Sunday, March 21, 2010

Agave vs. Honey, Carob vs. Dark Chocolate

We did it! We signed the papers and made an offer.....

but it was counter-offered by the owners last night :( What are we doing? Making another counter-offer of course! We'll hear back tonight. What an ordeal.

Last night, after hearing that our offer was declined, Nick and I watched the movie 2012. Do you want to spend 2.5 hours watching the most ridiculous movie ever made? Go ahead and rent it yourself! It was so lame. I laughed pretty hard throughout the movie, just making fun of it.

Q & A
About a month ago Kristen of Change of Pace asked me about Agave Nectar vs. Honey, and Carob Chips vs. Dark chocolate. Here is some information.

AGAVE
I recently did a post about HFCS and Agave nectar on our new workplace wellness blog. To read the post, click here. For a brief overview, dietitians really aren't recommending agave nectar as an alternative, "healthier" sweetener. While it may be "slightly less processed", it is actually 84% fructose! This is much higher than high fructose corn syrup. What's wrong with fructose? Nothing, really, especially in the form of fruit, but too much can cause major health issues. Fructose is not used for energy quite as readily as glucose, and most of it is taken up by the liver and turned to glycogen or stored as fat. THIS IS ONLY A PROBLEM IF YOU CONSUME TOO MUCH OF IT! Since sweeteners such as HFCS are found in so many foods, it's no wonder it gets the blame for all the chronic disease and the obesity epidemic. In comparison, honey is 50% fructose, 44% glucose, and 1% sucrose (fructose and glucose combined).

My opinion?
I'd choose honey over agave nectar in a heartbeat. If you want the less processed honey, choose organic.

CAROB CHIPS
It's hard to compare carob chips to dark chocolate because it really depends on what kind of dark chocolate you buy. Some brands are much better than others. For example, if you buy "Dark Chocolate Chips", chances are they are just darkened chocolate, and are not much different than milk chocolate chips. If you buy Ghirardelli 85% dark chocolate, or Lindt's 85% dark chocolate, they actually provide many benefits. The same might be true with the different brands of carob chips, but I really don't know enough about carob chips to be sure. Overall, here are some nutritional differences between the two:

  • Carob chips are said to be free of oxalate; Oxalate binds many minerals, such as calcium and iron, and may impede their absorption. It's ok to get some oxalates in your diet, just not too many. Dark chocolate has a good amount of oxalate. So does spinach.
  • Dark chocolate is packed with heart healthy and chemoprotective (cancer preventative) phytonutrients! Carob chips? Not so much.
  • Carob chips have more calories than dark chocolate, but this probably depends on the brand.
  • Carob chips have more calcium, but dark chocolate has more iron (again, this depends on the brand).
  • Carob chips have about the same amount of fiber, but more protein than dark chocolate (again, this depends on the brand).
  • The author of one of my favorite books, Dr. Steven Pratt, tweeted the other day that a serving of dark chocolate a day (60% or above) may have a beneficial effect on metabolism!
Bottom Line: There are benefits of both. I'm sticking to my dark chocolate :)

Coming Up
I'm really not sure what's coming up in future CandidRD posts. Obviously I will keep you updated on out quest to buy a house, but as for topics, I'm not sure. I guess you'll have to be surprised!

Have a great day everyone. Thanks for reading!

42 comments :

  1. LOVE the pic gina CONGRATS TO YOU AND NICK! this is so exciting for you, just another huge step in your lives together! I cant wait to see you all moved in!

    thanks for the info, to be honest I always preferred honey over agave as well...good to know!

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  2. These side by side comparisons are great! I probably would choose agave, especially some specific brands I've tried that taste noticably sweeter so that I could use less, but I see where honey has its place.
    And chocolate over carob all the way :-)

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  3. I totally agree with you- I think both agave and carob have this image of being "healthy." But I'll stick with my honey and dark chocolate. Not that I eat either all that often.

    Sorry about the counter offer, I think we had to go back and forth 3 times with our house. It's such a pain but it comes with the process I guess. A nice glass of wine or a beer helps haha

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  4. My sister has been eating only whole foods for the last 25 years so I've had my fill of carob birthday cakes over the years. IMO, it is the most heinous tasting substance on earth. LOL! I'd rather eat mud pies.

