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There are several things to consider when it comes to choosing the best organic agave. Depending on your preference, you might choose raw agave and can choose from different shades such as light, amber and dark agave. Each shade provides a slightly different flavor, which makes certain shades more preferable for certain foods or drinks. You also should make sure that the agave comes from a trusted brand to ensure high quality.
Organic agave is considered to be one of the safer sugar alternatives on the market, and it is commonly known as agave nectar or agave syrup. It is available in most health food stores as well as in some grocery stores and over the Internet. Before making the purchase, always read the label to ensure that the agave is indeed grown organically, without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Raw organic agave nectar is available in a clear form, which generally is more expensive, but the taste is not as strong as it is with the darker colors. During this process, the temperatures are kept below 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius) in order to preserve the living enzymes. You also can purchase raw organic agave nectar in different shades of light, amber and dark. These usually are processed at temperatures of 115-118 degrees Fahrenheit (46-48 degrees Celsius), and they usually are cheaper than the clear agave.
You also might consider different flavors of organic agave, such as vanilla, hazelnut, cinnamon and strawberry. Each type will bring out a unique flavor when added to different foods and drinks. In addition, darker shades of organic agave naturally have more of a caramel flavor, which makes them perfect for flavoring meat dishes and desserts. The lighter shades, on the other hand, are perfect for adding sweetness to coffee or tea, because they are not as strong and do not take away from the coffee or tea flavors.
When it comes to sugar substitutes, organic agave is healthier than sugar and some other sweeteners. It is especially a healthier choice for diabetics, because the glycemic index is much lower than sugar. Organic agave is not suitable for individuals with an intolerance to fructose, however, because of the high amount of fructose. Depending on the brand, some contain less than 60 percent fructose, and others can contain more than 90 percent. If you are unfamiliar with a brand or how much fructose it contains, you can contact the company for more information on its agave nectar.
If you are looking for an organic agave syrup to use in drinks or for syrup for your pancakes and waffles, there's one that Kyrstie Alley (the actress who has made losing weight her latest and greatest business) claims is the best organic agave product out there.
It's called 100% Weber Blue Agave - the highest quality (so the website claims) agave nectar available. The price of this product is surprisingly reasonable. If I couldn't already find a good product in my local health food store, I'd try this one.
I've been buying blue agave nectar for a few years because I had read that it doesn't cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
I just happened to read Dr. Susan Mitchells' blog (she's a nutritional expert) comparing agave nectar to stevia. She said that agave nectar is *supposed* to be safe for diabetics but there are no clinical studies that prove it yet.
On the other hand, stevia doesn't cause a spike in blood glucose levels or create gas or bloating. Stevia is also a non-calorie sweetener that has been used for hundreds of years in South and Central America.
At least now we have choices.
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