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Volume II
December 21, 2007

Agave and Diabetes

Hi Desi,

My name is Nanette and I live in Gladstone, Oregon. My partner, Donna, and I are opening a diabetic bakery creating lovely pies, cakes, pastries, muffins, and more.

I spoke with Barbara today about some concerns we have regarding Agave sweetener and she suggested that I contact you for the answers.

I have been researching Agave. I love the fact that it has a low glycemic index, but my concern is the 16 carbs per tablespoon. How is that going to effect my clients who are carb counting and my insulin dependent customers? I am hypoglycemic and watch my carbs while my husband is a insulin dependent diabetic and watches everything.

BIGGER QUESTION: Can a insulin dependent person eat Agave sweetened food and what effect does it have on them? Do you have more documentation that supports diabetics using Agave. I read that you have the support of the ADA.

Donna and I would love to use this product. Maybe you could pass these questions along to right person. How does using Agave effect the baking properties - browning, height in rising; are cakes light or heavy? I checked some of the baking recipes on your website and they all called for granulated sugar and/or brown sugar, but not Agave. Do you know why that is?

Donna and I would so appreciate a reply from you with the answers to these questions. Barbara asked to be cc: also so she can have the answers when other people call with the same questions.

Thank you for your time and expertise.

Nanette Goin

Hi Nanette,

There have been a few companies that have conducted research on Agave Nectar and it really seems to be taking off as one of the best sweeteners on the market. The problem with most sweeteners is that they are manmade (usually through a chemical process) which our bodies don’t recognize. Whenever the body doesn’t recognize a substance it’s best defense is to store it in fat cells.

The research conducted by is some of the best out there. After studying their research and asking around we decided to sell that brand and only that brand. Like Olive Oil of recent years there has been some adulterating in the agave market. If you look at a chemical analysis of agave, you’ll see things like 50% fructose and a small amount of glucose. But if you run a chemical analysis of the different manufactures of agave you’ll see added elements like Sucrose, Maltose, Tetramaltose, Mannitol and others. You definitely have to be careful about the brand you use… especially when catering to diabetics. If you think about it, just because someone without diabetes can “deal” with sugar that doesn’t mean it is good for them.

The Glycemic Research Institute in Washington DC ran extensive tests on Agave and found that Volcanic Nectar was the only brand of agave to be Low Glycemic and Diabetic Friendly. Here is the full report:

Because Agave Nectar is so sweet you can use less in your recipes thus bringing your calorie count down. So to answer your question, if you get the right kind of agave… your diabetic customers will love your agave sweetened products! Good luck and let me know how they turn out!

Hope this helps,

Desiri Wightman,
Registered Dietitian

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