Foodprints Nutrition

Sorry Folks, Agave Syrup is Bad for You!

Sorry, Agave Syrup is Bad for You!

I spend a lot of time researching where my food comes from and it is very important to me to buy whole, least-processed foods, and to limit my family’s sugar intake. So, what I learned about agave syrup was very disheartening.

High Fructose Agave Syrup

Agave syrup or “nectar” is often touted for its low glycemic index—meaning that it is relatively low in glucose, and therefore does not raise blood sugar as much as other types of sugar or provoke as much of an insulin response. It may be low in glucose, but agave syrup is very high in fructose, a type of simple sugar found in fruit that can only be processed by your liver.

People tend to think that fructose is a benign sugar because it is found naturally in fruit. But, despite the name “fructose,” ounce for ounce, whole fruit actually has a relatively low concentration of fructose (10-20%) compared to processed sweeteners like agave nectar, high-fructose corn syrup, or cane sugar. And whole fruit comes with fiber and water that reduce how much of it you can eat, making it hard to consume very much fructose from fruit at all!

So just how much fructose is in agave nectar?

Agave syrups and nectars can often contain 70 to 90% fructose! Nowhere does this ratio of fructose to glucose occur naturally. By comparison, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has 55% fructose, and white cane sugar has just 50% fructose.

It should really be called HFAS: High Fructose Agave Syrup!

Health Problems Associated with Fructose

The fact that agave syrup is high in fructose is often hailed as a benefit of using it. What many people don’t realize is that concentrated fructose is probably worse for you than high amounts of glucose.

There are a number of health problems associated with eating too much fructose:

  • Fructose interferes with copper metabolism. This prevents collagen and elastin from being able to properly form. Collagen and elastin are components of the connective tissue which essentially holds the body together. A deficiency in copper can also lead to porous bones, anemia, defects of the arteries, infertility, high cholesterol levels, heart attacks, and an inability to control blood sugar levels.
  • When you take in fructose, it must first travel to the liver before it can be converted to glycogen—a source of energy. But if you don’t immediately burn this energy, the fructose gets converted to triglycerides—the fats in the blood that are associated with heart disease.
  • Fructose can make you fat. Blood triglycerides made from fructose are stored as fat, which increases the size of your fat cells, contributing to weight gain and obesity.
  • Consuming high amounts of fructose on a regular basis can contribute to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), which even children are now getting from all the high-fructose corn syrup in their diets. Most brands of agave syrup are higher in fructose than HFCS.
  • The excess triglycerides created when you eat fructose increase insulin resistance, thereby boosting insulin production to very high levels, which fosters the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes in a “back door” fashion.
  • Consumption of fructose has been shown to cause a significant increase in uric acid. An increase in uric acid can be an indicator of heart disease and can contribute to gout and other circulatory problems.
  • Fructose consumption has been shown to increase blood lactic acid, especially for people with conditions like diabetes. Extreme elevations may cause metabolic acidosis.
  • Consumption of fructose leads to mineral losses, especially excretion of iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc. This can lead to bone and tooth demineralization.
  • Fructose can cause accelerated aging through oxidative damage. Fructose contributes greatly to the creation of AGEs (advanced glycated endproducts), which are proteins that have inappropriately bonded to sugars in your blood. Fructose is the worst of the sugars for this, and when it bonds to proteins, these molecules stiffen the cells in your body, inhibiting their function (they literally age faster). This is the cause of arteriosclerosis, kidney problems and aging skin—the very types of damage seen in diabetic complications.

Ironically, diabetics have been advised to use fructose for sweetening because it doesn’t directly cause a glucose or insulin spike. But whether you are diabetic or not, there are many studies that link high fructose consumption to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, and obesity. High fructose consumption from any source, including agave, does massive damage to your body.

The Glycemic Research Institute announced that they have halted and banned all future clinical trials of agave, and legally “de-listed” and placed a ban on agave for use in foods, beverages, chocolate and any other products, due to results of 5 years of human in-vivo clinical trials on agave. Additionally, they have warned that manufacturers who produce and use agave in products can be held legally liable for negative health incidents related to ingestion of agave.

In sum: Agave syrup is bad for you.

How Agave is Produced

Agave is not naturally sweet like sugar cane, honey or fruit. In fact, agave is high in polysaccharides, and typically requires an intensive, industrial process to extract its sweetness on a commercial scale.

