What are agave benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are agave pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers.
Food is something we consume every day. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on agave benefits and side effects.
You are going to learn all about agave benefits and side effects. This will include agave benefits for your health and potential risks, agave water footprint and carbon footprint, sustainability, if agave is vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more.
After learning if agave is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about agave benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.
Top Agave Benefits And Side Effects
Energy: agave nectar is bad for / increases the risk of blood sugar spikes
Longevity: agave nectar is good for / helps to not raise blood sugar or insulin levels in the short term | agave nectar is bad for / increases the risk of fatty liver disease, heart disease, increase levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, poor metabolic health, type 2 diabetes
Appearance: agave nectar is good for / helps weight loss | agave nectar is bad for / increases the risk of possible belly fat accumulation
Additionally, agave is…
- Gluten Free
- Not a common Food Allergen
- Agave nectar in moderation is ok for diabetes since it does not raise blood glucose levels as rapidly as table sugar
Water footprint: likely low, it takes 6,549 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of agave fibers / 785 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of agave fibers
Carbon footprint: low, 0.1 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of sugar and sweeteners, a car driving equivalent of .25 miles or .5 kilometers
Destruction: moderate, agave nectar production is moderately sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc., manufacturing agave nectar requires the farmer to kill the plant completely, a problem because the plants are not a quickly renewing resource
Agave nectar is…
Kills: None, agave nectar production does not require any animals to be killed
Harms: None, agave nectar production does not require any animals to be used
Indirectly kills or harms: None, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from agave nectar production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat
Agave nectar is…
- Harmful to wildlife and ecosystems unless organic
Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible
Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation
Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits
- May have labor issues
Where does most agave nectar come from?
The world’s top agave syrup exporting country is France, followed by USA, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Indonesia, China, Slovakia and Swaziland.
What are agave nectar uses?
Agave nectar is used for syrup, cocktails, drinks, lemonades, desserts, dressings, fruit salads, and more.
Is agave nectar nutritious?
Agave nectar is high in fructose and low in glucose.
Other names for agave nectar are agave syrup and maguey syrup.
agave nectar is gluten free.
Is agave nectar gluten free? Yes, agave nectar is naturally gluten free. Agave nectar does not contain gluten.
While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…
Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:
- recurring abdominal pain
- chronic diarrhea
- numbness in hands and feet
- chronic fatigue
- joint pain
- unexplained infertility
- low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.
Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List
agave nectar is not a common food allergen.
Is agave nectar a common food allergen? No, agave nectar is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to agave nectar but it is relatively rare by comparison.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:
- crustacean shellfish
- tree nuts
These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
agave nectar likely has a low water footprint.
Does agave nectar have a high or low water footprint? Agave nectar likely has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.
What is the water footprint of agave nectar? It takes 6,549 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of agave fibers / 785 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of agave fibers.
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!
We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
agave nectar likely has a low carbon footprint.
Does agave nectar have a high or low carbon footprint? Agave nectar likely has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.
What is the carbon footprint of agave nectar? It takes around 0.1 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of sugar and sweeteners, a car driving equivalent of .25 miles or .5 kilometers.
Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.
When calculating product emissions, some factors that may be included are…
- farm equipment
- animal feed production
- hothouses (greenhouses)
- food processing
- packaging, transport
- package waste and more
There are a number of steps we can take to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
agave nectar is moderately sustainable.
Overall, is agave nectar eco friendly? Is agave nectar sustainable?
Agave nectar production is moderately sustainable since it is not a quickly renewing resource. Aside from this, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.
A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.
Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’
agave nectar is vegan.
Is agave nectar vegan? Yes, agave nectar is vegan. Agave nectar is not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food.
According to Sentient Media, “more than 200 million land animals are killed for food around the world every day. Including wild-caught and farmed fishes, we get a total closer to 3 billion animals killed daily.”
Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.
Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.
Go vegan for animals!
It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.
Check It Out! – Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List
agave nectar may have labor issues and human rights concerns.
Is agave nectar a product with labor concerns? At this time there have been no major concerns with agave nectar production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience to harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade‘
This post was all about agave benefits and side effects.
Sweetener, syrup, agave – FoodData Central
University of Illinois: Is Agave Nectar a Healthier Alternative to Sugar?
Science direct: Identification, classification, and discrimination of agave syrups from natural sweeteners by infrared spectroscopy and HPAEC-PAD