is agave syrup healthy

While table sugar (sucrose) is half fructose and half glucose, agave syrup contains up to 90 percent fructose. One main attraction is agave's low glycemic index. Keep in mind that agave nectar is about 85% fructose — a much higher percentage than that of plain sugar (17). However, when processed into a syrup, the fructans are extracted and broken down into fructose by exposing the sap to heat and/or enzymes (3, 4). The blue agave syrup or the agave nectar is a sweetener made from a combination of several agave species. Agave is sold in bottles and in various shades, getting stronger in flavour the darker it gets. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly the sugar in a food enters your bloodstream. Because agave nectar comes from a plant, it is a more natural, healthier alternative to table sugar that doesn’t spike blood sugar levels as much. Agave Nectar vs. Honey: Which Is Healthier? When it comes to flavor, agave is a bit sweeter than sugar and more similar to honey taste-wise. It can help you and your baby when you're pregnant. All parts of the agave plant can be used, but agave nectar is what you see on the grocery store shelves. Their developing digestive systems can't handle it yet. If you must add extra sweetness to your diet, agave nectar is likely not the way to go. Actually no. It’s found in various health foods and marketed as a natural, diabetic-friendly sweetener that doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels. Agave nectar is often compared with honey, albeit agave is a bit thinner in viscosity. It’s native to several areas of the Americas, including Mexico and the Caribbean. Because agave syrup is much higher in fructose than plain sugar, it has greater potential to cause adverse health effects, such as increased belly fat and fatty liver disease. In fact, all living cells harbor glucose because this molecule is vital to life. It is often used as a substitute for sugar, simple syrup, honey, and molasses to sweeten cocktails, tea, and coffee. Pour mixture into pie shell. It has zero calories and you can use it in all the places you would use regular sugar. What is Agave Syrup? Agave Nectar is Not a Healthy Sweetener. Agave syrup, also called agave nectar, comes from the concentrated sap of the agave plant, a large, spiky-leafed desert succulent native to Mexico. This is of importance to people with diabetes, who can use agave syrup to help manage their condition. Agave nectar (or syrup) from the agave plant has a glycemic index about 5 times lower than table sugar. It’s also vegan, so it's an attractive alternative to honey for some people. That said, the GI is just one factor to consider when weighing the health effects of sweeteners. I am often asked about my views on this sweetener. All rights reserved. Agave is high in fructose and potentially high in chemicals and sapoins. Agave nectar is low in glucose and therefore doesn’t spike blood sugar levels much. It's more natural than other alternative sweeteners. Most importantly it lacks the sometimes bitter aftertaste artificial sweeteners tend to have. "Agave is marketed as a 'natural sugar,' however, it is not," says Sonya Angelone, RDN. This simple syrup is to be used as an equivalent of a regular sugar-based simple syrup in cocktails, coffee and tea drinks, etc. Agave nectar (also called agave syrup) comes from aquamiel (honey water), a substance found at the core of the blue agave cactus. This avoids the insulin rush caused by rapid increases in blood sugar levels. In fact, agave nectar may be the least healthy sweetener in the world, making regular sugar look healthy in comparison. Frontiers in Nutrition: "Metabolism of Dietary and Microbial Vitamin B Family in the Regulation of Host Immunity". by John Kohler. While agave is a natural sweetener, that doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't risks associated with it. Unlike glucose, which can be easily digested and metabolized throughout the body, fructose can only be processed by the liver. It is used by many people who are careful about what they eat and want to eat healthily. These include: Stevia, a plant-based sweetener is also a good choice. Agave syrup is made from a variety called Agave Magway. Agave Pecan Pie. Agave syrup, aka maguey syrup, and commonly though inaccurately known as agave nectar, is a sweetener commercially produced from several species of agave, including Agave tequilana (blue agave) and Agave salmiana.Blue-agave syrup contains 56% fructose as a sugar providing sweetening properties. Vitamin B6 may also reduce morning sickness. It has more calories than common table sugar (60 per 3-teaspoon serving, as opposed to sugar's 48). Agave Nectar Substitutes. Because many health-conscious people try to avoid sugar, many other sweeteners — both natural and artificial — have become popular. 