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Showing 1-25 of 230 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 30, 2006 1:42:40 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 8, 2006 8:06:46 AM PST
Bon Appetit says:
Agave truly is a wonderful and tasty natural product and a perfect low glycemic substitute for table sugar and honey, especially for diabetics. It is fructose-based and derived from a natural source, the agave plant.

But not ALL agave nectar brands are as pure as they indicate. For instance, through a little research I discovered that Madhava brand is NOT pure blue agave, but adds fillers like maltose, among other things, which raises it's glycemic index to 46. Compare that to the GI for PURE agave which is an amazingly low 27 (using a glucose reference scale for both). Not surprisingly, Madhava does not list it's ingredients on the label.

The only brand I know of that really is PURE blue agave sold in the U.S. is by a company called Blue Agave (also called Volcanic).
Their web site is very informative:

From what I've read, the biggest problem with getting a pure product to market has to do with supply. There just isn't enough agave being produced to meet demand. Hence the fillers.

That said, all of the products on the U.S. market that I'm aware of have a lower GI than honey, which is somewhere around 65.

One important thing I found in my research about using fructose-based sweetners (like agave) is this:

Fructose has a low glycemic value. However, according to some experts, if fructose is consumed after eating a large meal that overly raises the blood sugar or with high glycemic foods, it no longer has a low glycemic value. Strangely enough, it will take on the value of the higher glycemic food. So exercise restraint, even with this wonderful sweetener. It is a good policy to eat fructose-based desserts on an empty stomach, in between meals or with other low-glycemic foods. Use it for an occasional treat or for a light touch of sweetness in your dishes.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2006 9:12:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 2, 2006 9:14:17 AM PST
Starlite1 says:
Thank you...Thank you ...Thank you
It is so frustrating trying to order healthy products and constantly being met with sly little deceptions. I am a constant user of agave. It just so happens that I do only use Blue Agave. But from the read on Madhava I thought perhaps I could take advantage of a "good deal"! Yes I get what you pay for!(smile). But anyway thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2006 12:03:36 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 8, 2006 8:14:49 AM PST
Bon Appetit says:
You're most welcome! In my attempts to get information about what is in Madhava I actually wrote them and asked if there were any fillers (like Maltose) in their product.
They assured me there were absolutely NO fillers and that their product was 100% "pure". But I decided to look for the chemical analysis of their agave product and found it on their own website (or rather that of their parent/supplier company Colibree). And just so there is no confusion, Nekutli is, in turn, the Mexican agave producer, so this is actually the chemical analysis from their own producer. There are only 3 agave suppliers for all the agave brands sold in the U.S.(Nekutli, Volcanic Agave, and IIDEA).

Here are the partial results:

Nekutli Chemical Composition:
Moisture % 21.5-23.6
Dry Matter % 76.3-78.5
Ash % 0.08-0.20
Total Carbohydrates % 99.32-99.96
D-Fructose 67.2-69.7
Dextrose (Glucose) 26.5-28.8
Maltose 1.28-1.45
Maltodextrose 1.05-1.22
Tetramaltose 0.60-0.73
Fat % 0.00
Cholesterol % 0.00


One has to ask how Maltose, for instance, ended up in a "pure" product like agave? Seems to me that their representative lied about this. I sent him this info and haven't yet heard back.

And the glycemic index (GI) for this Madhava/Nekutli product is 46 (using a glucose=100 scale)according the info on the Madhava web site. Compare that to a competitor, Volcanic Nectar, that has a GI of 27 using the same glucose scale.
Also compare calories per tablespoon. So SOMETHING in the agave is causing these differences.

In fact a comparison of the chemical analysis of all three producers (Volcanic, Nekutli, IIDEA) is provided below (from Volcanic Nectar's website, FAQ section -

