Agave nectar (more accurately called agave syrup) is a sweetener commercially produced from several species of agave, including Agave tequilana(blue agave) and Agave salmiana. Agave syrup is sweeter than honey and tends to be less viscous. Most agave syrup comes from Mexico and South Africa
Agave syrup is 1.4 to 1.6 times sweeter than sugar and is often substituted for sugar or honey in recipes. In cooking, it is commonly used as a vegan alternative to honey for those who choose to exclude animal products from their diets. Agave syrup dissolves quickly and so it can be used as a sweetener for cold beverages such as iced tea. It is added to some breakfast cereals as a binding agent.
Agave nectar is marketed as a natural sweetener, which may appeal to you if you’re looking for a sweetening agent that’s unrefined and free from additives. However, many brands of agave nectar do undergo some commercial processing before they’re distributed to consumers. If you are concerned about preservatives, artificial coloring or other chemical additives in the foods you eat, look for brands of agave that bear the label “100 percent organic” or “organic.” A food labeled 100 percent organic must be made entirely with organic ingredients, and a food labeled organic must be made with at least 95 percent organic ingredients.
Glycemic Index Value
Proponents of agave nectar claim that this sweetener is a healthier choice for diabetics than sugar or honey because of its relatively low glycemic index value. The glycemic index, or GI, measures the effects of foods that contain carbohydrates on your blood glucose levels. Because agave nectar has a high concentration of fructose, which does not exert a strong effect on blood sugar levels, the GI value of agave is low compared to other sweeteners. “Diabetes Forecast” magazine notes that agave nectar contains approximately the same number of carbohydrates as sugar — about 4 grams per teaspoon. To control your intake of carbohydrates and keep your blood sugar within a healthy range, limit your use of agave nectar as you would sugar or honey.
Despite claims that agave nectar is healthier than refined table sugar, this natural sweetener may not be any more nutritious than sugar or honey. According to the A Word on Nutrition website, the vitamin and mineral content is essentially the same as honey or sugar. Using agave syrup instead of honey or sugar may ultimately come down to a matter of personal preference rather than increased health benefits. Like other high-calorie sweeteners, agave nectar may contribute to weight gain or elevated triglyceride levels if you use it in excess. To enjoy agave nectar without compromising your health, include this product in your daily budget of discretionary calories after you’ve met your requirements for essential nutrients.
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Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agave_nectar#Culinary_use