    Crossing my fingers that everything works out for you with the new house!

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  5. Good luck with the counter-offer!

    Thanks for your thoughts on agave vs. honey and carob vs. dark chocolate. I like that your answer points out that there are pros and cons to most foods, and that it's therefore so very important to eat all things in moderation (and to eat a wide variety of foods). That's why I think it's a problem when any one food is praised too much - we forget about other (equally) healthy foods and too much of one thing is likely not good after all...

    I use agave once in a while (I don't really like honey very much). But I have never used it a lot. And I never thought I could just "go to town" with it...

    Again, good luck with the house! :)

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  6. OOOH I hope your counter offer is accepted! It is really stressful to buy a house, but my fingers are crossed for you and Nick!

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  7. congrats on signing up for the new house. I'll have my fingers crossed for you to have the counter offer accepted! :)

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  8. ooh I can't wait to hear what happens with the house!

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  9. yay on the house-very cute pics!
    i think i will go back to honey since i have been using agave..... and i love me some dark choclate-thanks for making me feel better about eating it :)

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  10. yay on the house-very cute pics!
    i think i will go back to honey since i have been using agave..... and i love me some dark choclate-thanks for making me feel better about eating it :)

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  11. Congrats on the new house!! Hope everything works out with the counter offer!

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  12. Awwwwww The pic of you and your hubby made me smile!!!!!! You both are too freaking sweet and such a great couple!! Love the pic of Nick too signing the papers, such a happy time!!!!!!!

    Oh my about the counteroffer, but dont worry I know it will be ok!!! Yay for your new house!!! It will happen!!!

    So interesting to know about agave!!!! I can not believe the sats on it, yikes!! I will be doing honey then for sure!!!!! Organic honey for me!!!

    Love ya girl and 2012 was so lame!!!!

    Have a great Sunday, let me know what happens with the house!!!

    xoxoxo

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  13. Good luck on the house, my fingers are crossed for you! I tend to lean toward Agave because of the low glycemic number. Sugar just does crazy things to me, including making me sleepy.

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  14. Too cute that you took pics of the paper signing. I hope that you hear back with good news after the counter-counter offer. Oh the joys of buying a home. Great info. I haven't had carob in a while.

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  15. I use agave to top things off, using less of it than I would honey. A swirl with cream cheese on long crackers topped with mango and you'll got DELICIOUSNESS.
    Again, I think all choices are good, and in the long run, research hasn't shown better health benefits of consuming one over the other. Gosh, if you didn't have ANY HCFS today (I didn't! Yeah) or 4 days of the week, you're doing great!

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  16. Look how happy you guys are! What an amazing feeling! I think many bloggers need to read about the agave nectar! Sometimes when you see something on a blog you automatically think it's the the healthiest option. Almost like when you said just because it's organic does NOT mean it's healthy for you!

    And I feel like if you aren't vegan than why would you eat carob chips? Maybe a taste preference. I could never give up my chocolate :)

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  17. Thank you so much for doing this post by the way :)

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  18. You two look super excited and happy in the pic! Good luck with the house purchasing process.

    Thanks for sharing your input and shedding light on agave vs. the other sugars. I'm new to agave and have been using it as a honey alternative. I like the taste, but not as much as I like honey's flavors. I'll probably be sticking to honey as well.

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  19. Great info. about the agave nectar. I'm a honey fan myself. I hope you get the house! Sounds like a bit of a mess, but I bet it will work out in the end.

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  20. Congrats on starting the paper process! I know when I bought mine I got so frustrated with the counter-offering that I finally just gave it.

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  21. That's really interesting about agave nectar. I would never have guessed that there was more fructose in it than in HFCS.

    I hope you hear really soon about the house. It is so stressful! We have been going back and forth and back and forth about a couple of houses. But I think we are going to make an offer on the first one we liked. Scary!

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  22. I love the pictures! you two look so happy!

