What is agave nectar? back to top
Agave nectar is the sap-like substance from the agave plant. The agave is a succulent plant native to Mexico. While often referred to as a cactus, agave is actually closer to an American Aloe. The sap is harvested from the pineapple-like core of the plant and then gently heated to turn the starches into a glucose/fructose combination that is very sweet to the taste. As many people are aware, the agave plant is the same plant used to make mescal and tequila. Of course, Oogavé organic soda is made with agave nectar that is not fermented.
Why is agave a better sweetener? back to top
The biggest advantage to using agave nectar is how slowly it is processed in the body. Because it is absorbed more slowly than corn syrup or cane sugar, you don’t get the sugar high/crash associated with traditional soft drinks. Agave is also better at triggering insulin response than high fructose corn syrup; this is the biological function that tells your body when you are full. You can’t pound down a quart of oogavé like many people can with mainstream sodas. Additionally, agave nectar contains a healthy mix of trace minerals and even a small amount of inulin fiber. And because agave plants thrive with very little cultivation, it makes them ideal candidates for organic certification. You can rest assured that no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides came in contact with our agave nectar. Because the agave plant has been cherished by Mexicans since antiquity, you know they would find any attempt to genetically modify it abhorrent. Lastly, because agave nectar has such a high level of fructose, it is far sweeter to the taste than cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup. This is why oogavé all natural soda has only two-thirds the sugar of other sodas.
What are other sodas sweetened with? back to top
High fructose corn syrup is the sweetener in more than 90% of sodas sold in the United States. A distant second is cane sugar, which is also known as table sugar. (The white stuff!)
What’s wrong with High Fructose Corn Syrup? back to top
No one knows with absolute certainty, but there is plenty of evidence to support the proposition that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is partially responsible for the obesity epidemic in America. There are many studies to suggest that all manner of ills are related to HFCS, from exacerbating insulin resistance, to containing heavy metals such as mercury. We at oogavé encourage you to do your own research into this matter as there are many, many resources available on the subject, some trustworthy, some not so much. The policies surrounding corn production in this country, however, are not debatable. Corn is one of most heavily subsidized agricultural products grown in America. The result is that HFCS is ubiquitous. It can be found in nearly 90% of processed foods made. It is cheap, and it is the reason why restaurants can sell you a 48 oz super-sized cola drink AND give you free refills.. Added to this, there are tariffs on imported sugar that make its price artificially high. Incidentally, we at oogavé do not recommend that you drink 48 oz of ANY soft drink in one sitting, including ours. Lastly, the production of HFCS itself is something that should raise eyebrows. HFCS is made by milling the corn kernels and then stirring them into a water bath in giant vats. The germ floats to the top and is skimmed off to be processed for corn oil. The skins fall to the bottom and are used to make feed for farm animals. The starch dissolves into the water and is then heated to turn the polysaccharides into the monosaccharide, glucose. This is removed from the water and the result is known as corn syrup. However, straight corn syrup is not sweet enough to be used in products like soft drinks. So the corn syrup is subjected to a chemically-developed enzymatic process to turn a portion of the glucose (10%-20%) into fructose, making it sweeter. This yummy goodness is more processed than just about anything you could think of.
What’s wrong with cane sugar? back to top
In our opinion, it’s a lot better than HFCS. The process to extract it from the sugar cane is centuries old and doesn’t involve any behind-the-scenes laboratory work. Yet there are two drawbacks to cane sugar. First, it still has a significantly larger effect on blood sugar than agave nectar. Second, it is not as sweet as either agave or HFCS, so sodas sweetened with cane sugar have to use more to achieve the same flavor. Check out a can or bottle of your favorite natural soda and compare the grams of sugar to both a national brand soda and oogavé. The results may surprise you.
Does Oogavé contain MSG? back to top
MSG is one of the most sinister food additives known to man. Other than adding additional flavor to savory foods such as sauces, its other major function is to trick your brain into thinking it is eating protein. Neither of these has any purpose in our soda. So no MSG. None. Zero. Nada. Ziltch. Get that stuff out of the kitchen. You deserve better.
What is the glycemic index, and where does agave nectar fall on it? back to top
To assist people with blood sugar problems (e.g., diabetes) the glycemic index was created. The index rates foods based on how they affect blood sugar. Foods with no effect, such as foods composed primarily of protein and fat (eggs and meat), rate zero. Pure glucose, the evil queen of all sweeteners, is 96. Both cane sugar (sucrose) and HFCS fall between 62 and 64. The agave nectar oogavé uses is a 17, so less than half the effect on blood sugar compared to HFCS and cane sugar. Click here for more info.
