Sacred Chocolate: Raw, Stone-Ground, Organic & Vegan > Sacred Chocolate Media & Articles > Information > The Agave Blues by David Wolfe
Copyright 2010 David Wolfe (www.davidwolfe.com)
Agave products originally began to be consumed as a New World beverage in ancient times, probably in Mexico. The agave plant (sometimes called “The Century Plant”) is a very hardy desert succulent that has been categorized in its own Linnaean Family, now termed the Agavaceae. After about ten to twelve years, the edible agave varieties (blue agave, etc.) begin to develop a large fruiting stem at their center. This stem grows very strongly and rapidly eventually opening up flowers in its upper reaches that after pollination (usually by hummingbirds) turn into seeded fruits. The shape and structure of this flowering and fruiting stem is so unique that they were used in the background of original Star Trek episodes as alien plants on alien planets. The dried agave fruiting stems are often cleaned out, polished, and turned into didgeridoos.
To see Dr. Lustig’s presentation on fructose, click here.
All this chemistry obviously has nothing to do with how pulque was originally made and how the agave plant was originally used. The use of these chemicals also puts any organic certification of agave into question.
Other sweeteners to avoid, besides common agave:
The market is flooded with companies and products using all different kinds of sweeteners. Always select products containing certified organic sweeteners due to potential contamination from genetically modified corn and other crops that may contain glufosinate herbicides that damage your friendly healthy bacteria. Remember that certified organic sweeteners cannot be genetically modified (GMO).
Dr. Mercola on Agave:
Mike Adams on Agave:
Retrieving Agave Liquid for Pulque:
Dr. Gabriel Cousens
Dr. Lustig on Fructose:
High Inulin Agave Resource:
Maple Sugar as a Better Sweetener:
*Notice how low maple syrup is in fructose. This is another positive for maple-sweetened foods.
Copyright 2010 David Wolfe (www.davidwolfe.com)
Friday, May 9, 2014 11:45:19 PM
What do you know about cold evaporated agave syrup? I have been told that this method ensures enzymes are intact and avoids it being considered free fructose.
Thursday, January 24, 2013 08:20:17 PM
I'd really like if you could amend your information on Rapadura. It is not highly processed and its not the same as Evaporated Cane Sugar which is highly processed and being snuck in by manufacturers on packaging as "Healthy"
rapadura is dehydrated at a low heat and is not separated from molasses, which is natural in sugar cane
It is not highly processed at all
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 05:27:42 AM
What about "Just Like Sugar" which I have been using? It tastes better than Stevia and is used the same way. I love the raw coconut sugar, it tastes a bit like maple sugar to me. Raw honey is wonderful too. Whatever happened to using dates? Why did so many raw fooders stop using dates for a sweetener? Nature's unprocessed products are always the best.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 12:41:39 PM
I disagree with Mercola and find him a self promoting Dr with no nutritional background to add to his cred and he also advocated for honey and (surprise!) he sells Honey on his site. I have researched agave to death and this article (one of many) says the agave thing best with the best science discussion, science is left out in the Mercola discussions I see. I still buy agave from a farm in Miami where it is royal blue agave low heat processed and organic. I buy it from the refridge section of Whole Foods Market (18.00!) but worth every penny and it tastes incredible, unlike any agave I have tasted. The farm is glaserorganicfarms.com/
and the article that blows the Mercola agave myth away with good links and sound science is:braintoniq.com/is-agave-bad-for-you-fallacy.php
Monday, July 5, 2010 04:20:20 PM
See Mercola update with testing:
It would be great for you to get testing on your product and have full transparency around your process and be an excellent example for the agave industry, so we can weed out the low quality agave products.
Monday, July 5, 2010 03:06:14 PM
There has been a lot of misinformation on the web these days about agave syrup. Truth be told, there are some companies that add bad things to their agave, including High Fructose Corn Syrup, to cut costs. But the process of extracting syrup from a plant that already contains syrup (like a maple tree, or an agave plant) is nothing like the process of turning corn into syrup.
