Judy Bethmann August 27, 2014 at 7:29 am #406
If dried agave is very alkaline ( as listed on http://foodary.com/429/best-alkaline-foods-servings/ ), then may I assume agave syrup is also?
Although I’ve heard of agave, I had to check what it really is before I could answer this. I’ve certainly never seen it as a food, and I can’t remember ever seeing it in a recipe.
It turns out that agave is a cactus-like plant from Mexico. I assume that is why it is described in the list as “Agave, dried (Southwest).” This information comes straight from the USDA database. Unfortunately, agave is one of the products I should probably have left off my list. The complete USDA database has many of these rarely used foods. That’s why I started using the Key Foods list. The full list is too full, and the Key Foods list misses out on too many healthy options. That’s why it’s great to discuss these items. Together, we can create some really useful healthy food lists.
There might well be some ancient recipes that use dried agave. If so, I’d love you to share them here. If not, I think it better to take agave off my list of alkaline foods.
In the USDA database, there are 4 listings for agave. The most alkaline by weight is the dried version already discussed. Raw and cooked versions are also quite alkaline. These would probably have made it to my next list to make up the top 200 alkaline foods. However, I cannot find recipes or sources for cooked or raw agave, so I’ll probably omit them.
The final version is the agave syrup that Judy asks about.
This appears in lots of recipes, and agave syrup is quite widely available. Unfortunately, there are 2 major health-related issues:
First, agave syrup is as near neutral as makes no difference. It is not wrong to include neutral and acid-forming foods in an alkaline diet. If the overall daily total is alkaline, then the diet is healthy. Agave syrup is not contributing to a healthy alkaline diet, and also has a very high fructose content.
Worse than that, there are fears that modern manufacturing techniques that are now adopted by the agave processing industry might lead to toxic substances. Certified organic agave syrup from a reputable manufacturer might be OK.
I’m not convinced that agave syrup is a good idea. What do you think?
Thanks Judy, sorry about the delay in replying.
I’ve found some data about stevia. According to the USDA database that I use, it is completely neutral. For 100g it has no recorded nutrient values. This might not be 100% accurate, but at the level of consumption in a normal diet, this doesn’t matter.
In theory, you can include as much stevia as you like, but there is another issue. By over-sweetening foods, you can come to rely on sweet tasting foods, Then, when stevia is not available, you tend to eat sugary foods. This is really a personal matter. I preferred to stop using artificial sweeteners, and lost the taste for sweet foods. It’s your choice.
Judy Bethmann August 27, 2014 at 8:43 pm #20
Interesting! I have been avoiding agave syrup and will probably continue to do do. As a sweetener, I’ve moved over to stevia. It was not mentioned on your old really big PRAL list, but I found a source that claims it’s good for gout. I really count on your PRAL charts for making decisions about what’s alkaline and what’s acidic, so I can strike a healthy balance.