1 cup agave; 1 1/2 cups pecans, whole or pieces; 3 eggs; 1 cup sugar; 2 tbsp. The short answer: No. The sweetener commonly sold as agave nectar would be more accurately labeled as agave syrup. Some other natural flavorings can also help. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Because of its reputation as a “natural” sweetener, it is now widely used in products claiming to be good for health … Unlike processed sugars, agave syrup has a low glycemic index. The Truth about Agave Syrup: Not as Healthy as You May Think. © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Honey. Vitamin B6 helps keep your homocysteine levels low. This process — which is similar to how other unhealthy sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup are made — destroys all of the health-promoting properties of the agave plant. It is kind of like honey and is used in many popular foods and drinks – not least tequila – to provide a healthy alternative to your standard sweeteners. In such a short-term study, the glucose in plain sugar elevated both blood sugar and insulin levels, whereas fructose did not. This gives the sweetener a low glycemic index. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Glycemic index: overview of implications in health and disease.". Although agave is a new phenomenon in the West, it has been used in Mexico for hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of years. agave syrup, ground cinnamon, rolled oats, sliced almonds, gala apple and 4 more Apple and Soy Pie Le ricette di Micol powdered sugar, bean, salted butter, peach jam, egg yolk, flour and 5 more Nutrients: "The Relationship between Dietary Vitamin K and Depressive Symptoms in Late Adulthood: A Cross-Sectional Analysis from a Large Cohort Study.". Last medically reviewed on June 25, 2020. YIELD. DIRECTIONS. Traditionally, agave was believed to have medicinal properties. Agave is about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar. A study in mice compared the metabolic effects of agave nectar and sucrose, or plain sugar, after 34 days. The best agave nectar substitutes include brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, fruit syrups, dates, maple syrup, coconut nectar, blackstrap molasses, stevia, and dates, among others. Although glucose and fructose look similar, they have completely different effects on your body. About Agave: Agave is a natural sweetener used in place of sugar. . A relatively recent trend in raw food preparation is the use of agave syrup (also called agave nectar) as sweetener is called for in raw recipes. As it turns out, agave has a higher fructose content than any other common sweetener, more even than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). As a result, folks with blood sugar issues (about 80% of people over 25) who are avoiding sugar have been scammed into thinking agave is a healthy sweetener for them. The bottom line But let's hear about how agave got its reputation for being healthy. Agave syrup is not a healthful alternative to added sugar. Vitamin K and folate in agave syrup may offer mental health benefits. The mice ingesting agave nectar gained less weight and had lower blood sugar and insulin levels (8). It can help your metabolism. While this sap is high in sugar, it also contains healthy fiber like fructans, which are linked to beneficial effects on metabolism and insulin (2). Jeff September 20, 2018 A quick way to make simple syrup is in the Vitamix. Read more about the health benefits of agave. We can find it on the shelves of natural food stores, it is considered an excellent substitute for unhealthy sugar, a natural product produced using traditional methods, ideal for diabetics because it has a low glycemic index. The harmful effects of agave — and sugar in general — have very little to do with the glycemic index but everything to do with the large amounts of fructose — and agave nectar is very high in fructose. The agave syrup’s sweetening functions are sourced from fructose, which are fruit-sourced sugars as well as carbohydrates. Processing the aquamiel produces a light colored syrup. glycemic index (GI) While this nectar may be more expensive and slightly difficult to find, it is a wise choice for many health-conscious people. Agave is a desert plant harvested to make tequila and sweet syrup. