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The Lowdown on Agave Nectar

Often times when we are out doing tastings at stores or festivals, people will ask us about Agave.   So here are the questions we get asked most frequently.  Plus we’ve included more helpful links as well should you want to do some more investigating into this blissfully sweet nectar.

What is Agave?  Agave syrup or nectar is a natural sweetener extracted from the Agave plant (we use the pina- the heavy heart of the plant).  Traditionally, the indigenous people of Mexico gathered the sweet juice to prepare special celebratory beverages.  The Agave plant is considered the “Mexican Tree of Life and Abundance”, and is also known as “honey water” because it flows from the leaves and root when cut...

 

 

All About Agave Website

 

Where is it from and how is it made?  Coconut Bliss sources our Agave from a state-of-the-art, organic certified, cooperatively owned processing facility and farm in Jalisco, Mexico.  The process used to make our agave is quite simple.  The agave plants naturally thirve in this environment and require no inputs of any kind – no fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides- not even water!  The pinas are harvested by hand, cleaned, ground up, and sprayed with water to remove the juice.  The juice is then gently heated to break down the inulin into fructose, filtered for impurities, and finally evaporated using only heat and a vacuum to create a thick and luscious syrup. 

See our Blog posts from our trip to Jalisco, Mexico to visit our Agave producers:

Doug Visits our Agave Farm Part 1

Doug Visits our Agave Farm Part 2

I heard agave is bad for me, is that true?  Not too long ago a well known Doctor wrote an article claiming that agave was no better than corn syrup.  This set off a ripple effect of articles, rumors, and concerns.  The article claimed that agave is processed in the same fashion as High Fructose Corn Syrup and that it had virtually the same effects on the body.  The accusations were alarming not only to consumers, but to us as makers of a product that we have the highest integrity in creating.

Larry’s Blog post "Let's Talk About Agave" in response to this article.

We have done an extensive amount of research on fructose in the diet, and clearly found that there was blatant misinformation in that and subsequent articles.  What we have found is that agave is only problematic when taken in excess.  In most people it causes no difficulties in moderate amounts (50-60 grams per day).  Coconut Bliss is a dessert, not a staple food, and moderation and a healthy diet are essential.  We asked a highly credentialed nutritionist, Buck Levin, Ph.D., R.D., for his assessment of the health properties of Coconut Bliss, and he concluded this about agave: “Given the health research on fructose as a dietary risk factor, the use of agave syrup as an ice cream sweetener seems far from excessive and also removed from research based health concerns.”  To put this into perspective he says "a large apple contains slightly more fructose than a serving of Coconut Bliss." 

Buck’s full article, including extensive documentation. 

Our advice to anyone who has sugar sensitivities is to avoid all sweeteners.  If you are simply trying to make a healthful substitution for sugar, then agave can be quite satisfying. Our own research into the data (as well as our own personal experience) reassures us that agave syrup can be part of a healthy diet, and we continually receive wonderful emails from customers, many of whom have challenging conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, Diabetes, or are the parents of autistic children, that affirm this. 

We encourage you to listen to your body, how does it respond to agave?  Do you get headaches or heart palpitations?  Or do you just get a blissful, yummy satisfaction?  Either way, your body will let you know. 

Another very clear and well documented paper about agave syrup, fructose, and other sugars, can be found here.