Is agave syrup the best sweetener for diabetes?
Some natural health advocates suggest that people with diabetes can substitute agave syrup for table sugar and other traditional sweeteners. For those with a sweet tooth, the promise of a better sweetener might seem too good to be true.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what it is. Agave is not a good alternative sweetener for people with diabetes.
Is agave a good alternative sweetener?
Agave is a group of succulent plants that grow in warm climates, particularly the southwestern United States and Mexico.
Although it can be used as a sweetener, blue agave is high in carbohydrates, and produces nectar that is high in a type of sugar called fructose.
Some people in the alternative health community have turned to agave as a potential alternative to table sugar and other sweeteners. Support for agave stems from it being a vegan sweetener as well as its glycemic index (GI).
The higher a food's GI, the more it increases levels of glucose in the blood. Agave boasts a lower GI than most other sweeteners, which means that it is less likely to cause blood sugar spikes.
GI, however, is not the only - or the best - way to assess whether a food is healthful for people with diabetes. A 2014 study suggests that low-GI foods may not improve how the body responds to insulin.
For people already eating a healthful diet, the study also found that low-GI foods produced no improvements in cardiovascular health risk factors, such as levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood.
Agave contains higher levels of fructose than table sugar and most other sweeteners. The body releases less insulin in r Continue reading