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