmful. Still, there are tribes in South America who have used Stevia as a sweetener a food additive and as a healing plant for a very long time.
Agave does have both positive and negative side effects and some of those side effects are listed here:
Positive side effects:
- Glycemic Index of 27. This is much lower than traditional sugar.
- Contains minerals that are not present in refined sugar.
- Blood sugar levels become more stable.
- Provides more calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
Negative side effects:
- Though Agave is very low on the glycemic index it can still affect a diabetic if taken in high amounts.
- The side effects of high blood sugar can include nerve damage, vision, pregnancy complications, and an increased risk of heart disease.
- Some Agave’s on the market are a lower-quality because fructose is being added as a filler. Fructose is a cheap filler.
- Refined fructose has bad side effects like increased cholesterol, increased chance of blood clots and weight gain. So obviously, if you are eating a low quality agave you could suffer from some of these side effects as well.
Agave has been compared, in taste, to honey. Another nice thing about Agave is that it does not have a bitter aftertaste like artificial sweeteners. Agave comes in two different types, a light and a dark. The lighter agave has a milder taste and the darker agave is less filtered for a more strong taste.