The process of producing 100% Blue Agave (the only species we use) syrup does not involve enzymes or chemicals of any kind. The aforementioned chemicals in this article are used specifically in the HCFS industry, not in the blue agave syrup industry.
Sweet Cactus Farms/Agave International is the original agave sweetener company—in the business for almost 17 years. Ours is 100% Blue Agave, no fillers, no chemicals, no additives of any kind. And certified by an internationally recognized scientist to be safe for diabetics. We are truly the only company certified safe for diabetics. We have hundreds of loyal customers who are diabetic.
I’ve seen a lot of misinformation about fructans and inulin as well. The easiest way to clear up the crazy comparisons on the web is to let you know that breast milk is 80% inulin. No mother is poisoning her baby by breastfeeding.
A little heat is all we use (118 degrees F), which is not at all like the highly mechanized process (using chemicals and enzymes) of turning corn in to HFCS.
The problem is that Dr. Mercola doesn’t know anything about agave. He claims to be addressing the problems with his article in June that said agave was processed the same way as High Fructose Corn Syrup, which was totally false. Now, Mercola is backtracking and saying he was addressing how SWEET agave is.
Sweeteners are supposed to be sweet. They are not a food or a food group.
Dr. Johnson, Mercola’s “expert” on this matter, says:
“We have not done any specific research with agave or honey.”
So, Mercola’s “expert” is no expert at all.
Dr. Mercola seeks to confuse people. He says there are “loads of studies,” but fails to mention even one. Then, he compares agave to smoking. Truly, listening to this guy is bad for your health.
Sunday, July 4, 2010 06:26:48 AM
There are other nutritionists who, like David points out, are rolling their eyes at the new anti-agave articles (used to be sucrose... now it's agave). A good compilation of all of the articles is at the home page of Brain Toniq. You'll find it the first link in any Google search. A must-read.
Thanks for the information, David.
|Diana Allen, MS, CNS||
Saturday, July 3, 2010 12:31:12 PM
Selina, try stevia or one of the polyols (xylitol, erythritol). I don't believe there is any sucrose in agave (bound glucose + fructose) but there may be a tiny bit. Good luck - what a tough issue to deal with.
Monday, May 31, 2010 01:19:16 PM
...is saying adios to Agave!!!
Friday, May 28, 2010 10:01:37 AM
I'm so grateful for the ongoing research you do for us. One never knows when the next "great" thing is indeed another thing to investigate.
Thursday, May 27, 2010 09:54:15 AM
Although it is a good idea to use a range of sweetners, some of these experts may have their own agendas and may wish to promote their own products as the 'best' sweetner. Fractose occurs in so many foods including apples, is something humans have ate since the dawn of time bad? I dont think the jury is out, health experts keep changing their minds.
Have a read of this article for the other side of the story, just search for "The Is Agave Bad For You Fallacy".
Friday, May 21, 2010 09:34:42 AM
I have a son with CSID - Congenital Sucrose Isolmaltose Deficiency, basicly an enzyme deficiency where they cant breakdown sucrose. I thought agave would be the perfect sugar substitute, perhaps not! Can anyone help me find something else that may be suitable.
Thursday, April 29, 2010 02:12:26 AM
Thanks for directing me here! Excellent article. And you are right, can't really sum it up in a sentence. Thank you social media - I'm sharing with everyone!
Monday, April 26, 2010 10:41:00 AM
Thanks for your great blog--and due diligence! While Wholesome Sweeteners doesn't know the source of Dr Mercola's information, we share your concerns about his assertions and allegations--especially regarding our Organic Blue Agave nectars. Wholesome's CEO, Nigel Willerton, responded directly to the claims. (For another 3rd party view, GreenSmoothieGirl's blog has another perspective, too.)
Sunday, April 25, 2010 07:37:37 PM
I STILL BELIEVE RAW UNFILTERED HONEY TO BE THE BEST SWEETENER. IT CONTAINS MANY MINERALS AND THE DARKER HONEYS ARE GOOD FOR STRENTHENING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. OF COURSE, EVERYTHING IN MODERATION! HAPPY HEALING.