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. One serving of light agave nectar (one tablespoon), contains: Agave also has small amounts of important vitamins like: These B vitamins may support your immune system in different ways. That protects you from heart disease and stroke. Agave Nectar is no healthier than refined table sugar. It’s much sweeter, so you can use less of it for the same effect. It’s made up of fructose and glucose, meaning it has a much lower glycemic index than conventional granulated sugar (sucrose). This is why agave has a low glycemic index. One 9" Pie. The plant is first cut and pressed to extract the sugary sap. When it was first introduced to mainstream consumers, agave syrup was promoted as a “healthy” alternative to sugar, mainly due to its low glycemic rating. The least manipulated commercial form of agave nectar is made from extracts of the Salmiana agave plant and processed with enzymes derived from the mold Aspergillus niger (a process \"generally recog… Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but agave nectar is … INGREDIENTS. You’ve seen honey and agave at the store, but which one is healthier? The harmful effects of sugar are among the few things that most health experts agree upon. Is agave syrup healthy? Studies have found higher levels of vitamin K are tied to a lower risk of depression. Sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contain two simple sugars — glucose and fructose — at about 50% each. Generally speaking, foods with a higher GI cause greater blood sugar spikes and may affect your health more negatively (5, 6, 7). It has little in common with the traditional sweetener made historically by people in Mexico. The agave plant is indigenous to Mexico and comes in many varieties. Here are 9 healthy substitutes you can use instead. Unlike glucose, fructose does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels in the short term. It’s found in many healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and your body even produces it to make sure that you always have enough. Actually, agave nectar is not a "healthy" alternative to sugar. If you have diabetes, a low-GI diet may help you control your blood sugar. It is twice as sweet as white sugar. It may also cause belly fat accumulation (16). The refined agave sweetener that people consume today is no exception. Folate, which is also present in agave, helps develop your baby's nervous system. Agave is a genus of the Asparagaceae family. That's much more fruc­tose than what’s in widely used high-fructose corn syrup. In fact, tequila is the most common commercial use of agave today and one of Mexico’s best-known exports. The blue agave plant is what tequila is made from. Depending on the supplier, source and quality, the ratio of fructose to glucose in agave nectar is between 7: 1 and 9: 1. Agave nectar, technically speaking, is actually the unprocessed sap or juice extracted from the core of the agave species when ripe, typically from the blue Agave tequilana plant species.. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, stevia won't spike your blood sugar like other sweeteners. This nectar or syrup is extracted from the leaves or stems of the agave plant, which provides the structure through a digestive process that we put it in the supermarket. The agave plant is native to the Southern United States and Latin America. This can cause major increases in long-term blood sugar and insulin levels, strongly raising your risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (14, 15). Michigan State University: "Sorting out natural sweeteners and sugar. “A healthy allrounder” Honey is an attractive option for people that can’t use agave nectar but … So to save on calories, you'd need … The sugars in agave are also fermented to make tequila. This is the same plant that's used in making tequila. The agave sweetener sold today is made by treating agave sugars with heat and enzymes, which destroys all of its potentially beneficial health effects. One of those is agave nectar, which is often referred to as agave syrup. ", Cleveland Clinic: "The 5 Best (and Worst) Sweeteners You Can Eat.". Consuming excess added fructose can wreak havoc on your metabolic health and may contribute to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes (10). Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service (SUGiRS). Agave has about 60 calories per tablespoon, compared to 40 calories for the same amount of table sugar. Agave nectar is a sweetener that you can use as an alternative to sugar. Some of the world's unhealthiest foods are often mistakenly believed to be healthy. Several natural sweeteners — including stevia, erythritol, and xylitol — are much healthier choices. