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Over the last few years Agave syrup has gained in popularity and has grown to become a popular alternative to sugar. It is reputed for being low GI and high in Inuline a group of polysaccharides which belongs to the water soluble fibre family, is not digested by humans and is beneficial to the bowel flora. This would be fantastic news for all those with a sweet tooth if it wasn’t also very high in fructose. In fact the ratio Inuline/fructose can vary from 20 to 80% of the total weight and it is impossible to know.

The trouble with fructose:
Fructose is a simple sugar which is naturally found in fruits, honey etc. Its GI is relatively low. It does not raise blood sugar because it is absorbed in the small intestines and goes straight to the liver. When combined with fruit fibres and other sugars it will be absorbed gradually and utilised for energy but when concentrated by heat it becomes high fructose (HF) syrup and agave syrup amongst others.
agave-syrup-sugar


Fructose has been the object of much polemics and research of recent years and is associated with elevated triglycerides, fatty liver and intra-abdominal fat/obesity. This is because if not used immediately for energy it will be transformed into fat directly by the liver and deposited in nearby tissues and arteries.


Fructose has also been shown to inhibit leptine levels. A hormone produced in the stomach that will contribute to feelings of satiation. So not only does it turn into fat but it also stops you feeling full so you eat more. How un-desirable is that but terribly convenient for all the soft drink manufacturer (the main ingredient in soft drinks is HF syrup) and agave syrup producers !!

To be followed...
(Next month we will look at the best sweeteners and why)

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