POTENTIAL DANGERS OF AGAVE

“Agave provokes bitter debate as a sweetener,” reads the headline in the March 23rd Chicago Tribune: www.chicagotribune.com/features/chi-0323deardorffmar23,1,7478086.story. The story raises questions about the safely of the trendy, expensive, liquid sugar made from the Mexican agave cactus. Agave nectar is being marketed as a healthful, all-natural substitute for sucrose because it has a very low glycemic index and doesn’t raise insulin levels. However, the dangers of fructose are well known, and agave nectar is almost 100% fructose. As I wrote in this previous post, http://carbwars.blogspot.com/search?q=agave, fructose…

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Lotus Root

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Raw Lotus Root © 2008, Judy Barnes Baker Lotus Root Chips © 2008, Judy Barnes Baker When I first started low-carb cooking, my son-in-law gave me a challenge. He said if I could find a good substitute for french fries, he would consider trying my diet. (He eventually did anyway.) I fried all sorts of things, animal and vegetable, with varying degrees of success. Several of the recipes in my first book, Carb Wars; Sugar is the New Fat, came from these experiments. One of the things I…

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Splenda with fewer carbs

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Dr. Richard Bernstein, author of Diabetes Solution; prescribes a very low-carb diet to get his diabetic patients off medications or to reduce their dosage to the lowest possible level. He calls it “the law of small numbers” because the smaller the dose you need, the smaller the mistake you can make and the less severe the consequences. One reviewer dubbed him the “Taliban of low-carb gurus” because his regimen is so strict: no fruit, no tomato sauce, no beans, no xylitol, no sorbitol, no Splenda.…

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Sweeteners Update

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I have received questions as to why I did not include some of the all-natural alternatives, like brown rice syrup, agave nectar, and date sugar in the discussion about the different kinds of sweeteners in my book. I did not include most of them because, in my opinion, they offer little advantage over common table sugar. However since the subject continues to come up, I will address it here. Let me point out at the start that “natural” is not synonymous with “safe.” Nature abounds…

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Fat Phobia

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Hooray for Greg Atkinson, food writer for the Pacific Northwest Magazine of the Seattle Times! In his article, “Beyond Fat Phobia,” (https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/beyond-fat-phobia/) he extols the virtues of butter, bacon, lard, and natural oils as he traces the disastrous history of trans fats, which he labels as “unnecessarily chemically altered food.” Finally, someone comes to the defense of the good, natural fats that have taken the blame for the mess created by the artificial junk that has been heavily promoted as heart-healthy alternatives. Even venerable olive…

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Sweeteners

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I received a question about the characteristics of Splenda®, how it works in cooking, and why I use it in some of my recipes. In Carb Wars, I devoted several pages to the different kinds of sugar substitutes and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Since the subject may be of general interest, I will attempt to address it here. Splenda has been used for 20 plus years in some countries and doesn’t seem to have any harmful effects, at least not yet. It adds…

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