If you’re trying to steer clear of refined sugar, you may opt for a sugar substitute. There are so many choices around these days, from natural to artificial. One of the most popular all-natural alternatives to refined sugar is agave nectar.
Agave nectar, just like what the name says, is derived from agave, which is a plant that thrives in the desert. Since it comes from nature, many people immediately assume that it’s a healthy substitute for refined sugar. While agave nectar is undeniably better for you than refined sugar, nutrition experts raise an eyebrow. They say that just because agave nectar comes from a plant doesn’t necessarily mean right away that it is completely healthy.
For this article, we will take a look at both the pros and cons of using agave nectar as a replacement for refined sugar. The goal is for you to become a smart shopper after reading the positives and negatives of agave nectar.
Pro: It Won’t Cause a Dramatic Spike in Your Blood Sugar
Since the kind of sugar found in agave nectar is immediately processed in the liver, it won’t leave your blood sugar in a wreck. This is exactly the reason why many experts say that agave nectar is good for diabetics. Similarly, because agave nectar does not cause a considerable spike in your blood sugar, you don’t have to put up with all the nasty symptoms that are associated with the crash that follows sugar rush or sugar high.
Con: But It May Still Cause Insulin Resistance
While it’s true that the kind of sugar found in agave nectar is the all-natural kind, medical professionals say that it actually packs more sugar than other refined sugar substitutes that come from nature. If consumed in excessive amounts for extended periods of time, agave nectar may actually cause insulin resistance, a condition wherein the cells respond to the hormone insulin less efficiently. According to experts, insulin resistance is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Pro: It May be Consumed by People on a Vegan Diet
Are you a vegetarian and you cannot use honey as your alternative to refined sugar? You’ll be glad to know that agave nectar is around. Just like what’s mentioned earlier, this well-known substitute for refined sugar comes from plants, so it’s perfectly okay to be consumed by vegans. Aside from stevia, maple syrup and barley malt syrup, people who don’t want to consume animal products may also turn to agave nectar to add more sweetness to their lives.
Con: Agave Nectar is Still Loaded with Calories
Just because agave nectar doesn’t trigger a dramatic increase in blood sugar doesn’t mean you should have no restraint in using it. Especially if you are a weight-conscious person, it is still important to use agave nectar in moderation. Just like any other all-natural alternative to refined sugar like honey and maple syrup, it is still loaded with calories. But by using agave nectar in moderation, you should have no worries about consuming more calories than you should.
Pro: You Need to Consume Only a Little of It
It is said that agave nectar is one of the sweetest natural sweeteners on the face of the planet. This is good news because not only will it save you from consuming lots of it, but also from you having to spend a lot of money on sweeteners. For example, thanks to its super sweetness, a particular amount of agave nectar can last longer than the same amount of honey since you need to use less agave nectar just to attain the right sweetness.
Con: There is Very Little Nutritional Value in Agave Nectar
Honey is a really popular alternative to refined sugar not only due to its exceptional sweetness and taste, but also for its impressive nutritional profile. Honey is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidant, and that is why it’s dubbed by many as a superfood. On the other hand, agave nectar does not boast of the same nutritional profile as honey. Yes, it may be way sweeter than honey, but it cannot compete with honey nutrition-wise.