When it comes to sugar substitutes, agave nectar is one of the more popular sweeteners to try. That's because while it's not quite as sweet as some of the others on the market, agave nectar is comparable to sugar in a variety of ways. It's taken directly from agave plants in Mexico, and though the nectar is usually processed in order to prepare it for consumption, it's not as artificial as most of the other sweeteners out there. There are some distinct differences between agave nectar and sugar that you should be aware of if you're thinking about using it as a substitute:
Agave Nectar Is Slightly Sweeter than Sugar
There are some artificial sweeteners out there that are literally 300 times sweeter than sugar. This means that when you use just a touch of them, you're guaranteed to get a sweetened taste. However, agave nectar is only about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar. And this can be a problem if you like your coffee, tea or other food product sweet. In order to get them sweet, you're going to have to add more agave nectar. And unlike other sweeteners that contain little or no calories, agave nectar has about the same number of calories as sugar. Therefore, using agave nectar is actually fairly comparable when it comes to calories. Because you're using just as much as you would sugar, you're not really reaping the benefits of lower calories, and you might as well be using sugar.
It's Less Likely to Raise Blood Sugar Levels
This is one of the big advantages of using agave nectar over sugar. Agave nectar has a much lower glycemic index than sugar. This means that when you use agave nectar, you will not alter the blood sugar levels in your body dramatically. The glycemic index determines how quickly carbohydrates are digested in your body. The more quickly they're digested, the quicker they get into your bloodstream and deliver a sugar rush that affects your blood sugar level. While sugar has a high glycemic index, the agave nectar glycemic index is low, meaning it won't impact your blood sugar as much. This can be especially important to diabetics.
Agave Nectar Is Fine For Vegans
If you enjoy a vegan diet, you need to take agave nectar into consideration. Some sugars are refined using charcoal that's made from the bones of animals, but agave nectar is produced in a natural way that will not affect a vegan diet.
Deciding whether to eat more agave nectar or more sugar is a difficult decision. Both have their positives and their negatives. However, in order to make sure you're making the right decision when it comes to your health, you should choose moderation regardless of which one you choose. Both can help you sweeten your food, and both can be healthy for you if you learn how to use them in moderation.