These differences are going to be negligible for most people. But I won't do business with companies that aren't forthcoming with me, just on principle. And what if I were diabetic and needed some straight information? Besides, I prefer to buy truly pure blue agave products.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2007 7:00:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 2, 2007 7:57:04 PM PST
MacGuffin says:
I have to jump in here. I just reviewed Wholesome Sweeteners Raw Blue Agave Nectar and compared it to Volcanic Nectar. I pointed out that even though the Volcanic Nectar product is delicious (and a beautiful dark amber), and that Wholesome Sweeteners is usually a very reputable company (I use their molasses and a lot of Sucanat), their blue agave nectar is NOT pure and is, in fact, also produced by Nekutli, which I guess makes it nutritionally identical to Madhava. My main point, though, was that the product is NOT safe for diabetics and hypoglycemics, and is not certified as such by any recognized US agency, despite the implication that it is, based on its description on Amazon's site. And incidentally, Madahava's own site states that their agave nectar is just that--agave nectar, not blue agave nectar, unlike Volcanic Nectar.
After a short delay, Amazon posted the review, for which I'm appreciative. It indicates that they really do stick by their word and invite comparisons with other products, even those they don't carry. It would be good if the non-pure agave nectars get into the right hands, i.e., those for whom blood sugar levels aren't a problem (although I myself would much rather have a pure product).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2007 7:00:53 PM PST
BarMar says:
Thank you for your research!

I bought Volcanic Nectar after hearing Dr. Oz. I LOVED it! I've tried NUMEROUS sweeteners over the years looking for something that was low on the glycemic index, not artificial & tasted good. This was the only product to fit the bill!

I was going to try a cheaper brand but after reading these comments I'm sticking to Volcanic Nectar!

Thanks again!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2007 7:35:52 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 2, 2007 7:55:22 PM PST
MacGuffin says:
Good for you! I wish that purveyors of goods that really are what they claim would form an association that would function as a sort of "Better Business Bureau" that would restrict its membership to others of their ilk and which would obtain certification from the FDA and FTC (much as my feelings are mixed about the Fed). For instance, there's only one company that distributes REAL Himalayan goji berries (they're not sold on Amazon, unfortunately), yet there are a number of companies selling wolf berries that are mislabeled as goji berries (I learned the hard way; I actually bought the fakes). I speak up about these things because I know I'm appreciative when others do it (plus I was married to a Type 1 diabetic; it's a devastating illness and I think it's wrong to imply that a product is safe when in fact it might not be).
I'm assuming that Dr. Oz is the Oprah guy...?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2007 9:40:10 PM PST
K Bassett says:
Dear MacGuffin,

I just looked at my Wholesome Sweeteners Blue Agave bottles and both of them have the Iidea logo on the front label, NOT Nekutli. Isn't Iidea one of the producers of pure blue agave? That's why I bought it. I have only seen the Iidea logo on Wholesome's bottles--none of the producers logos are on any of the other blue agaves in the market.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2007 5:17:16 AM PST
MacGuffin says:
I just saw it; thanks for pointing it out to me.
I was told that only VC is pure, and I believe it (note that Diabetic Friendly certification). Go to the VC Web site--it has the profiles for the other two producers. It's weird, though, because if I recall, the WS content matches Nekutli's.
You could always do a search for an Iidea site; I'd be curious to know if there is one.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2007 6:16:10 PM PST
A reviewer says:
What about Sweet Cactus Farms Agave that has a GI of 19? It has an even lower glycemic index than Volcanic Nectar and it says it is 100% pure organic agave. The difference, I think, is that SCF gets its agave from only one type of plant (Blue Weber Tequilana) but VN gets agave from various plants. I have not tried either yet, I am looking to find the purest to replace the Madhava that I have used for a year now. But which is better, the higher glycemic from various plants or the lower glycemic variety from one plant? And why?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2007 7:14:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 24, 2007 7:49:51 PM PST
MacGuffin says:
I've never heard of that brand; my advice would be to determine if they have GRI Diabetic Friendly certification. I'd also ask who performed their testing. I personally wouldn't put much stock in ratings determined outside the US and only those determined by the Glycemic Research Institute within it; its ratings are the only ones recognized by the FDA and FTC. Since those agencies don't want the responsibility of having to be accountable for illness or death resulting from erroneously certified products, I have to believe that they're pretty scrupulous about backing independent labs whose work they recognize.
VN is pure blue agave nectar; I don't know on what basis you're determining that it's processed from "various plants." Pretty much all I've written here was noted in the previous posts, as are links to Web sites--you might want to read them more carefully. VN notified me of a sale yesterday that might still be running; they offer free shipping on $25 or more based on pre-sale prices.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2007 2:52:30 PM PST
Michelle745 says:
???? I have a bottle of Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Raw Blue Agave right in front of me and it says "iidea" on the label, not Nekuutli as you claim.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2007 4:03:00 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 10, 2007 4:41:47 AM PST
MacGuffin says:
You're quite right; this was pointed out to me and I corrected my review of the W.S. to reflect this. Regardless, it's not pure blue agave nectar, regardless of what the label states.
Update: It occurred to me that I'd already made note of this correction, which I had. May I suggest that you take the time to read all of the previous posts if you're going to throw in your 2¢-worth?!
I might also point out that IIDEA's own site offers the availability of nectars with two different levels of fructose. If it were a pure product to begin with, how could that be?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 8, 2007 4:03:06 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Mar 10, 2007 4:35:09 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2007 4:57:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 23, 2007 5:59:39 PM PDT
R. D. Leckie says:
The first agave that I bought was Sweet Cactus farms. I was looking for a cheaper source (thus the internet search) and started finding out that different brands are rated differently on the GI scale. Now I'm here reading about the 3 different parent companies. Well, I'm looking at the bottle of Sweet Cactus Farms and it has the Glycemic Index logo on it and it claims its on use from the University of Sydney. ? doesn't have the GRI diabetic friendly cert. I'm starting to think that only 15 cal per tsp. and a GI of 19 is too good to be true.

