Corn Syrup vs. Agave Nectar

Both corn syrup and agave nectar come from natural plant sources. Each of these sweeteners provides a desirable taste, though consuming too much of either product causes harm to your metabolic abilities. When eaten in moderation, neither corn syrup nor the nectar from the agave plant possess the ability to adversely affect your health. The key difference between the two involves pure corn syrup’s wrongful association with high fructose corn syrup, a much more harmful type of the sweetener.

Corn Syrup Information

Corn syrup comes from corn, just as agave nectar comes from the agave plant. All-natural corn syrup contains pure ingredients and no additives. An enzyme based extraction process helps separate the syrupy liquid from the natural corn starches.

Pure corn syrup has much lower levels of fructose than high-fructose corn syrup and even some forms of agave nectar. Fructose does not become readily digestible in your body and often causes liver damage, increased blood pressure and metabolic disorders.

Corn syrup gets converted into HFCS when enzymes convert glucose to fructose, turning the sugar substitute into a much sweeter mixture. This process has helped the food production industry save money by using less product at the expense of your health.

Rarely does pure corn syrup show up on a food label. You often find high fructose corn syrup as the key ingredient that sweetens up snack foods and items found in grocery stores and restaurants. This stands as a direct result of mass food producers’ decision to cut costs by decreasing the amount of product needed to sweeten an item.

Agave Nectar Information

This plant derived sweetener naturally contains moderate levels of fructose and glucose. Some agave species produce nectar with higher fructose levels. For example, one agave plant used commercially to produce the sweet nectar product contains about 90% fructose compared to roughly 10% glucose, while another has an almost even fructose-to-glucose ratio.


Both of these products provide healthier sweetening options when compared to table sugar. Agave nectar and corn syrup have fructose and glucose, both of which provide energy for your cells.

Pure corn syrup and the lighter versions of agave nectar have similar glycemic ratings since they both cause moderate to low blood-sugar spikes. This helps your body regulate normal metabolic functions and reduces the chance of storing the sugars as fat.

Since corn syrup and agave nectar come directly from plants and include animal based additives or enhancements, each of the sweeteners works with a traditional vegan diet.

Unlike high-fructose corn syrup, both of the aforementioned products have moderately sweet flavors in their purest forms. Only when corn syrup becomes chemically enhances does it possess a sweeter taste than natural sugar products.

Differences and Ideas

Corn syrup naturally has slightly more calories than agave nectar per 1 tablespoon serving size. The sweet source from the agave plant also has less of a glycemic load when in its pure form.

Consuming moderate levels of either of the two sweeteners remains safe, so long as you do not have diabetic or other medical concerns. Remember that corn syrup has a far different nutritional impact in comparison to high fructose corn syrup.


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