One of the things I do is develop recipes, write blog posts and articles as well as consult on all things cooking related for Bob Greene's Best Life Diet. One of the perks of this work is collaborating with Janis Jibrin, a DC based Nutritionist. Janis is a scientist and when you ask her a nutrition question you do not get a squishy answer you get an explanation which includes details about the food in question and how your body processes that food...if she does not have an answer she turns to the science: scientific journals and leadings experts in the field- and analyzes the latest information.
A question that has been on my mind and that I get asked a couple of times a week is about whether agave nectar is a good substitute for sugar...
This is an excerpt by Janis from Bob Greene's recently released book, The Life You Want, Simon and Schuster December 28, 2010
Basically all calorie-containing sweeteners—white sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, fruit juice sweetener, dextrose, or maltose—are about the same healthwise. The only exception is plain fructose, which is being used in products like energy drinks and some foods marketed to those with diabetes, because it doesn’t raise blood sugar quickly. Some animal studies, and now a few human studies, suggest that fructose causes a spike in artery-clogging cholesterol and triglycerides, promotes weight gain in the dangerous abdominal area, and increases inflammation, a trigger to a host of diseases. (Agave syrup is 80 percent or more fructose, so in my book, it’s basically fructose.)
......I’d recommend steering clear of all forms of fructose (including the popular “crystalline fructose”) or agave syrup until the safety has been established.
Janis goes on to say that she is following the research and her position may shift...in the meantime I continue to use agave nectar but very sparingly and only if it is the best reacting or tasting sweetener for something I am making. However, I use it with moderation and never use it if another non fructose sweetener can produce the same results. So for those of you using agave in the name of a healthful choice take note!