The main carbohydrates in the agave sap are complex forms of fructose called fructosans, one of which is inulin. In this state, the sap is not very sweet.

To produce agave syrup, juice is expressed from the core of the agave, called the piña. This liquid (or sap) is then heated anywhere from 120°F t 140°F for about 36 hours not only to concentrate the liquid into a syrup, but also to develop the sweetness.

When the agave sap is heated, the complex fructosans are hydrolyzed, or broken into smaller fructose units. The fructose-rich solution is then filtered to a product that ranges in color from light to dark depending on the degree of processing.

An alternative method of processing the agave juice without heat (“raw” agave) uses enzymes derived from Aspergillus niger (black mold) to hydrolyze the polysaccharide extract into fructose. Excess water is then evaporated using heat lower than 115°F.

Only a handful of companies use this method because it is labor intensive, and they cater specifically to the raw food crowd.

Whether by heat and chemicals or by enzymes, this process destroys all of the nutrients and other health promoting properties of the agave plant. Today’s agave syrup is not a whole or traditional food. It is a factory-made, modern product made on an assembly line.

A Spoonful of Sugar…

For most of our long existence on this planet, humans have eaten very little sugar. Most wild fruit was much less sweet than the hybridized fruit available today, and unless you lived in a tropical region, there were very few fruit varieties, which were only available in their season and could not be stored well.

Wild honey was rare and, as you can imagine, very hard to procure.

It was only in the past 300 hundred or so years that we actively exploited Third World countries in part to ensure a steady supply of sugar cane for First World tables. And it is only in the past 150 or so years that we began to hybridize our fruits in earnest to make them sweeter, larger, and more prolific.

It is even more recently that we began to grow and ship fruit on an industrial, international scale so things like strawberries and mangoes would be abundantly available all year round in all parts of the world.

And most recently of all, we have been using modern industrial and chemical processes to manufacture sweeteners not found in nature at all, like agave nectar.

Since that time, whether from fruit, honey, cane sugar, or hydrolized high-fructose syrups (corn, rice, agave), Americans have steadily increased our sugar intake up to the 130 pounds we each eat per year today.

The epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay and other degenerative diseases today would suggest that so much sugar from any source is maladaptive and harmful to our survival.

So what’s a health-minded person to do? Choose the least-processed, natural sweetener you like best and use it in moderation. Your body will thank you!

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61 Comments

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  • Loving Earth Raw agave is a good choice but again only in moderation.But because of the cost I have now gone back to raw unprocessed honey straight from a beekeeper and coconut sugar for baking(the little I do is mainly gluten free bread). It does make me think maybe the corn syrup & sugar producers are behind all this “agave is bad for you” stuff ,just a thought. I

  • Thanks for the informative post, I have just experienced two very bad headaches with Agave nectar, it took me a while to figure out the cause but really pleased I have isolated it. They happened 12 hours after having small piece of raw nut cake made with Agave. So watch out it can take a while to kick in. Its a pity as I was looking forward to using it as a natural alternative but hey who knew , it isnt very natural after all, back to the honey, dates etc

    • There are a lot of old references here to studies with results that have since been refuted. For example, studies have repeatedly demonstrated that the consumption of fructose by humans does not result in mineral loss or increase blood lactic acid levels. That latter also applies to diabetics and rather than a loss in copper, copper levels increased in subjects fed high amounts of fructose. Uric acid levels are not increased by fructose unless that daily intake is excess of 200 grams per day. That’s more than anyone consumes or would ever be likely to consume. In the U.S., the mean daily consumption of fructose is 49 g/day and no one, not even pop-swiggling teens, are consuming anywhere near 200 g/day. “Fructose can cause accelerated aging through oxidative damage”? Really? You don’t cite any references for that one. Let’s see the evidence from studies with humans. In the only human study I could find on oxidative results, glucose caused a significant increase in inflammation and free radicals whereas fructose at the same oral dose did not. And the Mercola-based claim of agave syrup not containing the enzymes found in the plant? Like him, you fail to name or quantify the enzymes or point out that numerous foods and herbal products are prepared with heat which would naturally result in the loss of enzymes, or that agave syrup has always been made with heat, even centuries ago by the Aztecs. Fructose can make you fat because it increases triglycerides? That’s only if you consume enough of it. How much is enough to increase triglycerides? Try over 100 g/day before they even so much as slightly budge in normal weight individuals. In case you haven’t noticed, the fructose-obesity hypothesis of 2004 has since been refuted on a number of grounds, including the notion that the consumption of fructose increased in the U.S. for the period to which the hypothesis applied. And the idea that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by fructose is another hypothesis. To your claim that “eating huge quantities of fruit is just as bad for you as eating a lot of table sugar”, please cite the human studies demonstrating that to be the case. The studies to date have shown that glycemic control is not decreased and weight gain is not increased in normal subjects or those with type 2 diabetes who consumed more versus less fruit.

