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Sugar Free – Agave Nectar

February 28, 2013

AgaveFrom Agave Nectar – The Facts
by Dherbs

Agave nectar, also known as agave syrup, is a sweetener commercially produced in Mexico from several species of the agave plant. This includes the Blue Agave, Salmiana Agave, Green Agave, Grey Agave, Thorny Agave and Rainbow Agave. There are over 160 variations or species of agave.

Agave and Tequila are both made from the sap that is found on the hearts or pinas of the plant. Agave is actually related to the lily and amaryllis plant. Contrary to popular opinion amongst health food enthusiasts, agave is not a cacti and has an altogether different life cycle.

The healthiest variety of Agave Nectar is the Blue Agave Nectar, also known as Blue Agave. Blue Agave is a species native to Mexico. While there are many kinds of agave throughout Mexico, the Blue Agave variety flourishes in volcanic soil in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Processing

How Agave Nectar is processed has a direct affect on its taste, color, and nutritional value. This is why agave nectar should be processed under 118 F, allowing it to be considered a raw food and still contain nutritional value, mineral content and enzymes.

Benefits

Agave Nectar sweetens with about 25% fewer calories and is low on the Glycemic Index, making it an ideal food for diabetics and those who desire long-lasting energy.

Even though Agave Nectar generally contains a similar amount of calories per tablespoon as sugar, you don’t have to use a lot of it because it tastes very sweet. By using a small amount of Agave Nectar, one can still achieve a high amount of sweetness. Agave Nectar is a great sweetener for cooking purposes, especially desserts.

In fact, some brands of Agave Nectar contain less than 50% fructose. With certain brands of Agave Nectar, you can use 1/3 cup of it compared to 1 cup of sugar, thus greatly reducing your caloric intake.

Some Agave nectars are raw and are cooked below 118 F, contain no artificial fillers, do not contain large amounts of fructose and have a low Glycemic Index of 27.

Controversies

Some people say that agave nectar is worse than high fructose corn syrup because. This is because high fructose corn syrup contains 55% fructose and many brands of agave nectar contain fructose levels ranging from 70-97%. The reason why some brands of agave nectar contain such high levels of fructose is because it is processed by over boiling the syrup.

Agave Nectar is processed very similar to maple syrup. It becomes very sweet from the sap that is being boiled. The same exact thing happens with Grade A maple syrup, which is not very sweet before processing.

Every brand of Agave Nectar on the market does not contain substances from the same plant. It doe not come from the same location or soil, and are not commercially processed the same way.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup is made from starch. It does not have a Low Glycemic rating and it can be a serious threat to those with diabetes. It can greatly disrupt a person’s blood sugar levels and impair homeostasis.

HFCS is a highly processed product. High Fructose Corn Syrup comes from genetically engineered corn whereas Agave Nectar is made from its natural source, the agave plant. When determining the health benefits of a certain food product, it is important to consider the original source.

In order to avoid certain brands of Agave Nectar that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, make sure that the product is organic and raw. Agave Nectar is an excellent alternative that can be used to substitute unhealthy sweeteners.

Source: http://dherbs.com/articles/agave-nectar-492.html#ixzz2M3EuqXv2

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