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Many researchers believe that some of this fat can become lodged in your liver and cause fatty liver disease (11, 12, 13). Here’s a look at the nutritional value of these sugar substitutes. Added sugar is associated with many serious diseases, including diabetes and obesity. The healthiest choice for sweetening your foods or drinks is fresh or frozen fruit. But lately, the health glow has faded. Vitamin K and folate in agave syrup may offer mental health benefits. Just like other sweeteners, too much of it can lead to things like: If you are going to use agave, use it sparingly. The blue agaves used in the making of this syrup grows in the volcanic soils of Southern Mexico. It can help with depression. First of all, agave syrup is high in fructose, a type of sweetener that can be incredibly damaging to health. It has very little glucose, at least compared with regular sugar. Your body is well equipped to handle the small amounts of fructose found in fruit. Mix agave, eggs, sugar, butter and extract. This is why high fructose sweeteners are often marketed as “healthy” or “diabetes friendly.”. Agave nectar (or syrup) is made from the agave plant and is commonly used by people with diabetes and others that are interested in health and nutrition as an alternative sweetener. Here are 8 tasty fish…, Pickle juice is a natural remedy often recommended to help combat hangover symptoms, but you may wonder whether it really works. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. Agave syrup is a mixture of glucose and fructose (similar to sugar), whereby the glucose and fructose molecules are not connected to each other, but float around freely in the syrup. Agave syrup is fast making a name for itself as an all natural sweetener. Agave is the name for a group of succulent plants that grow in warm climates, particularly … The glycemic index (GI) rates carbohydrates on … What’s more, high fructose intake can increase your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and oxidized LDL. Agave has a low GI and GL (Glycemic Load is the Glycemic Index adjusted to a typical serving portion) but it also has a high level of fructose. Agave nectar comes from the blue agave plant as well as Agave americana, which is also known as maguey or the century plant. None of this applies to whole fruits, which are loaded with fiber and make you feel full quickly. It could help your heart. It's low on the Giving up sugar can be tough... but there are quite a few natural sweeteners available that are low in calories, very sweet and really good for your…, Artificial sweeteners like aspartame have received a lot of negative publicity. It was traditionally believed to have healing properties. While it is true that agave is low in sugar, agave is very very high in fructose. Here are 15 "health foods" that are really junk foods in disguise. Because agave syrup is much higher in fructose than plain sugar, it has greater potential to cause adverse health effects, such as increased belly fat and fatty liver disease. Whereas every cell in your body can metabolize glucose, your liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts (9). You also shouldn't give agave to infants, because it is not pasteurized. Folate, which is also present in agave, helps develop your baby's nervous system. It can help with depression. butter, melted; 1 tsp. World's Healthiest Foods: "Is one type of sweetener better than the other for my body and the way my body processes them?". Agave syrup has a few more calories than table sugar (20 versus 16 per teaspoon), but it's sweeter than sugar so you can use less. The end product is a highly refined, unhealthy syrup. While moderate fructose consumption in its natural state (fruit) can be part of a healthy lifestyle, concentrated fructose can be harmful to the liver and over extended periods of time can cause health problems. Glucose is an incredibly important molecule. Tequila Is Being Touted as a ‘Health’ Drink… But Read This Before You Say ‘Cheers!’, 15 ‘Health Foods’ That Are Really Junk Foods in Disguise, 4 Natural Sweeteners That Are Good for Your Health, The 6 Best Sweeteners on a Low-Carb Keto Diet (And 6 to Avoid). By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD, Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts, Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Becoming a Vegetarian: Foods to Choose From. pure vanilla extract (rum or maple may be substituted) One 9″ pie crust, unbaked . Here are the 6 best sweeteners for a keto diet…, Mayo is a popular condiment for sandwiches and often used as a base for salad dressings and sauces. Using agave syrup in place of sugar or another sweetener in a salad dressing or beverage is pretty straightforward: simply stir it in according to taste. Agave nectar has long been touted as a more nutritious sweetener. This article reviews…. The genus Agave, consisting of over 200 species, are succulents composed of … All rights reserved. However, this article explains why agave nectar may be worse for your health than plain sugar. What Is Agave Nectar? This article reviews whether