      I’ve asked around for some years now and no one is using enzymes to make agave syrup. So-called “raw” agave syrup, made with lower temperatures and longer heating time, is widely available. As for agave syrups containing 92% fructose, just try to find one. That figure referred to the dry weight content with all the water removed. Although much higher than surveys are finding for the syrups, if one contained that much it would only contain less than 8% water and there would still be some amount of natural glucose. Question: How would you pour a syrup if it held only less than 8% moisture?

      • First of all, this post is over 4 years old, so a little bit about the processing of agave is outdated, but that is all. Iidea’s blue agave syrup was 90% fructose. They are now out of business. However, Nekutli is well known for their use of enzymes in processing and the owner of Madhava (Nekutli’s brand outlet) is on record all over the net bragging about their low temp enzymatic process. But even with a low-temp process, Nekutli’s agave is ±79% solids, ±21% moisture—which is an outrageous amount of fructose. Even HFCS is only 55% or so.

        A few studies in this post might be a little dated, but more recent evidence makes agave looks worse than ever. Google is your friend here, and there are ample studies bearing out the hazards of refined fructose on metabolism and nutrient uptake.

        The marketing moguls portray agave as part of traditional Mexican culture, but it’s not. Called miel de agave or miel de maguey, genuine agave syrup is actually made from the sap of the agave plant (not the starchy root bulb, like commercial agave), and it is boiled for hours and reduced much like a maple syrup might be prepared. The result is a very dark, thick liquid with a characteristic smell and strong flavor that isn’t palatable to most Westerners. Even to this day this dark syrup liquid is used to treat several illnesses. The strong syrup has a high concentration of mineral salts such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, as well as amino acids. It has been consumed since prehispanic times. But this traditional food is nothing like the commercial stuff you see on grocery store shelves.

        With the exception of a couple of brands, the vast majority of all commercial agave syrups are highly processed. It takes many processing operations to convert the starchy carbohydrates of the agave piña into a liquid nectar, including using caustic acids, clarifiers and filtration chemicals and results in a syrup that is from 70% – 92% pure fructose. (source and source.) There is no world in which a processed, industrial food full of refined fructose would be recommended on this Real Food website.

        Now, when it comes to the harms of refined fructose on metabolism, there is a ton of evidence (see the long list of source footnotes at end of this article for starters. The rest are linked below).

        In fruit, fructose is naturally occurring and contains enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fruit pectin which all help to digest and assimilate the fructose in the intestine. In contrast, refined fructose lacks amino acids, vitamins, minerals, pectin, and fiber and is metabolized in the liver where it may be a burden. Research also indicates that free refined fructose interferes with the heart’s use of key minerals like magnesium.

        More Research suggests that fructose actually promotes disease more readily than glucose. This is because glucose is metabolized by every cell in the body, but fructose must be metabolized by the liver. Animals studies show that the livers of animals fed large amounts of fructose develop fatty deposits and cirrhosis of the liver. Fatty liver disease and cirrhosis due to diet (as opposed to alcohol consumption) is increasingly common in humans too.

        These studies show that fructose consumption induces insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia, hypertriglycerolemia, and hypertension in animal models.

        Research has shown that in rats when fructose hits the liver with sufficient speed and quantity, the liver will convert much of it to fat. If this occurs chronically, it will induce insulin resistance — a condition that is now considered the fundamental problem in obesity and which leads to heart disease and type II diabetes.

