Agave nectar properties

Benefits of agave nectar


What is agave syrup?

Agave syrup or agave nectar is a sweetener that is derived from plants of the genus Agave , mainly blue agave (Agave tequilana), the same plant used for the production of fermented beverages such as tequila. These plants are native to Mexico.

The sap of the agave is rich in inulin, a soluble fiber composed of long chains of fructose linked to a glucose. By enzymatic processes, chains of sugars break, freeing inulin (mainly fructose, and a lesser amount, sucrose and glucose).

After a refining process, agave syrup is obtained, with a very high fructose content. Because or its nature, fructose is sweeter than sugar and it is absorbed more slowly than this (low glycemic index).

Black agave syrup is less processed and its sugar content is lower.

Agave syrup composition

Agave syrup can be found in stores. It is a saturated sugar product. It contains 99.5% sugar (mostly fructose), and is a highly refined product. He has lost all the fiber, vitamins and minerals of agave.

As for its carbohydrate content, agave syrup contains up to 92% fructose and 8% glucose.

Being rich in fructose, it does not stimulate insulin production as much as sugar, so it is better tolerated by diabetics.

The agave has a caloric content similar to sugar, but fructose is much sweeter, so with small quantities, more sweetness is achieved and calories are saved.

Black agave syrup, less refined

There are different degrees of refining agave syrup.

The further refinement, the lower its content in vitamins and minerals.

Photo of agave syrup
Photo of agave syrup

Black agave syrup is considered less refined and contains less carbohydrates.

Black agave syrup contains 77% carbohydrate, whereas agave refined syrup the contains 99.5%.

Glycemic index of agave syrup

Agave syrup has a very low glycemic index. In recommended amounts, agave syrup does not produce hyperglycemia and is more suitable for diabetics than other options such as sugar, because less is required to sweeten.

However, being a food rich in simple carbohydrates, you can not use at will, because it is counted as a ration of sugar.

If we compare the glycemic index of sweeteners, agave syrup has a very low value of 20, much lower than other sweeteners such as sucrose or sugar (58) or honey (37).

SweetenerGlycemic index
Sucrose (Sugar)58
Orange juice57
Agave syrup20

How agave syrup is used for cooking

Agave syrup can be used as sugar in many recipes: ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies, milkshakes, coffees and drinks.

It is a natural substitute for liquid caramel used in desserts or decoration of dishes, and it has not so high a glycemic index.

The equivalent would be: 1 sugar = 6ml. agave syrup.

To replace sugar in recipes: 100 g sugar are equivalent to 65 ml of syrup (For baked, the liquid of the recipe has to be reduced or increase the amount of flour).

It is increasingly common this sweetener, and currently it can be found in large containers or even in single doses to add to tea or infusion.

Dangers and contraindications of agave syrup

Agave syrup is a refined product. It contains mainly fructose and provides no fiber. It is not recommended to use it in excess, as neither is fructose, sugar or honey.

High intake of agave syrup can present the same problems of fructose: tooth decay, increased uric acid and elevated triglycerides.

More information on agave.

This article was endorsed by Montserrat Enrich - Journalist specializing in edible wild plants and plant uses.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

7 October, 2021

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