“Exploring the Vitamin Content and Health Benefits of Agave Nectar”

Agave syrup is also known as agave nectar. It is made from the juice filtered out of the native Mexican agave plant. The agave plant can be either Agave salmiana, or blue agave tequilina (which is also used to produce tequila).

The agave leaves are first pulped and pressed to extract the juice. The juices filtered are heated to evaporate water and convert the advanced sugars.

Another method of production uses enzymes from the Aspergillus mold to break the bonds that hold together the advanced sugar molecules. Both methods produce a sweetened, concentrated nectar that contains 90% fructose and has a lower glycemic (GI) index than other sweeteners.

Agave Nectar Vitamin Detail
USDA offers the following diet information for 1 teaspoon (6.9g agave syrup).

Energy: 21
Fats: 0g
Sodium: 0.3g
Carbohydrates: 5.3g
Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 4.7g
Protein: 0g
Carbs
One teaspoon of agave has approximately 5 grams of carbohydrate and 20 calories. This is comparable to table sugar, corn syrup or any other form of sugar.

Agave nectar contains primarily fructose. Although fructose is lower in glycemic load than glucose, consuming large quantities can be harmful, since it may increase triglycerides. Triglycerides, a type of blood fat, are present in a large amount. High triglyceride levels can cause hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis), and high levels are associated with weight issues, diabetes, or heart disease.

Contrary to glucose, fructose can only be metabolized in the liver through a process known as fructolysis. During fructolysis the liver converts fructose into:

Glucose for energy (about half fructose is converted into glucose).
Lactic acid for additional power (approximately 25%).
Glycogen is the glucose that can be saved (15 to 20%)
Triglycerides are a type of fat that is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and coronary illness (5-10%)
It is a good idea to use
The agave nectar contains only a small amount of fat, but a part of its fructose is converted into triglycerides. It is not recommended to consume large quantities of any caloric sugar, such as agave nectar, especially if you have a pre-existing heart condition, metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance.

Sugars added to foods are also a source of extra energy. They can cause weight gain, which is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.

Protein
The amount of protein in agave nectar is negligible (less than 0.01 grams).

Vitamins and minerals for nutrition
As a plant product, agave nectar does contain small amounts of nutritional vitamins (like vitamin C and other B vitamins) and minerals. (Including potassium, calcium and selenium). The serving size is so small, that these micronutrients are not worth much.

Well being Advantages
The sap or juice from an agave contains phytonutrients which have an antioxidant effect. The agave nectar you buy has been processed (using heat or a fungal agent), which may have removed some of the health advantages of the plant.

The sweetness of agave syrup is approximately 1.5 times sweeter than table sugar. This means you can use less sugar to sweeten your drinks and meals.

Allergy symptoms
The medical literature does not mention any allergic reactions caused by agave nectar. This is probably because the plant proteins were removed during processing.

Anti-Aggression Results
This can cause acid to form on your teeth. This causes the pH of plaque to fall below 5.5 and demineralize the enamel.

The enamel can be repaired at least partially by calcium and phosphate released from saliva when the pH is raised above 5.5. This usually occurs within 20 minutes to a half hour after consuming fructose.

The risk of non-alcoholic liver disease is increased by consuming large quantities of fructose.

Variety
If you want a neutral taste, choose a light-weight agave syrup with a slightly golden color. Darker versions have a more caramel-like taste and can be used as an alternative to maple syrup on pancakes and waffles.

If you’re trying to eat healthy and avoid synthetic sweeteners like sugar, agave can be an excellent choice. However, it must not have been refined or contain any components. Examine labels carefully as commercially processed nectars may contain preservatives or synthetic colors. Always look for manufacturers who label their products “100% Natural” and are licensed by a company that is approved by the U.S. Division of Agriculture.

Storage and Meals Security
The shelf life is about two years. Agave nectar does not crystallize and remains stable at different temperatures.

How to Put Together
You can use less agave syrup in your recipes when you replace it with other types of sugar. It also dissolves easily, which makes it great for drinks. Use it like you would maple syrup, honey molasses or corn syrup – as a topping or in baked goods, sauces or marinades. You may have to experiment with the amount to find what works best.

Recipes
Strive for Wholesome Agave Nectar recipes
Cheesecake with Agave Sweetening
Peanut Butter Protein Balls
Applesauce Muffins Gluten-Free
Vegetarian Lo Mein
Recent Berry Pie


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