Is agave syrup really healthier than white sugar?

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Many believe agave syrup is a less harmful and healthier alternative to sugar, but is this really the case?

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Lo XNUMX/XNUMX cup sugar it is very palatable but almost all of us are aware of the fact that consuming too much can lead to serious problems for our health, which is why many are looking for natural and healthier alternatives, such as stevia, maple juice, or honey.





Lo agave syrup is another of the alternatives that many choose, we often find it in smoothies or pancakes, but is it really a healthier sweetener than sugar? Or can it also involve health risks? (Read also: Agave syrup: is it really a natural and healthy sweetener?)

What is agave syrup and what are its possible benefits?

Agave syrup, also known as agave nectar, is extracted from a succulent plant typical of Mexico, the agave tequilana or blue agave, from which the tequila. To create the syrup, the sap from the agave plant is extracted and heated until its consistency becomes more fluid and the sugars more concentrated.

The main benefit of agave syrup is its own very low glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index ranks carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100, based on how fast and how much blood sugar levels rise after eating a particular food. Foods with a high glycemic index, such as white bread, are digested quickly and cause noticeable fluctuations in blood sugar. Those with a low glycemic index are digested more slowly, causing a much more gradual rise in blood sugar. Regular sugar has a GI of 65, while that of agave syrup is 30, this means that the syrup affects our blood glucose levels much less.

Controlling the glycemic index may be of particular interest to people with diabetes, but it can be a useful indicator for everyone. In fact, the glucose we take from food is transformed into energy by insulin, however, in foods rich in glucose, excess glucose is stored in the fat cells. Over time this process can lead to a increase in our body fat and wear down our body's ability to convert glucose into energy.



What are the disadvantages of agave syrup?

Agave syrup has a low glycemic index, however, has very high fructose levels. Fructose is a sugar that is typically found in plants and, unlike glucose, it is not easily metabolized by our body. In fact, it must first pass into the liver where it is converted into glucose and then transformed into energy.

An excess of fructose can result severe liver damage and can even lead to a accumulation of body fat. The agave syrup is then a concentrated fructose, other than that contained in fruit, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, increased cholesterol and liver fatigue in the long run.

Furthermore, the industrial method with which agave juice is produced today requires different chemical processes to ensure that the extract from the plant can be used as a sweetener and preserved for a long time. Processes that radically change the sugars naturally present in the plant, transforming them and making them "concentrated", therefore anything but beneficial or healthy.

Furthermore, very high temperatures are used to make the syrup, which inexorably destroy the mineral salts and vitamins present in the plant, thus obtaining a product devoid of nutrients.

La solution it is therefore to behave with agave syrup as you would with normal white sugar, limiting its consumption as much as possible. Remember that a low glycemic index does not mean that the food is necessarily healthier. (Read also: Do ​​you have a sugar addiction? 10 signs to recognize it and how to fight it)

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