Does Oogavé contain artificial preservatives? back to top
No. Nothing artificial in Oogavé. Oogavé is a certified organic soda.
Does Oogavé have less sugar than other sodas? back to top
We have yet to find a traditional soda that has less sugar than Oogavé. Diet sodas sweetened with stevia or aspartame often contain no sugar. But they taste like bunk and studies have shown that drinking diet sodas has no effect on weight loss.
What is “caramel color"? back to top
Caramel color is made much the way caramel candy is made, by controlled heating of sugar. The difference is that caramel color is fully oxidized so instead of a nice amber brown, you have a nearly black substance that tastes bitter and smells like burnt sugar. We use caramel color in the root beer and cola because the color of the soda without it is not quite as dark as most people are used to. To make our sodas more visually appealing, we add a smidgen of caramel. The amount we add is equivalent to less than one drop per bottle; in other words, it is dietarily insignificant.
Does Oogavé contain gluten? back to top
How does Oogavé compare with sparkling juice? back to top
Juice-based sodas are definitely healthier for you than HFCS-based sodas. Juice is lower on the glycemic index and is often sweeter to the taste so you don’t need to add extra sugar. However, juice-based sodas are not nutritionally the same as having a glass of juice. While juice has many nutrients such as vitamins and fiber, much of that nutrition is lost because of the processing it undergoes. But don’t take our word for it. Look at the nutrition chart of your favorite sparkling juice. You are unlikely to find any vitamins unless they have been added. Next, take a look at the ingredient list. You are more than likely to find added flavors and added colors. Ask yourself this question: why would you have to add color and flavor to juice? The answer is because all the processing it undergoes robs the juice not only of nutrition, but color and flavor as well. We like a sparkling juice as a treat as much as anyone, but if you want nutrition, ask for yours fresh-squeezed.
How do I know that the agave nectar you use is pure? back to top
Oogavé only buys agave nectar from reputable importers. The containers are sealed in Mexico and only unsealed at our plant in Denver, CO. Esteban has personally toured our supplier’s production facility in Jalisco, Mexico. For more information, please visit our “Farm to Table” page on our website.
Do you use raw agave nectar? back to top
Raw agave nectar contains natural organisms such as bacteria and yeasts and can spoil some products like soda by fermenting. Oogavé only uses agave nectar that has been pasteurized
Does Oogavé contain caffeine? back to top
What is the difference between “natural’ and “organic?” back to top
Sometimes nothing, sometimes everything. “Organic” is a certification overseen by the federal government. There are very strict standards about what qualifies for the title, “organic.” Natural, on the other hand, is not a regulated word; it doesn’t have any legal definition. In other words, anyone could use it to mean anything. The generally accepted definition is that “natural” indicates a product that contains nothing artificial. But of course, what is artificial? So companies that do not have your best interests in mind call their product “natural” hoping you won’t notice that aspects of the product are highly questionable. The long and the short is that “organic” products are ALWAYS natural. But natural products by themselves are not necessarily “natural.” So yes, Oogavé is both all-natural and organic!
What is inulin fiber? back to top
Inulin is a naturally occurring plant fiber that is found in abundance in agave. Inulin has many health benefits. It promotes the growth of intestinal flora that aid in digestion. It isn’t broken down into sugars like many foods and slows absorption of carbohydrates to help prevent excessive blood sugar spikes. Inulin increases calcium absorption for healthy bones and there is evidence to suggest that it increases magnesium and iron absorption as well. It can help to lower total and LDL cholesterol. It makes you feel full faster so, once again, you don’t over-consume Oogavé like people are apt to do with corn- or sugar cane-sweetened beverages.
Does agave nectar have other nutrients? back to top
In addition to inulin, agave nectar also has traces of iron, copper and magnesium, all of which are essential minerals. Raw agave nectar also contains yeasts and enzymes that have beneficial properties for the human body.
What does it mean to be kosher certified? back to top
Kosher is a designation that a product conforms to biblical laws set down in the old testament. Being kosher certified ensures that oogavé has met standards for cleanliness, processing, and ingredients. While most people associate kosher with the processing of meats, Oogavé decided to become kosher certified out of respect for people who follow what is known as kashrut law. Our facility is regularly inspected to ensure that the equipment conforms, our ingredients are properly maintained and labeled, and that non-conforming materials and ingredients are not present.
How does Oogavé purify its water? back to top
Colorado is known for its exceptionally clean mountain water. To further ensure that our soda is pure, we use a three-stage filtration system to remove any impurities that may be incidentally present. The water is fresh and clear, and we drink it every day. Cheers!