Sunday, April 25, 2010 02:40:34 AM
What a wonderful page, David. So very welcoming. I really love food; real food; good, wholesome food. I am so glad I have found your page, you are filling in some gaps of my knowledge. Thanks, Jo
Sunday, April 25, 2010 12:06:33 AM
When I tried agave it tastes to me just like from what I remember pancake corn syrup. It was just too sweet for me so I avoided it. My favorite sweetner is honey (raw and local) which they have mentioned in the bible. I also thoroughly enjoy David's honey drinking trick! :)~ I also like using licorice root, mesquite and cashews to sweeten my foods.
Friday, April 23, 2010 09:46:16 PM
There is no mention of brown rice syrup, can you give us some information on this and if it is an acceptable sweetener.
|Michelle M. Heinrich||
Friday, April 23, 2010 10:45:07 AM
Any information on Jerusalem Artichoke Syrup?
Friday, April 23, 2010 10:42:13 AM
There are a number of incorrect assumptions in both Mercola's, as well as Sally Fallon's anti-agave articles. While too much of any sweet (including the great sacred chocolate) isn't good, to demonize one particular component of natural sugars doesn't serve any of us. Fortunately, there are some well-balanced responses as well as other raw food writers coming out against some of the misconceptions around sweeteners. Do a search for 'The Is Agave Bad For You Fallacy' as well as writings by raw food chef Matthew Kenney on his Facebook. That's a start.
|Chad Reardon "Mr Lava"||
Friday, April 23, 2010 02:30:37 AM
David, thanks again for your amazing re-search...
What about Dextrose that Dr. Mercola is suggesting as an alternative? ...
Even more SHOCKING...
David, When are you going to address the important questions in regard to "Crack-Cacao" from Jeremy Saffron and the gang?
Please, I have been on HOLD for months waiting for a response from you buddy...I am raising 5 kids too...Gotta know the truth always...
David, What is YOUR website to buy products from then?...man you had to leave NFL...bummer...finally heard the truth about it from you...wow
Alo-HA from Maui...
Thursday, April 22, 2010 03:40:44 PM
Great article! Thank you for all this information in one place.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 08:48:41 PM
Perhaps we humans are being gently but surely guided away from crutches, including sweeteners, leading to cleaner and purer bodies, minds, and spirits. The less harmful sweeteners can be a bridge, but maybe not the destination for our ultimate food intake. I will be glad when I learn this lesson fully.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 07:33:48 PM
PS. AS always, Avocado, you are a nutritional scholar and will live a long long time.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 07:30:05 PM
Good post! Important information. It seems that we flow from one vice to another in the aim of satisfying our desire for a kick of sweet. I find essential oils, hugs, and smiles very powerful sweet satisfying. I knew that agave did not make me feel so good, and left me wanting more. I am a pleasure lover and find that Sacred Heart -- satisfies also!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 08:05:52 AM
great article! cleared up much confusion. posted to my facebook page, and the luzvida facebook page. luzvida is for wheatgrass, but i use it to help inform the southern cone about what is new on the nutrition front.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 03:10:23 PM
So amazing. I love your knowledge and insight! Change my life two years now. My eyes are wide open.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 02:55:24 PM
I have been using Sunrider concentrated liquid stevia everyday for over 20 years... Dr. Chen manufactures many of the Stevia products on the market, including many dry stevia products. It is my understanding that his product, Sunectar and Sunny Dew are the purest on the market...
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 12:56:53 PM
Like everything else overdoing something is sure not good for you. The problem with high fructose is that we are eating tons of it, as well as trans fats and salt in the way of processed food. Fructose is not the only reason cancer is on the high, but all the chemicals that are free in the environment. I would like to see some serious bibliography in this article and less web pages. I don’t mind people express their opinions but, I am very tired of the ones who express their opinions as if it was serious scientific research.
|Michelle S Rademacher||
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:28:32 AM
Thank you for posting this!!!!....I have been patiently waiting for it:) The company I work for only uses Ultimate Superfoods Agave - yay!! However, for us as a family I will also make those shifts to some of the products you mention above as we are dealing with cancer (aren't we all really to a certain extent). Blessing to you and please keep sharing the knowledge - Peace!