Beyond Gorgeous

Beyond Gorgeous

Agave Nectar — Healthy Option or Another Poison?

Eating healthy was hard enough when you just had to avoid chemicals.  Now bad-for-you stuff is sneaking into the stores masquerading as natural and healthy.

I was delighted to discover agave nectar. The very name sounds healthy.  Agave is the plant that grows wild in Mexico and nectar conjures up the image of a flower and bees.  Besides that, one of my favorite “clean eating” blogs uses it in the recipes so I don’t have to bother to do a conversion.  And I’m NOT good at converting recipes.


So I was dismayed when my food-knowledgable daughter found it in my cabinet and said, “Mom, you shouldn’t be using this.  It’s worse than high fructose corn syrup.”

That was condemnation, indeed!  After all the reading and research I’ve done I’ve come to the conclusion that fructose = poison.  It may be a slow poison and, like arsenic, a tiny bit won’t kill you.  A big amount over time, though, will make you obese and lead to a host of horrific diseases.

Surely not…. I checked it out and found, as usual, contradictory Web sites.  The pro-agave ones (all produced by the manufacturer or online store selling the sweetener) say it is natural, harmless, and does not cause a jump in your blood sugar.

The con-agave sites tell a different story.  While it does come from a plant, we don’t get the natural product. That’s not sap in the bottle, as I wrongly assumed.  Food producers strip off the leaves and take the bulb that is the agave’s core. That starchy root is processed until it is 90% fructose.  High fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose.  My daughter was right.  It is worse.   More fructose than high fructose corn syrup makes agave nectar a bad-for-you food.


Why then does agave have a low glycemic index?  More research and I found another sad answer.  The sugar from agave is metabolized in the liver and goes straight to fat, never getting to the blood stream.  Since the glycemic index is a measure of the sugar in your blood, it has a low number.   Besides, it contributes to insulin resistance, which is also bad news.

So this “natural” sugar substitute just got an eviction notice from my kitchen — and I’m going to be more careful to check out these things in the future!

Eating to live and living for Christ,

Susan Jordan Brown

Comments read comments(13)
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David Nelson

posted October 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Thank you for sharing this information. I didn’t know about this until I read your post. Does this mean we need to fully avoid agave or we can use it occasionally? It still tastes good though. I thought it is a good alternative for honey.

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Laura S

posted September 10, 2012 at 11:27 am

Be warned-I too thought Agave necter sounded organic and healthy. Because I have such a sweet tooth, I began using it on 2 english muffins each morning–a few weeks along my eyelids went from feeling “sunburned” to down right bright red, burning and swollen. After seeing a specilaist/dermatologist and receivning treatment (prescription meds and cream) we figured out it was all due to my new diet of Agave necter. I immediately stopped using it and my eyelids have totally cleared up-I’d had a severe allergic reaction to the stuff.I am not allergic to anything else-just that ‘poison”.

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posted April 19, 2012 at 11:34 am

I heard that too and was horrified. So I think I will just stick to local raw honey unless I hear otherwise.

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posted April 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

Good! I did a blog on it lately. You might want to check it. I was surprised at how many great alternative sweeteners I was able to find!

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posted April 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

I’m glad it was helpful! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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posted April 16, 2012 at 8:53 am

Usually I follow Dr. Oz, but I saw too much negative about agave to go with this one. It has more fructose than high fructose corn syrup, so it can’t be good for you! However, that is just my opinion. Everyone has to check things out and make informed decisions for themselves. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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posted April 16, 2012 at 8:49 am

Glad the info helped. Thanks for reading — and for commenting!

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posted April 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Thank you for clearing that up for me before I bought more! I’m going back to honey as a sweetener.

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Cheryl R

posted April 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm


I have heard Dr. Oz highly recommend that people use agave. Did you check his website?

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posted April 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Wow, I almost bought a big bottle of this in Sprouts last week but, because I was budget conscious at the time, didn’t. Now I’m glad I didn’t. Thanks so much for posting this. I hope others see it too.

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posted April 12, 2012 at 10:08 am

I read a yr or so ago that agave nectar was bad for you but have been wondering lately if that was really true. Glad to see this article and re-affirm my previous understanding of it! Thank you! SO….what about coconut sugar? Good or bad?

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posted March 23, 2012 at 9:54 am

Thanks for the encouraging comment!

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jill villalba

posted March 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Thank you Susan for keeping us informed. We need you!!

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