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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Agave Nectar (Agave Syrup)

Any nutritionally-aware person realizes that sugar tastes great but simply is not good for you.

How about a natural sugar alternative that tastes great and is good for you?

That’s agave nectar (also called agave syrup), made from the juices of the same plant that produces tequila: the blue agave. In the bottle, it looks like honey or maple syrup.

Light agave nectar is a neutral sweetener, though some brands can taste like very light honey. Agave dissolves instantly in cold or hot beverages, and is used to sweeten lighter-flavor foods (like fruit salad).

Dark agave nectar has caramel flavors, and is used in recipes and as a substitute for maple syrup or honey on pancakes, bread and other foods.

The best part is that agave is a low-glycemic food. It has half the glycemic index of honey, maple syrup and table sugar; and it’s 25% to 50% sweeter, so you need much less of it.

Agave is a real find. Make it your “find of the year.”

  • Read the full review of agave nectar.
  • See all the different types of sweeteners in our Sugar & Syrup Glossary.
  • Check out the low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners in our Artificial Sweeteners Glossary.

    The Glycemic Index, or GI, is a system that ranks foods on a scale from 1 to 100, based on their effect on blood-sugar levels.

    The smaller the number, the less impact the food has on your blood sugar. Bad carbs have a higher GI, good carbs, lower.

    Here’s a detailed description of the glycemic index.
    The Glycemic Index Of Popular Sweeteners*

  • Agave: The GI is 32 GI and 60 calories per tablespoon. But it’s twice as sweet as sugar, so use half the amount so you don’t over-sweeten.
  • Brown Rice Syrup:† The GI (glycemic index) is 20 and 55 calories.
  • Maple Syrup: The GI is 54, and 52 calories per tablespoon.
  • Honey: The GI is 58 GI and 64 calories per tablespoon.
  • Sugar: White, brown, refined or natural, the GI is 60-65, and 48 calories per tablespoon.

    Herradura Agave

    The blue agave plant produces a sweetener that looks like honey, but is lighter, easily pourable, not as sticky and has half the glycemic index, It’s better for you! Photo by Cristian Lazzari | IST. Bottom photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

    *Calorie data source:

    †Brown rice syrup is not recommended for diabetics. Consult your healthcare provider.

    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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