    I hope you get the house...the suspense is killing me lol...I hope you twitter about it =)

    Good Luck!

    oh and hey, I liked 2012! what the heezy? lol

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  23. I love that you took pics signing the papers! You two are such a great looking couple....that means beautiful babies one day ;) I like chocolate adn carob. I usually go for dark chocolate though..mmmm anything with lots of cocoa. Very interesting regarding the agave and honey!

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  24. So exciting and scary at the same time! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you guys that things workout with the house. You must really feel like a grown-up.

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  25. And I always thought that agave was better, although I really like my carob chips!

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  26. I almost always go with chocolate over carob...although I'm a fan of carob chip cookies!! :-)

    Good luck with all the house stuff-- I know how stressful that can be. It's worth it, in the end.

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  27. Ahhhh congratulations Gina!!! That is SO exciting!! Next step...baby? heheh just kidding just kidding!

    Thank you for those comparisons. DEFINITELY so interesting to me. I always thought agave was better for you than honey!! I think it was because I thought the GI was lower than any other refined sugar?

    I also thought carob chips were supposed to be better for you than dark...no idea they were higher in calories. Thank you for the knowledge Gina!!!:) Can't wait to see what's in store for us in future posts. I'm sure it will be great no matter what route you go!

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  28. AHH GINA CONGRATS! such a HUGE step! i agree w. everybody.. next step=KIDS! or marriage!! whatever floats your boat! haha im just messing :)
    thank you for the comparisons!! i had no idea about honey and agave! so interesting girl!

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  29. Hope you guys get the house! Great post. I am curious to see more studies in regards to dark chocolate and the effects on our metabolism.
    Thanks for sharing the info on agave. I am not as educated about it as I should be.
    Have a great week!

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  30. One of my new more favorite sweeteners is brown rice syrup because to me it isn't quite as sweet. Where do you think that would that weigh in?

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  31. Congrats on the house! WAHOOOO!!!!!

    I also think the info you posted on dark chocolate is the best news I've heard in a loooonng time!

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  32. I really, really enjoyed the side-by-side comparison format! Perhaps ingredient comparisons could be a theme for future posts, pretty please? :-) Thanks to your comparison of natural, just peanuts and salt PB vs. reduced fat PB, I've been happily purchasing natural PB ever since! :-)

    I love the paper signing pictures!! Such an exciting time! I know the offer-counter offer process can be stressful, too, though - sending big good luck hugs! :-)

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  33. first, sorry about the offer being rejected!! ugh. i'm sure it will work out when it is meant to be though.

    & i loved this post- i was curious about carob chips and if they are a better alternative than dark chocolate chips and now i can see that i'll be stickin to the real thing too :)

    xoxxo

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  34. Good luck with the counter offer! Hope it goes well!
    And thanks for the info about agave and carob. I didn't know much about carob but I think I'll stick with dark chocolate anyway. I just love that stuff. Lindt 85% is my favorite.
    And I tend to think sugar is sugar no matter how processed or refined it may be.

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  35. Good luck Gina! I just know you're going to get the house of your dreams :)

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  36. I love side by side comparisons. I have always wondered the difference between carob chips and dark chocolate. I think I'll stick to dark chocolate too :)

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  37. You and your hubby are so darn cute! I love it! And I like this post a lot, because honey, carob and dark chocolate are three of my favorite things. I can't compare the two chocolates because I eat carob A LOT (mostly because the brand I get is actually less than chocolate) but then I adoreee chocolate, because well, you simply cannot live life without chocolate. And then I'm just honey obsessed. But agave is nice for a thinner sweetener. Especially in baked goods, because I like the really thick raw honey! Mmm.

    Hope the house thing is going good!

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  38. Very nice picture! congratulations on your first house!

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  39. Oh i just caught up! What a hassle with the counter offer!

    I just love polenta- It is SO easy to make from scratch and I started eating it after buying a pre-made roll in the store.

    Good luck with the new business adventure- how exciting!

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  40. I was so hoping the agave nectar rumors were untrue. I just love how that stuff tastes! I don't like honey nearly as much.

    And ick to carob. I don't care if that's good for me or not. It's disgusting. Dark choc all the way!

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  41. Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

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