If you substitute agave for sugar to keep your health in check, you might be fooling yourself.
Agave, a native plant common in the Southern United States and Latin America, has been known over the years due to its low glycemic content. This property has made it to be recommended by doctors for diabetes patients because it limits their blood sugar level from rising above the normal range.
However, don’t be fooled by different advertisements on the health benefits of agave. There is some scientific evidence revealing that the high levels of fructose present in agave may pose a greater danger to your health more than refined sugar does.
This article gives an insight into the disadvantages of agave and why not to substitute it with refined sugar.
REASONS NOT TO SUBSTITUTE AGAVE FOR SUGAR
1. AGAVE MAY DAMAGE YOUR LIVER
According to research, Agave nectar contains 85% fructose, an amount higher than that contained in regular sugar. High quantities of fructose overload the liver resulting in lipogenesis– a metabolic process through which excess fat from fructose is converted into fats.
The National Institutes for Health reports that high intake of fructose in your body is linked to increased risk of non-alcoholic liver disease. A fatty liver leads to inflammation of the liver and consequently liver damage.
People with non-alcoholic liver disease may experience symptoms like aching pain at the tummy, extreme tiredness, general weakness and unexplained weight loss.
2. AGAVE IS LINKED TO OBESITY
According to studies, a high level of fructose contained in agave is linked to weight gain. Excess fructose stored in the liver in form of fats triggers insulin resistance. This makes your body hormones fail to respond to insulin leading to weight gain.
High fructose levels in the body also increase your appetite levels leading to significant weight gain as a result of overeating. That’s why mice fed a high level of fructose reported an increase in weight gain compared to those fed with glucose.
So, if you substitute agave for sugar, you are likely to gain more weight than if you just stick to sugar.
3. AGAVE MAY CAUSE BLOATING AND ABDOMINAL PAIN
Ever felt stuffed, discomfort and sometimes pain in your digestive system after taking agave? Well, you might be among many reacting to agave syrup.
According to Pediatric Specialty Partners, agave nectar has been pointed out as one of the foods that cause bloating and abdominal pain in some people. This is because it contains a high level of fructose which may take longer to be absorbed by the body leading to a condition called fructose malabsorption.
Some people have thinner intestines making it hard for fructose to be pulled through their linings. This leads to either discomfort or bloating in the stomach.
Bloating also results from excessive production of gas in the body making your stomach appear bigger than usual.
4. AGAVE MAY CAUSE MISCARRIAGE IN PREGNANT WOMEN
Pregnant women who substitute agave for sugar may be at a high risk of getting a miscarriage.
According to this research, agave contains high levels of saponin, a bitter-tasting toxic plant found in organic chemicals. This element stimulates blood flow in the uterus causing it to contract hence miscarriage.
5. MANUFACTURING PROCESS REMOVES AGAVE’S NATURAL STATE
Some people substitute agave for sugar because of its natural state. What you don’t know is that agave must be processed into fructose and glucose to concentrate its sweetness levels.
Agave undergoes the process of heating and hydrolyzation to produce products such as agave nectar and syrups. This process breaks down the complex of nature of agave into simple sugars making it less natural just like refined sugars and many other sweeteners.
6. AGAVE CAN LEAD TO REDUCED FUNCTIONING OF THE BRAIN
According to various animal studies, high level of fructose found in agave may lead to reduced functioning of the brain. It affects the brain neurons by interfering with insulin resistance in the brain. This results in the loss of memories and learning disorders.
In addition, a study conducted on rats reported that those who consumed 11% showed worse effects than those who consumed 11% of normal sugar.
If your brain doesn’t function properly for a while, you may get symptoms like seizures, dementia and aphasia which is bad to your health.
7. CAN CAUSE TYPE 2 DIABETES
Do you know that type 2 diabetes has been reported to be the 7th leading cause of death in the world? This is according to the research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Mayo Clinic, reports that type two diabetes is triggered when your fats become resistant to insulin levels or when the pancreas is no longer able to produce the required insulin to manage blood sugar levels in the body.
According to the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, high levels of fructose in the body heighten your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
High level of fructose from agave converts to fats which is stored in your liver cells.
The fatty acids make your body become resistant to insulin levels in the blood triggering type two diabetes.
Also, when fructose is ingested into the body, it undergoes the process of oxidation thereby converting fructose to either glucose or lactose acid. These two elements trigger type two diabetes.
Factors that increase your likelihood of getting type two diabetes include; overweight, family history, inactivity and age.
So, if you are overweight, inactive, of old age and keep consuming agave syrup, you are at a high risk of contracting type two diabetes.
8. AGAVE CAUSES INFLAMMATION
Inflammation is the process by which your immune system reacts to either a germ or a foreign substance in the body. It, therefore, undergoes inflammation as a way of fighting against the bacteria presented to it.
According to the study conducted on the rats’ kidneys, fructose triggers inflammation by accelerating renal disease- the last stage of chronic kidney disease.
High level of fructose has been reported to trigger an endothelial inflammatory process leading to inflammation in the vascular cells.
Cancer is a disease caused by the sudden growth of abnormal cells in the body.
According to this study, a high level of fructose in agave is linked to increased cancer of the pancreases and small intestine.
This is because fructose promotes the production of flux through pentose phosphate which affects the synthesis of proteins in the body. This directly increases your risk of getting growth of the tumour.
10. AGAVE CAN CAUSE HEART DISEASE
Heart disease such as stroke and coronary heart disease has been reported to be the leading causing of deaths in the U.S.A. Almost 1 out of 4 people die out of heart disease.
Rats injected with fructose reported a high level of cholesterol in the body. This leads to accumulation of fats around the heart area triggering heart disease.
If you are of old age or have a family history with heart disease, substituting agave for sugar in your diets puts you at a greater risk of contracting heart disease.
If you are planning to substitute agave for sugar, the above disadvantages of agave should give you a clear indication not to. You’ll end up doing more harm to your health than good.
If you’re looking for that extra sweetness, take advantage of natural sweeteners such as stevia, xylitol and erythritol. They will not only give you the sweet; they’ll also offer healthier benefits with minimal side effects.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]