Agave has become very popular as an alternative sweetener mainly because it does not cause a huge spike in blood sugar as do other sweeteners such as white sugar. The fructose in agave is slow release. This is good news for diabetics. Agave’s glycemic index (GI). is low. It ranges from 28 to 32 – whereas honey’s is 58.
Other reasons to try agave nectar:
- Rich in vitamins E, C, D, and E.
- Rich in calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium
- Almost all agave’s are organically grown
- Has a long shelf life
- Agave nectar is easy to pour and due to its thin consistency, dissolves blends well with other ingredients.
Too Good to be True?
Not everyone is a fan of agave nectar. Due to great marketing, agave nectar has become known as “good for you”. It is seen as a whole, natural, health food. This advertising may be misleading. The liquid from agave is processed to extract the nectar and the process may remove many of the beneficial minerals that are natural to the agave plant.
Agave nectar is essentially refined fructose. The fructose found in whole foods is rarely a problem, however, this chemically extracted variety may be a damaging form of sugar especially if consumed in large quantities. Fructose causes insulin resistance and raises levels of triglycerides. When consumed in heavy doses, it interferes with healthy metabolism.
The contradicting information surrounding agave nectar can be confusing. On the one hand, it has a low-glycemic index and high-quality agave nectar is rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
But does this mean it is good for you? Used in moderation, agave nectar is unlikely to be harmful. However, it is important not to be fooled into thinking that it is a healthy, “free food” to be indulged at will! We need to remain conscious of what we put into our bodies, to understand what agave is and use it accordingly – not all the time and not in huge amounts.
Personally, I believe agave nectar is worth trying. As a sweetener it rates well for some of the benefits discussed above, is a good alternative to white sugar and adds variety to our diets.