Years ago, when you wanted to sweeten something you probably turned to good old sugar. Today there are so many different sweeteners (including agave sugar) out there it’s hard to tell which one is the best option.
One Way Different Sweeteners are Ranked
In recent years the science of the Glycemic Index has been the basis for different diet crazes although those who have diabetes have known this science for years because of their need to monitor blood glucose levels closely.
The Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on your blood glucose levels. You see your body performs best when your blood sugar are at a constant flow. If your blood sugar drops too low, you become tired and lethargic and usually hungry. If your blood sugar goes too high then your brain signals your pancreas to secrete more insulin which brings your blood sugar back down, usually by converting the excess of sugar to stored fat. That is why this has become such a big thing in the dieting world.
|Sweetener||Glycemic Index #|
|White Sugar (Sucrose)||60|
|High Fructose Corn Syrup||60|
|Lactose (Milk Sugar)||45|
|Stevia, Nutrisweet, etc.||less than 1|
When you eat foods that cause a quick glycemic response (simple carbs like white bread, doughnuts, most pastas, white rice, etc.) you may feel great at first because your energy and mood increase as your blood sugar rises, but it’s short lived because it is usually followed by an increase in fat storage, lethargy, and then to top it all off you even get hungry again.
Sweeteners fall into different categories on the Glycemic Index-High and Low respectively. Usually anything below 50 on the Glycemic Index is considered to be in the low category and everything above 50 and above is in the High category. Diabetics and dieters alike watch what they eat because they know that food in the High category will spike their insulin levels, whereas sweeteners in the low category will not.
Agave Sugar is low glycemic and one of those sweeteners which will not spike insulin levels.
You may have heard Oprah, Dr. Oz or other celebrities and experts talk about Agave sugar and the benefits of it. Agave sugar has been around for a while although it has come to the forefront lately because of its recent celebrity endorsements.
How We Get Agave Sugar
When Blue Agave matures the leaves are cut off, revealing the core of the plant or “pina” of the plant.
To make the blue agave sugar, the pina is ground-up and the sap is extracted, filtered, and heated at low temperatures. Blue Agave sugar usually has a honey or molasses like flavor because of this cooking process.
White Agave on the other hand grows a large flower from the center of the plant called the Quiote. This Quiote is cut off right before the plant fully matures creating a pool of liquid in the center of the plant called the “Aguamiel” or the juice (not sap) the plant feeds the Quiote. The plant is then milked twice daily as the Aguamiel collects, thus giving us the White Agave Sugar.
Agave Sugar vs. Regular Sugar – Less Calories
Agave sugar is sweeter than regular sugar which means that you can use less of it and get the same effect. Usually if you were going to use 1 cup of sugar, you would only have to use ½ to 2/3 cup of agave sugar. Therefore saving you around 250+ calories.
Blue Agave Sugar vs. White Agave Sugar
Most varieties of agave sugar are made from the Blue Agave, which makes it hard to substitute in most recipes that call for regular white sugar because of the darker sugar taste that most agave sugar has.
That is why agave sugar made with the white agave sugar is the best alternative taste wise.
White agave sugar also has additional health benefits that blue agave sugar lacks also. When the blue agave sugar is cooked it loses the natural fiber-Inulin. This pre-biotic fiber-Inulin acts a lot like the digestive enzymes in yogurt that actually aid in the digestion process. What the white agave sugar has that blue agave sugar doesn’t (after it is cooked anyway) is the Inulin that is lost in the cooking process. The Inulin is added to the white agave sugar, thus giving it another advantage over the blue agave sugar.
You can find agave sugar most places nowadays. What used to be just a specialty item is quickly becoming a main stream staple. Local grocery stores, depending on where you live, will generally carry at least one brand of Blue Agave Sugar, but unless you live in Utah or the neighboring area you may not be able to readily find the White Agave Sugar. The company Xagave produces the White Agave Sugar with the added Inulin. If you would like to try it go to their website and use the promo code “BUCHER” to get a 20% discount.
Want to learn more about Agave Sugar and other such things?