I am under the impression that the University of Sydney helped pioneer the whole GI field and was on board before the US even accepted GI as real. I could be wrong, I'd have to look all that up again. Anyone else know anything more?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2007 7:02:15 PM PDT
MacGuffin says:
I wouldn't know about your Sydney hypothesis, but I do know that ratings between them and the US are radically different and that the US-based ones seem more stringent. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If the GI rating is really important to you, do yourself a favor and go with products that are certified Diabetic Friendly HERE. I'd also point out that I don't think there's such a thing as a GI "logo," which would imply something very different than a mere GI rating.
This may be patriotic/chauvinistic of me but I somehow doubt that Australia was on board anything relating to medicine prior to the US.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2007 7:07:33 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 24, 2007 7:30:24 AM PDT
R. D. Leckie says:
Well I went and did my own research, and I found out that a professor at the University of Austraila was one of the pioneers of the GI. I had to make sure I wasn't spreading misinformation ha ha. It still doesn't clear up just where their (Sweet cactus farms) agave is coming from.

Well and to be honest, I believe that Europe/other countries often approve new and cutting edge stuff before we do. Long before we do. Just because its not from America doesn't make it wrong or bad. The American diabetic association still hasn't offically said that diabetics should use the GI and they caution against using it as sole source of controlling your blood sugar (good advice for anyone). Agave is NOT recommended for Type one diabetics at all (or insulin dependent diabetics type 2).

I did check out who did Volcanic Nectars rating, and its by the same people who do Garden of Eatin' and some other very reputable companies in the Health Food/whole food world so their rating is probably dead on right.

Oh, and amazon sells Sweet Cactus Farms, so you can take a look at it (you said in another post you hadn't heard of them?)

Wholesome sweetners blurb about their agave claims to have the same GI as Volcanic nectar. Which is not the same as iidea is it? I thought Volcanic was the lowest of the three. Not the same?

Goodness, someone could spend years sorting this all out. I think I'm going to write wholesome sweetners and ask them for their response to Volcanic nectars claim that their (wholesome sweetners) agave has additives in it (because on their website they specifically claim that it does not).

So anyway, I edited this cause I got sidetracked and went to look at something else. On iidea's website, they claim that their GI is 27-46 depending on which one you get. the only one rated 27 is their light premium organic agave. Interesting huh. Must be where Wholesome gets their numbers from. Their GI testing was done by GI Labratories in Tornoto.