        Furthermore, the science suggests that excess fructose consumption leads to tumor growth. Studies have shown that sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) actually drives the obesity epidemic.
        Additionally, many researchers also believe that it is sugar in the modern diet that provokes cancer. Current studies have shown that having insulin resistance actually promotes tumor growth, because in this condition the body has to secrete more and more insulin and/or insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and these chronically elevated insulin levels support malignancy.

        Fructose may also contribute to diabetes because it reduces the sensitivity of insulin receptors. This raises insulin levels and contributes to metabolic syndrome. Studies indicate that dietary fructose adversely affects macromineral homeostasis in humans. They suggest further studies are needed to see if a high fructose diet coupled with low dietary magnesium and marginal calcium leads to bone loss. Consumption of fructose causes a significant increase in the concentration of uric acid. An increase in uric acid can be an indicator of heart disease.

        As far as real, natural fruit goes, I am certain that eating 3 -4 pieces of fruit per day is just fine for most people. However, people who maintain frutarian diets (who are known to consume 50 bananas a day) are at grave risk of all sorts of health problems, starting with massive tooth decay. This is clearly too much fruit.

        For more on the hazards of refined fructose, including evidence for glycation:
        ^ Basciano H, Federico L, Adeli K (2005). “Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia“. Nutrition & Metabolism 2 (5). doi:10.1186/1743-7075-2-5. PMC 552336. PMID 15723702.
        ^ Mayes, PA (Nov 1993). “Intermediary metabolism of fructose“. Am J Clin Nutr. 58 (5 Suppl): 754S–765S. PMID 8213607.
        ^ Buemann B, Toubro S, Holst JJ, Rehfeld JF, Bibby BM, Astrup A (Aug 2000). “D-tagatose, a stereoisomer of D-fructose, increases blood uric acid concentration”. Metabolism 49 (8): 969–76. doi:10.1053/meta.2000.7724. PMID 8213607.
        ^ Davis, W (Saturday, December 06, 2008). “Yet another reason to avoid fructose“. The Heart Scan Blog. Archived from the original on 10 October 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
        ^ Ouyang X and others. Fructose consumption as a risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Journal of Hepatology. 2008 Jun;48(6):993-9.
        ^ Fields, M. Proceedings of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 1984, 175:530- 537.; Ivaturi R and Kies D. Mineral Balances in Humans as Affected by Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Sucrose. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 42, No. 2 (1992): 143- 151.
        ^ Levi B and Werman MJ. Long-term fructose consumption accelerates glycation and several age-related variables in male rats. Journal of Nutrition. 1998 Sep;128(9):1442-9.
        ^ H. Hallfrisch, et al.,The Effects of Fructose on Blood Lipid Levels, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 37: 5, 1983, 740-748.

        • Dawn,

          Agave syrup is not made from the root bulb of Agave or, as many others claim on the Web, from starch. The root is removed before the so-called “heads” (stems) are harvested which contain less than 1% starch. And let’s see the supposedly high concentration of minerals in the traditional syrup. If you had tried it, you would know that’s its so dark and strong-tasting that it can’t be used as a sweetener without seriously impacting the flavour of beverages and foods and darkening them.

          As for the syrups being “highly processed”, that’s just hyperbole from Dr. Mercola and the Weston A Price Foundation. Given the similarity in the way they are made from the sap of a plant by heating, filtration, and evaporation, you could say maple syrup is “highly” processed.

          You claim that Iidea is “out of business”, but when I checked online, I found the Iidea Company is still making agave syrup and very much in business.

          Nekutli has to my knowledge not been using enzymes and they haven’t supplied Madhava with agave syrup in years.

          If their syrup contain 79% solids, that doesn’t mean the solids were all fructose because the syrup also contain glucose, although much less than that in HFCS.

          In 2009, Dr. Mercola had an independent lab analyze 3 of the popular agave syrups sold in the U.S. for fructose by wet weight, meaning the amount in the form you buy at the store. Madhava contained close to 64%; Wholesome Sweeteners brand contained 67%; and NOW Foods brand contained 59% fructose. In terms of glucose, NOW Food brand also held 12.8%; Madhava’s syrup contained 10.1%, and Wholesome’s brand contained 5.8%. The low glucose contents would explain their low glycemic value compared to HFCS or table sugar which supply much greater amounts of glucose.

          In a survey of 19 agave syrups, the highest content of fructose by wet weight was 70.08% and the lowest content was 54%. Glucose contents were 3.6% to 11.4%.

