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-: high fructose corn syrup, isoglucose, sugar syrup, agave syrup :-

Industrial sweeteners come in many forms and many guises often marketed as “organic” and “natural”. When deciding which sweetener or sugar to purchase, as a general rule of thumb, try and establish how traditional the sweetener is as opposed to how “natural”.

All fake food products have some tenuous link to a plant but that does not make them a natural, real food. Another test is the “patent” test. Does this sweetener marketed as organic and natural have a patent? If yes, then it is by definition going to be a non-traditional source of dubious food, in most cases highly refined and often mass produced to an industrrial scale. Below are two of the more common artificial sweeteners that are used, one of which “agave syrup” is heavily branded as “organic” and “natural”.

Agave Syrup

Agave syrup is not a traditional sugar from Mexico regardless of what the branding would have you believe. The traditional agave juice, aguamiel, is a form of fermented drink which does not taste anywhere near as sweet or as appealing as the liquid bottled stuff sold in health food stores. In Mexico, aguamiel, is often referred to as pulque, which Christina Potters, a Mexican food blogger describes as: “a pale white, semi-viscous, liquid with a slick, thick feel in the mouth; many people are put off by that feel, as well as by its slightly sour taste.”

Nothing then like the agave syrup many may have sampled from health food shops.

Branded agave syrup is just as refined as isoglucose. The manufacturers of agave syrup extract the starch (a complex sugar) from the agave plant and add industrial enzymes to crank up the fructose concentration to a level of their choosing. In fact the fructose level of agave syrup is even higher than that of isoglucose. Not recommended for use.

Isoglucose or High Fructose Corn Syrup

Derived from starch (corn, wheat, potatoes) isoglucose is created when enzymes are added to alter the structure of complex sugars to form the simple sugars fructose-glucose. Typically the chemical make-up of isoglucose will be 55% fructose 45% sucrose though this can vary sometimes reaching 95% fructose and just 5% glucose. Added liberally and happily to most, if not all, convenience food products but rarely bought bottled or packaged in a supermarket. Be aware what you are eating when you buy these products. Best avoided.

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