Agave Nectar is sold as being good for diabetics because it doesn't raise blood sugar. What they don't tell you is that it doesn't raise blood sugar because it is full of fructose which goes directly to the liver after you eat it and turns into the intracellular liver fat that turns out to be a major cause of insulin resistance.
But I'm writing now to report on a low carb food that turns out to live up to the claims made for it, one that may be very helpful to many of us who are trying to keep carbs low.
The food is the modified wheat flour sold in the form of Carbalose flour and Carbquik Baking Mix. The latter is a biscuit mix similar to Bisquik. You can see the nutritional information for it posted on the Netrition.com site: Carbquik Nutritional Information.
I had been aware of these for years, as they are cited in many low carb recipes, but I avoided them as they used to contain soy protein and I don't eat soy protein because it has the ability to damage the lining of the gut allowing proteins into the blood stream where they provoke antibody formation and autoimmune attack.
But it turns out that Tova, the manufacturer has removed the soy protein from these products, and the only soy in them is a small amount of soy fiber, which I can handle.
I've been using these products for a month and am happy to report that they work as advertised. They have about 6 grams of carb per cup after deducting fiber and I have found no reason NOT to deduct the fiber as my blood sugar responds to these flours as if they did have 2 g per 1/3 cup serving.
The Carbquik makes a great Belgian waffle. It was nice to get out my dusty waffle maker and rediscover a great breakfast. Here's the "quick and dirty" recipe I use for 1 serving:
1/3 cup Carbquik
water sufficient to make the batter look like waffle batter (thick but pourable)
1 pat butter, melted
Stir up ingredients in order listed and pour onto your waffle iron. I top it with Vermont brand sugar free syrup (about 2 g of sorbitol) and defrosted frozen berries.
When it was time to do my holiday baking, I made two loaves of pumpkin bread, one with regular flour and one with Carbalose flour. The recipes were identical, which meant that I used regular sugar. This is because I wanted to know what changes the flour made that were independent of replacing the sugar with artificial sweetener. I doubled the baking soda as instructed by the Carbalose label.
The result was a loaf that was denser and moister than the flour version but most definitely a bread and quite delicious. The Carbalose loaf was also sweeter than it needed to be, which suggested that I could probably have made it with a lot less sugar. This was a lower carb food you could serve to people who loathe "diet" foods without hearing a word of complaint.
Even with the sugar left in, cutting out the flour made the pumpkin bread a lot kinder to my blood sugar than the unmodified version which is so full of carbs that even with insulin it tends to make me feel groggy.
Now that I know that the Carbalose flour replaces regular flour well, I will try it in some other baked goods and see what happens when I combine it with artificial sweeteners. I would not use it for a recipe that needs to be light and fluffy but it works well for moister things.
I also made biscuits using just Carbquik and water. They were a bit denser than regular biscuits but quite edible.
The product looks expensive, but you are buying Industrial-sized boxes and bags that should last you awhile. The 3 lb Carbquik box is surprisingly large and I still have about half of it left after making at least 20 single serving recipes.
I bought mine from Netrition because they host the very useful Low Carb Friends forum filled with helpful people who know a great deal about how to cut carbs and eat enjoyably. Their shipping is a flat rate of $5 no matter what you buy, so it is worth including some of the many flavors of DaVinci Sugar Free Syrup they carry in your order if that is something you use.
As far as how suitable these products might be for people dieting for weight loss, I am happy to report that I have actually lost a pound or so since I started eating the Carbquik waffles for breakfast. The high fiber content leads to a feeling of fullness. It's worth noting that as is the case with all high fiber foods too much can lead to gas, so I limit myself to one serving a day, which works well for me. Two was too much. But I did not experience any hunger or cravings after adding these products to my diet.
These products do contain gluten, so if you are gluten intolerant, they aren't for you. I am not wheat-phobic as are some people in the online health research community, as I believe it is the carbs in flour that cause the health problems attributed to wheat not anything specific to wheat except in the case of people autoimmune disease who are likely to have true gluten intolerance. But gluten should not be an issue for people who avoid soy and who do not have the inherited genetic profile that leads to gluten intolerance.