22/10/13

Is Agave Healthy?

When developing new Chia Pod flavors, we want to seek out the most nutritious and best tasting ingredients nature has to offer. We explored agave as a natural sweetener, but quickly discovered it isn’t as healthy as its all natural reputation portrays.  I even mentioned it as potential sweetener to Kelly Slater when he came to visit the Chia farms in July. He let us know that agave actually contains high levels of fructose and is not a healthy choice.

To continue to educate myself on agave, I read Mary Toscano’s book Sweet Fire. Agave is made from fructans found in the sap of the agave plant, which is naturally occurring. However, Toscano explains “as the manufacturers process the sap into syrup, the fructans break down into single fructose molecules… depending on the amount of processing, agave syrup can contain as much as 90% fructose.” High fructose corn syrup is commonly known as an unhealthy sweetener, and contains 55% fructose. The much higher concentrations of fructose in agave are not natural and can be harmful to your body.

Toscano further describes how unlike glucose, which is immediately usable from the bloodstream, “fructose is diverted to the liver for processing. The liver converts some of the fructose into glycogen (to replenish its sugar stores) but most is converted into fat, cholesterol, and the waste product uric acid.”  This fat producing process can lead to other issues such as heart and fatty liver disease.

Due to our realization that agave is not as healthy as it can be depicted, we decided against using it in Chia Pods. In fact, Chia Pods contain no added sugars. The sweetness you taste in Chia Pods occurs from the natural sugars of the fruit. As we continue to innovate, we will keep our commitment to health and wellness at the forefront of our new products.

Have a great week,
John Foss

For more information, you can watch Mary Toscano discuss what’s wrong with agave here and check out her website: www.marytoscano.com.