It has little in common with the traditional sweetener made historically by people in Mexico. glycemic index (GI) In fact, agave nectar may be the least healthy sweetener in the world, making regular sugar look healthy in comparison. It’s native to several areas of the Americas, including Mexico and the Caribbean. Glucose is an incredibly important molecule. The blue agaves used in the making of this syrup grows in the volcanic soils of Southern Mexico. Processing the aquamiel produces a light colored syrup. Agave is about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Nutrients: "The Relationship between Dietary Vitamin K and Depressive Symptoms in Late Adulthood: A Cross-Sectional Analysis from a Large Cohort Study.". That said, the GI is just one factor to consider when weighing the health effects of sweeteners. Agave nectar is low in glucose and therefore doesn’t spike blood sugar levels much. If you have diabetes, a low-GI diet may help you control your blood sugar. 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. The agave sweetener sold today is made by treating agave sugars with heat and enzymes, which destroys all of its potentially beneficial health effects. The agave plant is indigenous to Mexico and comes in many varieties. What is Agave Syrup? Agave is a genus of the Asparagaceae family. So to save on calories, you'd need … Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. 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 is marketed as a 'natural sugar,' however, it is not," says Sonya Angelone, RDN. Agave Pecan Pie. Vitamin B6, which is found in agave, plays a big role in how your body breaks down food, particularly proteins and carbohydrates. 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. ", Cleveland Clinic: "The 5 Best (and Worst) Sweeteners You Can Eat.". 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. That said, the beginning of its production process is the same. All parts of the agave plant can be used, but agave nectar is what you see on the grocery store shelves. Vitamin K and folate in agave syrup may offer mental health benefits. While table sugar (sucrose) is half fructose and half glucose, agave syrup contains up to 90 percent fructose. Folate may also ease symptoms of depression, but research is limited. Agave Nectar is no healthier than refined table sugar. The mice ingesting agave nectar gained less weight and had lower blood sugar and insulin levels (8). © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. It can help with depression. Agave syrup is not a healthful alternative to added sugar. While it is true that agave is low in sugar, agave is very very high in fructose. If you must add extra sweetness to your diet, agave nectar is likely not the way to go. The harmful effects of sugar are among the few things that most health experts agree upon. 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. But let's hear about how agave got its reputation for being healthy. Vitamin K and folate in agave syrup may offer mental health benefits. Agave syrup, also called agave nectar, comes from the concentrated sap of the agave plant, a large, spiky-leafed desert succulent native to Mexico. 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. World's Healthiest Foods: "Is one type of sweetener better than the other for my body and the way my body processes them?". What’s more, high fructose intake can increase your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and oxidized LDL. YIELD. In fact, tequila is the most common commercial use of agave today and one of Mexico’s best-known exports. DIRECTIONS. Frontiers in Nutrition: "Metabolism of Dietary and Microbial Vitamin B Family in the Regulation of Host Immunity". Studies have found higher levels of vitamin K are tied to a lower risk of depression. Vitamin B6 may also reduce morning sickness. While this nectar may be more expensive and slightly difficult to find, it is a wise choice for many health-conscious people. Unlike glucose, which can be easily digested and metabolized throughout the body, fructose can only be processed by the liver. Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service (SUGiRS). If you have diabetes or prediabetes, stevia won't spike your blood sugar like other sweeteners. This is the same plant that's used in making tequila. We talked to a clinical nutritionist to find out if the decline in popularity is fad or fact. Michigan State University: "Sorting out natural sweeteners and sugar. by John Kohler. However, this article explains why agave nectar may be worse for your health than plain sugar. Agave Nectar is Not a Healthy Sweetener. None of this applies to whole fruits, which are loaded with fiber and make you feel full quickly. What Is Agave Nectar? Generally speaking, foods with a higher GI cause greater blood sugar spikes and may affect your health more negatively (5, 6, 7). 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. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Glycemic index: overview of implications in health and disease.". First of all, agave syrup is high in fructose, a type of sweetener that can be incredibly damaging to health. 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. It may also cause belly fat accumulation (16). The agave syrup’s sweetening functions are sourced from fructose, which are fruit-sourced sugars as well as carbohydrates. It is often used as a substitute for sugar, simple syrup, honey, and molasses to sweeten cocktails, tea, and coffee. You also shouldn't give agave to infants, because it is not pasteurized. Agave nectar is mostly fructose. 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). Although agave is a new phenomenon in the West, it has been used in Mexico for hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of years. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly the sugar in a food enters your bloodstream. The blue agave syrup or the agave nectar is a sweetener made from a combination of several agave species. Pour mixture into pie shell. Agave is the name for a group of succulent plants that grow in warm climates, particularly … Agave nectar (or syrup) from the agave plant has a glycemic index about 5 times lower than table sugar. Agave nectar has long been touted as a more nutritious sweetener. 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. But lately, the health glow has faded. Agave syrup (or agave nectar) is a common natural sweetener used in food and drinks. The Truth about Agave Syrup: Not as Healthy as You May Think. The sugars in agave are also fermented to make tequila. 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). Agave Nectar vs. Honey: Which Is Healthier? 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