          Even if the post is over 4 years old, the evidence was not sufficient then to show that fructose or HFCS are driving the obesity epidemic, which was merely an ill-conceived hypothesis published in 2004. For a start, see the following:

          Forshee RA, Storey ML, Allison DB, et al. A critical examination of the evidence relating high fructose corn syrup and weight gain. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2007;47:561-82.

          Sun SZ, Empie MW. Lack of findings for the association between obesity risk and usual sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in adults–a primary analysis of databases of CSFII-1989-1991, CSFII-1994-1998, NHANES III, and combined NHANES 1999-2002. Food Chem Toxicol. 2007;45:1523-36.

          Swinburn B, Sacks G, Ravussin E. Increase food energy supply is more than sufficient to explain the US epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90:1453-56.

          Song WO, Wang Y, Chung CE, Song B, Lee W, Chun OK. Is obesity development associated with dietary sugar intake in the U.S.? Nutrition. 2012;28:1137-41.

          White JS. Challenging the fructose hypothesis: new perspectives on fructose consumption and metabolism. Adv Nutr. 2013;4:246-56.

          Rippe JM, Angelopoulos TJ. Sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, and fructose, their metabolism and potential health effects: what do we really know? Adv Nutr. 2013;4:236-45.

          Insulin resistance? Not from daily doses of fructose at up to 120 g/day, which is far higher than the mean of 49 g/day in the U.S. See: Cozma AI, Sievenpiper JL, de Souza RJ, et al. Effect of fructose on glycemic control in diabetes: a meta-analysis of controlled feeding trials. Diabetes Care. 2012;35:1611-20.

          Contrary to what the Weston A Price Foundation claims, agave syrup is not being made with caustic acids. As for what you refer to as “clarifying chemicals”, what are they? The so-called chemicals listed by the Foundation are in most cases not chemicals at all but brand names of products, including one for a type of activated charcoal (Clarimex) and another for diatomaceous earth (Dicalite), both of which have long been used to filter water. Agave syrup is certified organic so some of the would-be chemicals couldn’t be used. If you check, you’ll find the same names were obtained from a long expired patent proposed for making the syrups but that no one is using but that the Foundation and Dr. Mercola presumed to be in use.

          For uric acid levels, you cite one study in 9 males for which a dose-dependent increase in serum levels was not found. Weigh that against 21 controlled clinical trials in which uric acid only showed a significant increase from 213 g/day or higher doses. See: Wang DD, Sievenpiper JL, de Souza RJ, et al. The effects of fructose intake on serum uric acid vary among controlled dietary trials. J Nutr. 2012;142:916-3. I conducted my own search for any and all studies that measured uric acid levels in humans following dosses of fructose and arrived at essentially the same conclusion two years earlier.

          As for uric acid being an indicator of heart disease, no one has demonstrated that it causes heart disease. It may be marker, but it’s not an established factor in the disease and no one is consuming 213 g of fructose per day.

          The matter of minerals and fructose consumption was reviewed in 1993. The body of studies found mineral absorption enhanced by fructose (see: O’Dell BL. Fructose and mineral metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 1993;58(5 suppl):771S-8S). In a further randomized crossover study, subjects consuming an extremely high experimental dose of fructose (145 g/day) showed increased absorptions of minerals, including calcium and magnesium. See: Holbrook JT, Smith JC Jr, Reiser S. Dietary fructose or starch: effects on copper, zinc, iron, manganese, calcium, and magnesium balances in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1989;49:1290-4.

          As for studies in rats showing that if sufficient fructose “hits the liver with sufficient speed and quantity, the liver will convert much of it to fat”, rats convert way more carbohydrate such as fructose to fat than we do. In people, it’s about 3% whereas in rats, at least 50% of the carbohydrate is made into fatty acids or what is known as de novo lipogenesis. For a candid discussion on the subject, search online for: Fate of fructose: Interview with Dr. John Sievenpiper. Evolving Health. May 26, 2012.

          • Thank you for making my case. True traditional miel de maguey is not made from the piña at all, and it is not palatable to Westerners as a sweetener. This is in contrast to the high-fructose refined agave syrups mass-produced today (which you so kindly pointed out the ridiculous fructose amounts. I don’t read Mercola so I wouldn’t have found those numbers.) From the very numbers you have provided, it is indeed High Fructose Agave Syrup–as bad, and often worse–than High Fructose Corn Syrup.

