Consuming moderate amounts of agave nectar as a sugar substitute poses no health risks or side effects. However, like most products that contain sugar, eating large amounts throughout the day generally causes metabolic issues and blood-sugar spikes. Agave nectar has a lower glycemic rating than most other sugar products, which in turn can help you maintain normal digestive processes.
Agave Nectar Facts
Agave nectar comes mostly from Mexico. The agave plant contains nectar, which is extracted and broken down to provide a sweeter taste to consumers. Much like corn syrup, agave nectar is available in organic varieties because of its all-natural composition. Though, unlike high-fructose corn syrup, the sweet product from the agave plant is not available in a chemically altered variety.
The nectar from the agave plant, in its pure form, has a taste that’s almost twice as sweet as table sugar. As a sugar substitute, the product works to replace other sweeteners in every aspect. Agave nectar maintains taste and composition at both high and low temperatures.
Agave Nectar Nutrition and Risk
The plant-derived sweetening agent is available in multiple varieties due to the different agave plant species. Some varieties of the nectar have a higher fructose-to-glucose ratio than others, so be sure to check the label if you are concerned about your body’s insulin levels or blood-sugar spikes.
Choosing a nectar product that has a lower fructose content serves as the healthier option. When fructose enters your body, the liver stores only so much while the rest becomes fat. The sugar does not get metabolized as well as glucose and other simple sugars.
As a natural product, agave nectar does have the potential to carry pesticides and other man made chemicals into your body. Generally, plants that get used in mass food production undergo a variety of growing conditions, many of which do involve the use of growth-enhancing chemicals.
A Safe Choice
As of 2010, no studies have shown that the agave plant or its nectar byproduct cause any medical or health complications. Since the product still remains new to U.S. food markets, little information has lead consumers to believe that any harm exists. The product, native to Mexico, has provided Mexican consumers with a sweetener option far longer than in the U.S.
Like many sugar products, agave nectar does not pose any sort serious health risk unless consumed in large amounts. The frequent consumption of fructose- and glucose-filled products tend to cause declines in heart health and an increase in weight gain. When these types of simple sugars are consumed, your body either burns the sugars as quick energy or stores them as fat.
The nectar product works as a primary sweetener in baking and cooking. Like other similar products, agave nectar also helps sweeten drinks and snack foods as well.
Vegans often choose this option rather than honey, which comes from bees rather than natural growing plants. The agave plant byproduct is available in different flavor options which work to suit all types of consumers. Different strengths of sweetness further help customers pick a proper nectar variety.