Agave nectar, also known as Agave syrup or honey water is a sweetener that is commercially produced from the species Salmiana Agave and Blue Agave Americana in countries like Mexico and South Africa. Popularly known as plants used for making tequila, Agave has been traditionally been used for thousands of years for extracting nectar as an ingredient in food. Today with growing awareness of the beneficial properties of Agave nectar, it has replaced honey and many more artificial sweeteners in the market and is becoming a preferred sweetener for medical professionals and other health conscious people.
The main composition of Agave nectar is fructose (56%-92%) and glucose (20%-8 %/) depending upon the processing. When we talk about its taste, Agave nectar is similar to honey but people find it more palatable than honey. It holds an upper hand over artificial sweeteners as well without leaving any bitter aftertaste associated with the same. Not only this, Agave nectar boasts of having a low glycemic index and glycemic load on account of its higher fructose content when compared with table sugar. Foods with high glycemic index quickly tend to raise the blood sugar level of the body and trigger insulin release in blood, which in the long run may result into chronic metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Agave nectar has preferably low glycemic index carbohydrates which have a slower impact on raising blood glucose level. Thus it is considered as Modern Health food by many nutritionists in the world. The texture and color of Agave nectar is similar to that of honey, but it is less viscous and flows easily. It is available in a dozen of different brands depending on preparation method and plant variety and characterized into dark, amber, light and raw varieties. Some Agave nectar varieties being processed at low temperatures of 118F to safeguard the natural enzymes are used as sweeteners for cold beverages like smoothies, iced tea and cocktails as they dissolve easily.
There are over 100s of different recipes where Agave nectar is used as primary sweeteners that melt inside your mouth to leave a sweet, lingering taste. For all those who are concerned about their health, Agave nectar, low glycemic index recipes are a milestone. These amazingly delicious recipes have worked wonders in the field of medical science and proved beneficial for all. Agave nectar has been used in preparing recipes that have helped dieters shed off their extra pounds, reduce cholesterol levels, cut down fat absorption in the intestines and gain perfect weight. When compared to other artificial sweeteners, Agave nectar scores higher, and should be used in moderation as large amounts of fructose in the body may lead to fructose malabsorption and hyperinsulinemia. Since it is loaded with many vital nutrients and beneficial components and has a tempting taste, it tends to be over consumed, which should be checked. Agave nectar gives tough competition to refined sugars and artificial sweeteners performing at par in kitchen as well as bakery and serving as sweetening agent, softeners, humectants, preservatives and browning agent. Recipes utilizing Agave syrups as substitute to regular table sugar without compromising on its quality, taste and palatability, make wholesome snacks filled with crunchy goodness of carbohydrates and nutrients for health conscious people.