I tweeted yesterday about my conversion from Splenda to organic blue agave nectar as my regular sweetener. There are several reasons for this change:
- I’ve read the reports on the negative long term side effects of Splenda and upon starting to use it, had decided it would just be a temporary thing. I wanted to cut the calories I was taking in from sugar. Here we are one-year later, and I’m still emptying those little yellow packets.
- I’ve recently re-read some of the short term effects of Splenda including stomach problems and bloating—both are issues my body already has, so I’d say it is probably a good idea to cut things that could be contributing.**
- Splenda is chemically produced which is completely counter to my desired dietary choices that include mainly organic, fresh and locally grown items. As I continue to work to move my diet and my son’s further away from processed foods, it makes sense to cut Splenda as well.
So, to the benefits of organic/raw blue agave nectar:
- Agave is 25% sweeter than sugar so you can use less.
- It is also sweeter than honey, though it has about the same calorie content per serving (approximately 60 per tbsp) but 0 calories from fat.
- Low glycemic index means agave is absorbed slowly in to the body and thus prevents spikes in blood sugar that can sometimes occur with regular sugar.
- Agave nectar is gleaned from the agave plant and then heated into simple sugars—not chemically compounded.
I’ve tried two different brands of blue agave and Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave light has come out on top so far. It has a slightly higher viscosity than the other brand and I’ve found it to be sweeter. I purchased my blue agave nectar here, but I have also seen it for sale on Amazon.com if you’re not familiar with the natural foods options in your area.
As a side note, I have never given Splenda to my son. With all the negative reports, I felt it better not to subject his young system to anything with claims of such highly adverse health effects associated with it. I have nothing against sugar and do continue to purchase organic sugar for him, while closely moderating his usage. My choice to switch was based on caloric intake and my own excessive use of sugar.
**There is a fantastic post by Erika at Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss (that you can read here) on the ills of Splenda, aspartame and diet sodas, etc. that goes into a mind-boggling (yet mind-opening) amount of detail on the topic. Erika’s writing pulls no punches, so proceed with caution if you’re feeling sensitive about the topic. Or go there for that very reason and contribute to the conversation.