Agave Nectar is claimed to be a natural alternative to sugar. The traditional Agave nectar was used to sweeten the foods and was a healthy one, but the product that is being sold in grocery stores is not a natural product.
Agave nectar is also called as agave syrup, and this sweet nectar is extracted of sap from the agave plant. Then this was boiled down to form a thick syrup; the process is similar to the making of maple syrup. But the trendy sugar substitute is not made by this and today; it is prepared and refined by treating the sugars with warmth and enzymes, which can devastate the helpful impacts of the plant. The finished result is a prepared syrup, rather than a lightly processed sweetener.
Agave syrup is comprised of two starch particles: glucose and fructose. Sucrose is also formed by these same molecules in a different ratio. Sucrose is commonly known as table sugar. The composition in table sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose molecules. However, in agave, the composition depends on the brand and mostly it is closer to 70% fructose and 30% glucose.
The major molecule which is present in 70% in agave is Fructose. It is commonly known to as “fruit sugar,” because it is also found in fruits and other parts of plants acting as foods. Thinking of fructose as a fruit sugar makes fructose seem harmless. But the thing which we forget is, that when we consume them in the form of fruits, they are delivered to us with many other nutrients like fibers. But when we use a processed concentrated sweetener, these fibers are not present there. Fibers affect the rate of digestion and hence therefore also affects the rate of absorption of sugar. The whole fruits that are high in fiber use the benefit of fibers, which is slowing the digestion and hence avoiding the sharp blood sugar spikes and falls. By extracting the sugars from natural sources, we usually extract and then consume the least beneficial nutrient.
The difference between glucose and fructose is that glucose is present in blood and can be measured directly in the form of blood sugar. Glucose is essential and is the main energy source for cells in the human body. Our bodies can make it if it is needed. Fructose, however, cannot be used directly and is to be broken down to glucose for absorption. It travels towards the liver, where it needs to be digested. It is converted to glucose, and if we consume fructose in excess amount, it is stored as fat. Some studies have shown the fructose to have a link with fatty liver, insulin resistance, and high blood cholesterol making fructose as controversial.
The occasional use of Agave Nectar would not cause these effects, but a continuous use can lead to the negative effects. The side effects are needed to be studied more extensively. In fact, the agave nectar is not more beneficial than the regular sugar, and its frequent use can lead to the negative side effects of the product.