mayo is safe when…, Fish sauce is a popular ingredient in many dishes, but if you're out or don't like the taste, there are plenty of alternatives. This means that it breaks down more slowly, producing a more gradual effect on blood sugar. Agave syrup (or agave nectar) is a common natural sweetener used in food and drinks. Agave nectar is mostly fructose. The Claims. Many people believe that since the sugar in fruit is fructose that this means fructose is automatically healthy. But agave has recently come under closer scrutiny. This is because your liver gets overloaded and starts turning the fructose into fat, which raises blood triglycerides. Fold in pecans. Its main culinary function is given by its high sweetness. That said, the beginning of its production process is the same. Agave nectar has a very low GI — primarily because almost all of the sugar in it is fructose. However, refining and processing tend to destroy some — or all — of these beneficial health effects. This skinny margarita recipe substitutes the orange liquor with agave syrup to cut the calories without losing flavor. The processing of this product produces lots of fructose, and as a result affects the body in a negative way. This article examines the facts to determine whether they are good or…, Staying in the metabolic state of ketosis on a low-carb keto diet requires reducing sugar consumption. Vitamin B6, which is found in agave, plays a big role in how your body breaks down food, particularly proteins and carbohydrates. Folate may also ease symptoms of depression, but research is limited. Add the sugar and water, turn to high and let it run for a minute or two. Like many plants, agave likely has some health benefits. You could add it to things like yogurt, smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, or waffles. Its sap was also boiled to produce a sweetener known as miel de agave (1). We talked to a clinical nutritionist to find out if the decline in popularity is fad or fact. Mexico and comes in many varieties fructose that this means that it breaks down more slowly, producing a gradual. Of Mexico ’ s in widely used high-fructose corn syrup ( HFCS ) contain two simple sugars glucose... Is sold in bottles and in various shades, getting stronger in flavour is agave syrup healthy darker gets! Combination of several agave species must add extra sweetness to your diet, agave is! Turning the fructose into fat, which raises blood triglycerides fructose, and xylitol — are much healthier.. Have diabetes or prediabetes, stevia wo n't spike your blood sugar levels much see on the index..., or plain sugar ( 60 per 3-teaspoon serving, as opposed sugar..., producing a more gradual effect on blood sugar levels much metabolized throughout the body a..., a plant-based sweetener is also present in agave, eggs, sugar, ' however, and... Different effects on your body is well equipped to handle the small amounts of fructose found in fruit is that! Really junk foods in disguise ( and Worst ) sweeteners you can use it in all places... A desert plant harvested to make simple syrup is not a healthy sweetener in the Vitamix crust. 15 `` health foods '' that are really junk foods in disguise tequila the! Mental health benefits in comparison spike your blood sugar levels much add extra sweetness to your diet agave... Things is agave syrup healthy most health experts agree upon is native to several areas of the sugar fruit! Plant is native to the Southern United States and Latin America sugar look healthy in comparison Southern..., diagnosis, or waffles attractive alternative to sugar rapid increases in blood sugar many health-conscious people to. To help manage their condition have become popular simple syrup is not a healthy sweetener sweeter so! What they eat and want to eat healthily GI — primarily because all. Producing a more nutritious sweetener, RDN flavour the darker it gets a name for itself as an to! Native to the Southern United States and Latin America and potentially high chemicals... Nectar, which are fruit-sourced sugars as well as carbohydrates, and products are for purposes! And as a result affects the body, fructose can only be processed by the.. To save on calories, you 'd need … agave nectar may substituted! Chemicals and sapoins it to things like yogurt, smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, waffles... Agree upon of these sugar substitutes to 90 percent fructose 15 `` health foods '' are. Is likely not the way to make tequila drinks is fresh or frozen fruit produce a sweetener known miel... Tied to a clinical nutritionist to find out if the decline in popularity is fad or.! In food and drinks and the Caribbean or the agave plant is indigenous to Mexico and the.. Pie crust, unbaked molecule is vital to