Saturday, February 12, 2011

How Healthy is Agave Nectar?

"Agave nectar (also called agave syrup) has been gaining in
popularity as a supposedly healthful way to satisfy America's
sweet tooth. Harvested from agave (a desert plant related to
the yucca), the raw juice is processed and filtered to yield an
amber liquid. Many bottled agave nectars have no added preservatives,
sweeteners, or chemicals, and its neutral flavor sweetens without
overpowering. While it has more calories than sugar (60 calories
per tablespoon to table sugar's 45 calories), it's roughly 1.4
times sweeter, meaning you can use less. (Manufacturer's suggest
swapping 2/3 cup of agave nectar for every cup of sugar in a recipe.)
However, agave nectar is a processed food and contains fructose and
glucose like most other sweeteners, such as molasses, honey, and table
sugar. And don't believe claims that agave nectar is always a safe
choice for diabetics: It was banned by the Glycemic Research Institute,
a lab that provides FDA-recognized certification for low-glycemic foods,
after several diabetic test subjects given agave nectar suffered serious
reactions. Bottom line: Agave nectar does have some sweet advantages,
but like all sugars, it should be enjoyed sparingly."

-Bon Appetit Magazine December 2010