Is agave nectar a good replacement for sugar?

Jenn CorbettOctober 13, 2011 

Dear Wellness RN:

My husband recently purchased agave nectar because he heard that it is better for us than white sugar. Is agave nectar a good replacement for sugar?

-- Thanks, Confused

Dear Confused:

Agave Nectar is a liquid sweetener derived from the blue agave plant of southern Mexico. Interesting fact is that the blue agave plant is also used to make tequila. Agave Nectar has been used for centuries for its healing abilities and anti-microbial properties.

In recent decades agave sweetener has become a favorite among health enthusiasts due to its low glycemic effect. Low glycemic sweeteners do not have the same effects on blood sugar as many of the other commonly used sweeteners such as white refined sugar or corn syrup. These sweeteners cause the known "sugar high" followed by the "sugar low." Agave is a good substitution because it helps to maintain blood sugar in the body.

However, just like any sugar it still needs to be used in moderation due to its high fructose content. We need to remember that sugar is still sugar and when consumed in excess it can cause major health problems and weight gain.


Dear Wellness RN:

My mother was recently diagnosed with Dementia. What exactly is Dementia and how do we deal with the illness as a family.

-- Dementia 101

Dear Dementia 101: First of all let me first say how sorry I am to hear about your mother and I appreciate how overwhelming this diagnosis can be for not only your family but for your mother as well.

Dementia is defined as the progressive deterioration of cognitive functioning and one's ability to process thought.

The progressive nature of the syndrome means that it will gradually worsen over time. It is different from the disease of Alzheimer's in that it is non-specific and can include all or one of the following -- brain function, memory, language, problem solving and attention. It is important that the evaluation be made and the diagnosis received from a specialist.

Specialists in the field are geriatric internists, geriatric psychiatrist, neuropsychologists, or neurologist. While the majority of the cases of dementia are incurable there have been great strides in treatment with various medications as well as work with cognitive and behavioral specialists.

These can help lessen the impact on the patient and family. Combined therapies can also help the patient and family ease into each stage of dementia and how it affects each patient individually. I highly suggest that you and your mother get hooked up with a dementia support group in your area.

In our area you can contact Valley Caregiver Resource Center, Carol Breit (559) 683-4045. Support meetings are held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at the Oakhurst Lutheran Church.


Jenn Corbett is a wife, mother and RN. She has worked in the medical field for nearly 20 years with a specialty in women's health and pediatrics as well as the study of nutrition and its effect on the body. Submit questions to Wellness RN, wellnessrn@sti.net or mail to P.O. Box 575, Oakhurst, Ca 93644.

Jenn Corbett is a wife, mother and RN. She has worked in the medical field for nearly 20 years with a specialty in women’s health and pediatrics as well as the study of nutrition and its effect on the body. Submit questions to Wellness RN,

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