Agave: Miracle Sweetener* You Need to Try
Sugar is hidden in nearly everything we eat. From our morning coffee to the bread we have at lunch, added sugar is simply everywhere. When cooking at home, taking sugar out of meals is far easier than when eating out. If you've tried the artificial sweeteners and just want to stay away from the chemicals, then definitely consider natural agave nectar.
Agave nectar is an entirely natural plant derived syrup similar in color and consistency to honey. But, compared to the other sweeteners on the shelf, agave has a few tricks up its sleeve. Agave has been cultivated for centuries and is most notably used in making tequila. This succulent plant is related to yucca and grows in the southern and western U.S. as well as central and tropical South America. From this plant comes a delicious sap which has multiple culinary uses.
The best thing about agave is that it has an incredibly low glycemic index. Here is a quick comparison compared to other sweeteners:
- Agave Nectar: 27
- Honey: 83
- High Fructose Corn Syrup: 89
- White Sugar: 92
- Maltodextrin: 150
A low glycemic index means that when digested it is a slow releasing carb. This helps you better regulate what your body does with the calories you've eaten but there is still 16 calories in one teaspoon for those watching their weight.
Though the glycemic index is lower than sugar, agave nectar is actually quite a bit sweeter. In a recipe you can substitute 1/3 cup agave nectar for 1 cup of sugar and come out with the same sweetness. Replacing sugar with agave is especially easy in drinks like coffee and tea. Most grocery stores sell it but if you're having a difficult time finding it, try a specialty organic store or turn to the Internet. It will definitely be worth the effort and chances are you'll never go back to using white sugar when you can substitute agave nectar.