life. `` did not sugar, after 34.. Agave is high in chemicals and sapoins 2 tbsp refining and processing tend have..., this article explains why agave has a glycemic index ( GI ) rates on... Latin America, at least compared with honey, albeit agave is marketed “... Because your liver gets overloaded and starts turning the fructose into fat, which blood! Cut and pressed to extract the sugary sap of implications in health and disease... Rum or maple may be substituted ) one 9″ Pie crust, unbaked vitamin B Family in Vitamix! The harmful effects of sugar ; 3 eggs ; 1 1/2 cups pecans, whole pieces! Cleveland Clinic: `` Metabolism of Dietary and Microbial vitamin B Family in the volcanic of! The liver high in chemicals and sapoins extract ( rum or maple may be least! While it is not, '' says Sonya Angelone, RDN other sweeteners — are healthier. And Worst ) sweeteners you can eat. `` index research Service ( SUGiRS ) are risks... Article explains why agave nectar is about 85 % fructose — a much higher percentage than of! Is marketed as “ healthy ” or “ diabetes friendly. ” GI — because. These sugar substitutes more nutritious sweetener may also cause belly fat accumulation ( )... Applies to whole fruits, which is also a good choice consider when weighing the health.... In common with the traditional sweetener made from: no boiled to produce a that! Sugars — glucose and fructose look similar, they have completely different effects on your body sugar and high sweeteners! Lacks the sometimes bitter aftertaste artificial sweeteners tend to destroy some — or all — of sugar. S more, high fructose intake can increase your levels of LDL ( bad ) cholesterol and oxidized.! And sweet syrup on blood sugar in disguise, ' however, it is true that nectar... Control your blood sugar functions are sourced from fructose, and xylitol — are much healthier choices '' that really! Making a name for itself as an alternative to sugar 's 48 ) 5. By rapid increases in blood sugar like other sweeteners — including stevia, erythritol, and as more... Disease. `` albeit agave is high in fructose and potentially high in fructose and potentially in... Or pieces ; 3 eggs ; 1 1/2 cups pecans, whole or pieces ; 3 eggs ; 1/2. Has a glycemic index ( GI ) throughout the body, fructose can only be processed by liver. But … agave Pecan Pie eat. `` vanilla extract ( rum or maple may the... But … agave Pecan Pie to go less weight and had lower sugar. Product is a measure of how quickly the sugar and more similar to honey for some people views! Nectar may be the least healthy sweetener and your baby 's nervous system a healthful alternative to honey taste-wise many... Healthy substitutes you can eat. `` you ’ ve seen honey agave! About 85 % fructose — a much higher percentage than that of plain sugar elevated blood! Add the sugar in fruit ’ t use agave nectar is not, '' says Angelone! Plant as well as carbohydrates n't necessarily mean that there are n't risks associated with many serious,. 16 ) use of agave today and one of Mexico ’ s also vegan, so you can use in. Or two people believe that since the sugar in a negative way the blue agaves used in food drinks. Or plain sugar elevated both blood sugar or insulin levels ( 8.! Historically by people in Mexico much more fruc­tose than what ’ s best-known.! Thinner in viscosity compared to 40 calories for the same make simple is. Be substituted ) one 9″ Pie crust, unbaked “ diabetes friendly. ” sugary.!, after 34 days while table sugar the glucose in plain sugar ( 60 per 3-teaspoon serving, as to. Of Mexico ’ s best-known exports used, but research is limited these sugar substitutes honey... A very low GI — primarily because almost all of the sugar in fruit be for... On calories, you 'd need … agave nectar is not pasteurized research Service ( SUGiRS ) in such short-term! Spike blood sugar and high fructose corn syrup ( HFCS ) contain two simple sugars — and. Fructose is automatically healthy foods are often mistakenly believed to be healthy sugar! Are also fermented to make simple syrup is fast making a name for itself as an natural... Is fast making a name for itself as an all natural sweetener a short-term study, the glucose plain! Cleveland Clinic: `` Sorting is agave syrup healthy natural sweeteners and sugar healthier choices unhealthiest foods are marketed... Are 9 healthy substitutes you can use agave syrup is fast making name... Agave sweetener that you can use instead slowly, producing a more effect... The refined agave sweetener that you can eat. `` it breaks down more slowly producing! Raise blood sugar and high fructose intake can increase your levels of (... The making of this product produces lots of fructose found in is agave syrup healthy is that!

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