Katherine asked me this morning between classes why agave nectar should be avoided and suggested I post about it here on the blog. She, like many others who have pledged to eat better and clean up their pantries, switched to sweetening with agave nectar due to it's low glycemic index rating.
Below are some excerpts from an article I found that details the manufacturing process of agave nectar and explains why it's not a good choice from a raw foods diet perspective, which is mostly paleo except no meat. You can read the full article here.
....Agave Syrup is not a “whole” food. It is a fractionated and processed food. Manufacturers take the liquid portion of the agave plant and “boil” it down, thus concentrating the sugar to make it sweet. This is similar to how maple “sap” that comes directly from a tree is heated and concentrated to make maple “syrup.” Agave Syrup is missing many of the nutrients that the original plant had to begin with.
....Agave Syrup and other concentrated sweeteners are addictive, so you end up trading a cooked addiction (eating candy bars or cookies) for a “raw” addiction which is not much better. Eating concentrated sweeteners makes it harder to enjoy the sweet foods we should be eating – whole fresh fruit since they don’t seem as sweet by comparison.
....agave needs to be hydrolyzed so that the complex fructosans are "broken down" into fructose units or it won't be sweet!!
Robb Wolf often refers to agave nectar as "Liquid Death" and compares it to corn syrup. In keeping with a whole foods and paleo diet, free and clear of processed anything, sweet things are hard to come by. Sometimes we just have to come to terms with the fact that the "sweet" we grew up with (and possibly became addicted to) isn't natural.