Sorry to rattle on, this is just kinda interesting for some reason. And I just double checked WS site, and now they say their Agave has a GI of 39 or less. Either I was confused when I last looked at their site, or they have changed it. (which both are very possible lol)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2007 9:57:31 AM PDT
MacGuffin says:
Thanks for all the good info. GRI is the only institution recognized by the FDA and they're the ones that assigned Volcanic Nectar's rating and in fact, none of the other nectars available are rated by them (at least that I'm aware of). As to approving drugs earlier outside the US, the reason the FDA grew teeth is because of Thalidimide...which had been approved for use in Europe. I think they're usually WAY too overzealous (plus I'm of a libertarian bent), but based on Thalidimide in the 60's, I can see why the Fed jumped at the excuse to entrench themselves.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2007 12:25:16 PM PDT
A. Gallo says:
does anyone know about the Organic Nectars version of agave nectar?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2007 6:14:31 AM PDT
I'm new to this board (so, not sure I posted this in the right place, but thought the end would be the best?!), but would like to know if anyone has come up with any more detailed info on Sweet Cactus Farms agave nectar after looking more into it--especially whether they have discovered the "source" of it--if it's from one of the three sources listed in this discussion for agave nectar (like IIDEA or other)? We've been using it for over a year, and definitely don't want to continue if it's possibly not good for diabetics or borderline diabetics.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2007 10:17:24 AM PDT
MacGuffin says:
Please read the previous posts; the ONLY brand CERTIFIED as diabetic-friendly here in the US is Volcanic Nectar (and I believe this only applies to those who aren't insulin-dependent).

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2007 11:22:11 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 4, 2007 11:24:12 AM PDT
Rolinda says:
"the ONLY brand CERTIFIED as diabetic-friendly here in the US is Volcanic Nectar (and I believe this only applies to those who aren't insulin-dependent)"

This is no longer true! Please check out IIDEA's site and Colibree/Nekutli as well. New reports show that the GI of Nekutli has dropped since the last published analysis dating back to November 2006 (as quoted here on this discussion).

While Madhava denies that it has ever had a product that was anything but 100% pure agave nectar (not blue) it now shows no other sugars besides Fructose and Dextrose (glucose).

Volcanic Nectar still scores in at the lowest GI though with 27 vs. Nekutli (36) and IIDEA which varies from as low as 24.6 +/- 3.6 for their "Light Premium Organic Agave Syrup" to a whopping 46 for their Standard Agave Syrup. IIDEA and Nekutli have also joined forces and supply their product interchangeably with what looks like ALL other brands including Madhava in the US.

Interesting stuff for sure!

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2007 5:03:21 PM PDT
Thanks, Rolinda--now this is getting really confusing to me!

Just to add to the confusion, could any of you tell me the pH of the "various"-source agaves? And would the different pH's reflect the difference in percentage of fructose in the agave?

Thanks again for any help you all could give me.


P.S. I'm still not sure where Sweet Cactus Farms fits in here--can anyone help? They say their G.I. is 11.

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2007 6:25:20 PM PDT
Yes, talk about confusing...

As for Sweet Cactus Farms, their G.I. is "reported" as 19 on their website which was last updated in 2004. They also claim to be 100% Organic Blue Weber Agave. Chances are what they're using is the "Light Premium Organic Agave Syrup" from IIDEA. However, they offer no public documentation to support their G.I. claims. Perhaps, this calls for an email or call to the company to try and set the record straight. And since we know that all US companies get their nectar from IIDEA or Colibree/Nekutli, which is now interchangeable from shipment to shipment, there's no way to know for sure.

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2007 5:00:42 AM PDT
thanks, Rolinda....but that wasn't very comforting! Actually, I have been e-mailing them, and never receive an answer, so I believe that's an "answer," isn't it?!!!!

I AM wondering about the acidity of high-fructose sweeteners--I have seen it rated very alkaline to extremely acid (like coffee!)--do you, or others, have any understanding of this, and why ONE fructose would be so alkaline, and another so acid?

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2007 3:50:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 18, 2007 3:53:34 AM PDT
swedishchef says:
I recently bought a 1 gallon jug of volcanic nectar, and I have a few questions about the labeling of the bottle. I am not one to just accept promises from a website about their own product. Is there any reputable website that has looked into Volcanic Nectar's claims? Here are the questions/concerns I have:

On the 1-gallon jug of volcanic nectar:

1. There is no ingredients listing. Why does it not list the ingredients as "100% pure raw organic blue agave nectar"?

2. It says in writing "organic and kosher certified", but there is no "USDA ORGANIC" logo, there is no KOSHER logo, and it does not list any 3rd party organic certifier such as "QAI" or their logo.

3. In fact, it doesn't say that it's raw or that it's even "agave nectar". It says "All Natural Agave Sweetener".

4. If everything they say on their website is true, then why the extremely ambiguous labeling?

These might just be ignorant questions, but I sent an email to Volcanic Nectar today and hope to hear back soon. Any feedback from the knowledgeable people here would be great!
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