Dairy Free/ Egg Free/ Gluten Free/ Low GI/ No added sugar/ Product review/ Soya Free

Agave Nectar

Being on a ZERO sugar diet, I have become very wary of any sugar substitute claiming to be healthy. As they can contain some serious nasties and tasting something that reminds you of sugar doesn’t help curve those sugar cravings. So Agave Nectar what is the low down… is it good for me as someone who is on an anti candida diet and should I be consuming it.

Agave nectar is described as being …

“real alternative to sugar. And a natural substitute for those naughty synthetic sweeteners.”

agave-nectar-mild agave-nectar-rich
“It’s even 25% sweeter than sugar, and you can add it to cereal, sauces, cakes, tea, coffee, soft drinks and more without tainting the taste. Even better, it’s got a low GI (Glycaemic Index) content, which means it won’t yo-yo your energy levels like sugar can.” by the folks at Groovy Food Company.

The Agave Plant

The Agave plant, originating in Mexico, has long been cultivated on the well-drained rocky slopes of this region.

The agave plant

The agave plant

Typically the liquid is fermented  from the agave plant, which is now widely known as Tequila, and until recently has been the main use of the plant.

What is Agave Nectar?

Within the agave plant is a pineapple-like core (called pina), the pina contains the nectar. The nectar has to then be refined to break down the complex carbohydrates into simple sugars (primarily fructose).

To produce the agave nectar product, the agave juice is pressed from the core and then filtered to increase clarity. The nectar is then heated, causing thermic hydrolysis, resulting in the transition from complex carbohydrate to simple sugar. The main carbohydrate is a complex form of fructose called inulin or fructosan.

This process gives a sweet syrup, like a very runny treacle and dissolves easily in liquid.

  • When substituting agave as a sweetener in recipes, reduce your liquid by about 1/4th and reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees
  • Pure agave has a shelf life of about 3 years
  • Agave is about 25% sweeter than table sugar (sucrose) due to its fructose content, consequently, less agave is needed for the same effect.

Agave Nectar GI Index

Agave nectar generally typically carries a GI index between 25 and 50, assuming its not been messed with.

NB. Honey has a GI of about 83, and glucose has a GI of 137. Anything below 55 is defined as low glycemic, and considered diabetic friendly.

Agave Nectra and Candida

“The form of fructose in agave nectar is a complex structure called inulin. Inulins are a group of short chain fructose molecules called oligosaccharides which occur naturally in few sugar sources. Inulin helps in the absorption of Calcium and Magnesium. The sugar in agave nectar, while still being very sweet, does not feed Candida yeast and other unfriendly anaerobic bacteria in the small intestines and Colon. Anaerobic bacteria recognize the inulin in agave nectar as a sugar source yet when they try and feed on it as other sugar sources you have been putting in your body the unfriendly bacteria cannot extract sufficient energy from the Agave nectar to progress life cycle. “ Sourced from Health N Vitality Website

So it seems Agave Nectarreally is a winning sugar alternative. It’s versatile, tastes great, so sweet you only use a tiny amount and it won’t spike blood glucose quite as badly as white sugar, brown sugar, or honey. Overall as with anything I think Agave Nectar should be used in moderation but is a great addition to a Fussy Foodie store cupboard.

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Pig in the Kitchen
    January 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Ooo! Just stumbled across your blog whilst searching on agave nectar…off to browse through properly now! Thanks for this info on Agave.
    Pigx

  • Reply
    tiredbunny
    November 8, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I love this stuff – Im on a sugar free diet too but just a little of this seems to suit me okay… I have only tried one bottle – do you know where I could buy the dark coloured bottle in the picture above?:

    Thanks

  • Reply
    beth
    January 30, 2012 at 12:06 am

    HI there… loving your blog. just moved to london from australia and for medical reasons i am on a low GI diet. unfortunatly im not familiar with UK brands to know which ones to go for with my diet so your blog has been a god send.
    can i purchase agave nectar from tesco’s etc do you think? and would you happen to know what section it would be in?
    thanks so much!

  • Reply
    admin
    January 30, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Hello Beth, glad you found us and really happy it helped.

    In theory all the Supermarkets sell it, but you can only normally find it in the bigger ones as its such a specialty product. I normally get mine in Asda (http://bit.ly/AmbbUt)

    An amazing ship in London is Planet Organic, literally a reason to move to London it’s so fantastic. I live in Warwickshire but whenever I visit I take a trip.

  • Reply
    beth
    January 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

    thanks so much! much appreciated!

    • Reply
      jean mazza
      August 13, 2016 at 11:52 pm

      I personally can not eat agave necter, it feeds my candida, makes me bloated and I start sneazing which is always a sign for me that i am feeding the candida

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    February 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I have candida and I have a cereal which has no sugar but it has agave syrup in! I don’t know whether I should have it….. Will it feed my candida??
    Thank you

  • Reply
    admin
    February 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Hello Kimberley

    I know how you feel, as when I had candida I was very strict on my diet as I was determined to get rid of it. So was always wary of adding anything that would potentially feed the candida.

    I actually think that initially you are best to avoid Agave, as it feeds your sweet tooth more than anything, which can then make it harder to stick to being sugar free.

    I had no sugar inc fruit or Agave for just over a year, it took me two weeks at the start of this to get rid of any sweet tooth, and I could literally smell sugar in biscuits if people had them, but I didn’t miss it.

    Out of interest what are you excluding already? And how long have you had Candida?

    Miranda

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    February 12, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Thankyou very much Miranda I have found an alternative completely sugar free I have had candida for 3 years and have been tested for all sorts as soon as I found out I have been on a sugar free diet and I am now taking anti fungal tablets to get rid of it thankyou very much for your help
    Kimberly xx

    • Reply
      Susan
      October 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Kimberley

      May I ask what sugar alternative did you find? was it Xylitol by any chance. this what im using on my candida diet.

      Thanks Sue

  • Reply
    Brett
    March 8, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Be careful with Agave! Many brands that claim to sell ‘pure’ Agave nectar have actually refined the syrup with fructose added as a cheap filler. This is partly because there is a very high demand for Agave and not enough supply, but mostly because it means profits. Check the chemical make-up of the brand you want to use. Also, be aware that high fructose foods are not without other drawbacks, even with the low GI, so use in moderation. Finally, it’s the taste of sweet that releases endorphins in the brain, not just the chemicals – so the taste of agave will leave you with the same sugar cravings that the taste of sugar (or any alternative sweetner). As a sugar addict, if you’re a diabetic or trying to give it up, you really need to go for a lifestyle change -i.e. no sugar or sweetners. (It gets much easier after the first week, so hang in there.)

    • Reply
      jean mazza
      August 13, 2016 at 11:54 pm

      thank you so much for your post, you are very informed and also caring. I have suffered with candida for a long time and I can not loose any weight, I have quit so many things now I am quitting all fruit except for lemons, limes, and cranburies.

  • Reply
    Steve
    August 1, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    The only high quality Agave Syrup in the UK is AquaRiva which is imported by actess Cleo Rocos and sells on line and in Waitrose. She double tests it to guarantee it for purity. Even Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver are using it in their restaurants.

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