Agave syrup, or nectar, is a healthy substitute for sweetening foods, instead of using regular white sugar. It won't cause a spike in you blood sugar and actually contains small amounts of nutrients. While agave is certainly an all-natural alternative sweetener, it is still a sugary substance and you’ll need to keep your portion size small.
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Glycemic Index Ranking
One of the perks of opting for agave syrup in place of other sweeteners is that it is lower on the glycemic index. The index rates individual foods based on how they affect your blood sugar. The higher the score, the more likely the food is to swiftly spike glucose levels. Foods with a GI greater than 70 are considered high, while those with a score of 55 to 70 are moderate, and low glycemic foods have a ranking of less than 55. Agave nectar has a very low glycemic rating of 11 to 19, depending on the variety. As a comparison, pure honey ranks at 58 on the index and plain white table sugar has a score of 65, making these sweeteners more likely to have an immediate impact on your blood sugar.
A 1-tablespoon serving of agave syrup has less than 65 total calories. Just a trace amount of those calories come from protein and fat, a total of about 1 calorie from a combination of both. Roughly 9 calories stem from starch carbohydrates. The majority of calories, or 56 calories, come from the 14 grams of sugar you get in each tablespoon.
Aside from giving you energy, added sugar doesn’t provide much nourishment. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your daily intake to 150 calories from sugar for men and 100 calories from sugar for women. This amounts to approximately 38 grams and 25 grams of added sugar, respectively. One tablespoon of agave takes up more than one-third of your daily sugar allotment, as a man, or over half of your allowance, as a woman.
You get small amounts of minerals and vitamins from agave, nutrients you won’t get from processed white sugar. Agave syrup provides some potassium and sodium, two minerals that you need to keep your heart beating. It also provides some iron to support oxygen transportation and selenium, an antioxidant that helps fight damaging free radicals. Vitamins C and E are other types of antioxidants you get from agave syrup. It also adds some vitamin A and K to your diet.