That said, the starting process is the same. The plant is first cut and pressed to extract the sugary sap.
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While this sap is high in sugar, it also contains healthy fiber like fructans, which are linked to beneficial effects on metabolism and insulin 2. This process — which is similar to how other unhealthy sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup are made — destroys all of the health-promoting properties of the agave plant. Generally speaking, foods with a higher GI rating cause greater blood sugar spikes and may affect your health more negatively 5 , 6 , 7.
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Unlike glucose , fructose does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels in the short term. Agave nectar has a very low GI — primarily because almost all of the sugar in it is fructose. It has very little glucose, at least when compared to regular sugar. A recent study in mice compared the metabolic effects of agave nectar and sucrose, or plain sugar, after 34 days. The mice ingesting agave nectar gained less weight and had lower blood sugar and insulin levels 8. In such a short-term study, the glucose in plain sugar elevates both blood sugar and insulin levels, whereas fructose does not.
What's Wrong with Agave Nectar?
The harmful effects of agave — and sugar in general — have very little to do with the glycemic index but everything to do with the large amounts of fructose — and agave nectar is very high in fructose. Glucose is an incredibly important molecule. It is found in many healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables — and your body even produces it to make sure that you always have enough.
Whereas every cell in your body can metabolize glucose, your liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts 9.
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Eating a lot of added fructose can wreak havoc on your metabolic health This is because your liver gets overloaded and starts turning the fructose into fat, which raises blood triglycerides. Many researchers believe that some of this fat can lodge in your liver and cause fatty liver disease 11 , 12 , Although fructose doesn't raise short-term blood sugar levels, it can contribute to insulin resistance when consumed in large amounts.
This can cause major increases in long-term blood sugar and insulin levels, strongly raising your risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes 14 , It may also cause belly fat accumulation The Ultimate Bacon Macaroni Cheese.
Are stevia and agave syrup healthier sweeteners than sugar? - The Globe and Mail
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Fetching bibliography My Bibliography Add to Bibliography. Generate a file for use with external citation management software. Create File. J Med Food. Epub Jul Abstract Agave nectar is a fructose-rich liquid sweetener derived from a plant, and is often promoted as a low glycemic alternative to refined sugar.