Madhava agave nectar is a syrup made from the sap of a Mexican plant. There are several types of agave plant. The sap of the blue agave is used to make tequila, but the sap of the madhave agave is used to make an all natural sweetener. Agave nectar has been widely touted as a healthy natural sweetener that's low on the glycemic index. Here's the truth about agave nectar.
Why is Agave Nectar So Popular?
Agave nectar has been hailed as a new, healthy, all natural sweetener that's low on the glycemic index (and therefore safe for diabetics to use). Proponents of agave nectar have claimed that it's all natural and organic, and that it's low on the glycemic index, meaning it doesn't cause spikes in blood sugar the way that other sweeteners do. They also claim that agave nectar is low in calories, and therefore suitable both for diabetics and those with weight control problems.
Myths About Agave Nectar
Medical professionals are quick to point out that few studies have been conducted into the safety of agave nectar for diabetics. Diabetics who wish to use agave nectar as a natural sweetener should first speak to a physician.
Madhava agave nectar is often processed with chemicals. Your body will process a nectar made with chemicals more like refined sugar instead of natural fruit sugars. Therefore, you won't enjoy any benefit from using an agave nectar that's processed with chemicals. Some manufacturers do use raw, unprocessed, pure agave sap to make their nectars. Choose USDA Organic agave nectar.
Agave nectar isn't low in calories. It contains the same number of calories as white refined sugar, by the serving. Both contain about 16 calories per teaspoon. Those who are trying to lose weight should avoid or minimize their use of madhava agave nectar.
Not all agave nectars are low on the glycemic index. A nectar's place on the glycemic index changes according to how it is processed. Speak to your physician, read the labels and contact the manufacturer, if necessary, to find out where your favorite brands of agave nectar rank on the glycemic index.
Because much of the agave nectar that is consumed in the United States is harvested in Mexico, it may contain pesticides or other chemicals banned, by law, from use in the U.S. Mexican manufacturers often mix agave nectar with high fructose corn syrup, so read labels carefully to make sure you're not buying the very thing you wish to avoid.
Using Agave Nectar with Caution
It's best to choose an agave nectar that's pure and processed without the use of chemicals. USDA Organic nectars are free of chemicals and pesticides and contain no high fructose corn syrup. Agave nectar may not be a completely healthy alternative to refined sugar and other sweeteners, but it's perfectly healthy for most people if used in moderation. Agave nectars are popular in beverages, due to their mild taste, and can also be used as a sweetener in baked goods and a substitute for pancake syrup.