Agave syrup: properties, calories, uses, recipes and contraindications

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Agave syrup, one of the most popular alternatives to sugar thanks to its neutral flavor and high sweetening power. But what are its properties and how to use it to prepare recipes? Does it have any contraindications for health? Is it really healthy?

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Agave syrup, one of the most popular alternatives to sugar thanks to its neutral flavor and high sweetening power. But what are its properties and how to use it to prepare recipes? Does it have any contraindications for health? Is it really healthy?

Agave syrup (also commonly called agave juice) is obtained from Agave Tequiliana Weber, a succulent plant typical of Mexico, and precisely from the sap present in the central part which is then filtered and heated in order to obtain a thick liquid with a homogeneous consistency similar to that of honey.

Known and appreciated since the time of the Aztecs, agave syrup, as well as sweetening, has other properties.


Properties of agave syrup

Regarding agave syrup, pure and extracted at low temperatures, we can underline the following characteristics:

  • Remineralizing: this sweetener contains many useful minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium and can therefore contribute to the correct supply of these useful substances to the body.
  • Lower glycemic index than sugar: agave syrup has a lower glycemic index than sucrose, in some cases it can therefore be useful for those who have to keep blood sugars at bay. It must be said, however, that there are better sweeteners in this sense, for example stevia.
  • Help the intestines: the fibers contained in this natural product help the good functioning of the intestine. It also contributes to keeping the bacterial flora in good health.
  • Strengthens Bones: thanks to the presence of calcium, this sweetener consumed regularly and without exaggerating contributes, as part of a complete and healthy diet, to strengthen bones.
  • Supports the immune system: thanks to the many vitamins and mineral salts it contains, it can help our body's immune defenses to work at their best.

Unfortunately, the agave syrup found in common supermarkets is often a very refined product that contains high doses of fructose and therefore certainly cannot boast the aforementioned characteristics. Always check the label to evaluate the product and its nutritional characteristics.

Calories and glycemic index

100 grams of agave syrup provide 310 calories, so apparently it may seem like a caloric sweetener in reality it is always used very little and for example a spoon (an already very high dose to sweeten a drink) provides our body with 16 calories .

It is often recommended to those on a diet because of its high sweetening power compared to its low calorie intake.

As for the glycemic index, as we have already said, the value of agave syrup is similar to that of fructose (27-32), therefore decidedly lower than the GI of the common sucrose.

You use agave syrup

Agave syrup is a perfect sweetener as an alternative to sugar not only in cakes, cookies and sweets but also in coffee and other drinks. This is because it has a fairly neutral flavor that avoids leaving strange aftertaste as it happens when using other natural sweeteners.

Thanks to the high sweetening power (greater than that of common sugar) it must be used very sparingly. So remember if you use it in recipes that 100 grams of sugar correspond to about 75 grams of agave syrup.

Another very important feature to consider is that it is not necessary to heat it as it is easily soluble. Its potential in terms of sweetness is therefore expressed well also in drinks and cold foods.

There are several varieties designed for different uses:

  • Clear: it has a delicate flavor and is therefore suitable for all uses, even for sweetening drinks
  • Raw: produced at low temperatures with a delicate taste
  • Amber: it has a caramel color and a slightly stronger flavor
  • Dark: is the darkest and strongest variant

In particular, the last two products can be used directly on top of pancakes, waffles and pancakes as a condiment instead of maple syrup, for example.

Recipes with agave syrup

As we have said, agave syrup can be used as an alternative to sugar to prepare various types of desserts. Here is a series of recipes in which we sweetened with just this juice:

  • Pangoccioli: the (vegan) recipe with sourdough
  • DIY chocolate energy bars: the recipe (vegan) with oats and goji berries
  • Yogurt and lemon donut
  • Homemade dry biscuits, "Digestive" type
  • Mini apple plumcake (vegan recipe)
  • Summer desserts: creamy blueberry glasses (single portion cheesecake)
  • cheesecake crudista
  • Raw lemon and strawberry pie
  • Coconut and chocolate treats
  • Bagel: the recipe with sourdough to prepare them at home

Is agave syrup really healthy?

Not everyone agrees that agave syrup is a good sweetener solution, at least not the one that arrives in our supermarkets.

What is being questioned by some experts is the industrial method with which agave syrup is currently produced.

The processes by which the juice is obtained drastically change the sugars naturally present in the plant, transforming and concentrating them. Which certainly cannot be considered natural or beneficial to health.

In the end, in fact, we find ourselves holding a product with an excessive amount of concentrated fructose. Furthermore, since high temperatures are used, most of the mineral salts and vitamins present in the plant are lost.


Agave syrup has some contraindications linked above all to the presence of fructose which, as already mentioned, is very high in the industrial variants. Unless you have a quality syrup available, organic and extracted at low temperatures, it should be consumed in great moderation.

The same advice applies to agave syrup as to other sweeteners: do not abuse it! Among other things, fructose does not reduce satiety and does not make you lose weight as previously thought.

You may also be interested in other natural sweeteners alternatives to refined sugar:

  • Natural sweeteners: 10 valid alternatives to white sugar

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