            I should have been more specific, the fructans and inulin from the agave (complex polysaccharides similar to starch) need to be processed chemically, thermally or enzymatically to become palatable. And blue agave seems to be processed very differently than agave salmiana as well, the former requiring more industrial processing than the latter. The owner of Madhava is on record all over the net, as far back as when Nekutli was supplying them, describing and defending his “vegan enzymatic process” for producing raw agave without heat or chemicals. He was under fire from raw foodists for calling his product “raw,” since making agave traditionally requires heat.

            I’m not sure what your vested interest is in encouraging people to eat processed sweeteners, especially on this site. At this point we are just dueling studies. Your short list does not sway me from the dozens and dozens of more recent studies (linked in my previous comment) looking at fructose and glucose metabolism and metabolic disorders, not to mention the extensive work of Dr. Lustig, Gary Taubes, and others. Just as there are studies still going around that say that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease, corn syrup is good for you, and GMOs are perfectly safe and harmless, there’s a study to support most points of view. But the overwhelming majority of evidence points to the bottom line: Americans consume far too much processed sugar, including and especially fructose, in just about everything, and our national health suffers enormously because of it. We have more and more children with diabetes and fatty liver disease from eating a diet full of HFCS and empty calories. The last thing we need is yet another refined sweetener! The standard American diet is already nutritionally bankrupt enough.

            This site advocates a factory-free diet for health, self-sufficiency and environmental reasons. I don’t advocate any food that your great-grandmother wouldn’t be able to recognize or even produce herself given the raw materials. This would rule out 99% of all industrially-produced agave syrups (as well as vegetable oils, margarine, white sugar and other industrial pseudo-foods). If you’re grandma makes homemade miel de maguey the old fashioned way, like some of the abuelitos where I live, more power to you. Otherwise, I always advise sticking to the kind of whole food, minimally processed sweeteners that can be made at home or procured locally: honey, real maple syrup, sorghum, panela, jaggery, etc., and using them in extreme moderation.

  • You’re catching a lot of flack for this lol. Sugar is addictive- and agave fits into that category, which explains the hostile rebuttals. Bottom like, we’re consuming TOO MUCH SWEETENERS, and agave is no different. The problem with agave is it’s touted as a health food. Sweetener isn’t a health food unless it’s a whole food, like a strawberry. No one is eating an agave plant…

  • This article was a real eye-opener for me – not to say a little depressing! Really need to do more research before just accepting some of these things as OK. What is a safe sweetener? Moderation of course always the best way to go with any of these things.

  • I saw your post in the Farm blog hop and it was my first choice to read because I have friends who are proponents of agave syrup. I read the whole post and am so glad I did . There is so much in this post worth re-reading and also to use in response to proponents of agave syrup. Thank-you ! I think one small seemingly insignificant thing you said really says it all ..”moderation”. If we practice moderation in all things, including diet, we would be far more healthy people physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Thank-you.

  • I’m sticking with stevia and honey. My favorite dessert is cottage cheese mixed with strawberries – nothing else – and it tastes just like strawberry ice cream! Who needs sugar, or agave, or any of those other fake sugars anyway! Thanks for the great article!

  • Phew! I am trying to figure out the white sugar substitute thing and it is DIFFICULT! I love to bake, and had switched to brown sugar, which I found out is basically white sugar. Now I feel stalemated, as I am overwhelmed by `do use this`, “no, don`t use that“. Sigh. But I really do appreciate this informative post! 🙂

    Any suggestions would be welcome!

  • There is life beyond Sugar! Okay we said that out loud.

    Our perceptions of sweetness may be also an important factor to consider in deepening our need for sweetness overall, what is our dictator tongue telling or indicating to us?

    It would appear that many of us are consuming way to much sugar in its myriad of forms, affecting our own “sweetness meters”. To do portend to be an expert on anything, hold the adage the more I learn, the less I know.

    Why not consider ‘resetting’ our “sweetness meters”, by eliminating all sources of sugars, fruit, veg sources as well. White rice, white potatoes, carrots, beets are just a few sugar sources. Certain you can dig up a better list, I could as well. Will do sometime soon, in the meantime, back to my comment.

    We eliminated all sources of sugars and sweetness, save our love for one another, for eight weeks, — promise it gets easier as you remain devoted to the quest. After 8 weeks of sugarless, existence … we celebrated the incredible sweetness of a red pepper. Red pepper was like candy, pure candy. That became our choice for dessert for some time after that. After we start allowing sugar sources back into our lives, we failed to notice how sweet the red pepper was. IT was as if some of those sweet things, though natural sources, left the back door open for the other sugar demons to sneak back into our dance of life, if you will. Agave, even though we also had the best, truly raw agave, use to sell it as well, no longer do, for a myriad of reasonings that make sense to us. After eliminating sugar for just 8 weeks, even 6, you will have reset your “sweetness meters”, then you will know directly from personal experience what we are sharing with you here today. It is awesome.

    We also did an 9 day juice feast, juicing only organic, freshly sourced and grown fruits and mostly veg, included lots of alkalining greens to the mix … wow, what a journey well worth exploring. After day 2 i was rampantly wanting food, day 3 had to go and look at the food we had just to know it was there, by day 5 or 6 was filled with laughter and a realization how ridiculous we have been about food in general, how incredibly over sized our “portion meters” were as well. This sort of juice feasting, not fasting, may just save your lives.\

    Our portions are more appropriate now, we live on a plant based love fuelled nutrition, since late 2006, we went 100% raw, though it is not and never was about the numbers, it was about and openness and willingness to remain open to what is right for our selves, each other and the planet, thus we follow a compassionate diet for world peace and a peace of mind as well. 🙂

    Have to say: Raw Agave at the beginning was just a part of an opening to our SHIFTING awareness, the source we had was truly raw and low heat processed. Even as such, like mentioned, was used only as an occasional treat, we have gained the wisdom the importance and reward is that as we recalibrate ourselves and live more in harmony with all of life, the call for sugars drop off, they become less sought after. An ancient adage, “Eat more bitter foods, and have a sweeter life” is about finding and maintaining balance overall. Bitter foods may be what will assist you greatly in your healing process. Over processed foods are for the lazy and the uninformed and the unwilling to put ourselves back into our own food preparations, seriously, it is not that challenging overall. Just our, just my opinion, but then again that is what the comment box is for.

    The mission of your blog, site is to empower us to reduce our personal imprint on the planet, we celebrate that. Learning more of what makes us tick, especially when it comes to what we deem as food and what we do with it, will facilitate us to reaching that common goal. When we first transitioned to becoming raw, becoming vegan became more doable for us, and started to make more sense on a nutritional level, for us.

    As we became more raw and vegan, we found our bodies better able to function and as a result started to actually gain more from eating less, we were ridiculous and we can look back and laugh at our little understandings back then.

    After awhile of sustaining ourselves on raw, vital foods, we realized that we could not finish what we put on our plates, in our bowls, our bodies were more fully satiated with less, for what we were putting into our bodies, was more nutrient rich, denser nutrition, we did not need the bulk.

    Our bodies began to slim as well, and the weird sensations we were having, we learnt to understand that was just us, unhooked, off the ‘white crack’ of the western world, interrupted the ‘mainlining of sweeteners of any source’, and found a suitable balance for ourselves. Whoa loves, what a ride it has been to emerge with a greater clarity and healthier personalities as well.

    If we want ketchup, if we want mustard or mayo, for instance, we make that ourselves as well. IF we want nut mylk, we make that too. We stop using commercially made body products as well. Do you have any idea what is in your beauty, health and or body products? YIKES. We stopped the toxic assault on our personages and eliminating hidden sources that were stressing our immune systems out.

    We had to work it out with our garbage collectors as they were getting increasingly hostile & frustrated towards us on not having, oft times no garbage to pick up, we now leave our can lid inverted if there is nothing there. Peace has been restored.

    This shift has lessen our imprint, we consume less, we continue to shrink our footprint, our lives are more enriched, more meaningful, we are living a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Mindfulness is greater part of our sacred experience of existing in a world full of confusion.

    We encourage others all the time to live passionately about what they believe in, even if at times they are alone, they really are not. Thank you for listening to us blogging, lots of love lulu and paisley

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50 Ways to Love Your Mother - Simple Steps for a Greener, Healthier Planet

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