Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Healthy nutrition is a topic that plays an increasingly important role nowadays. It cannot be overlooked that sugar consumption in particular is a crucial point in the area of conscious nutrition. More and more often, alternative varieties of sugar, such as agave syrup, are being used to replace industrial sugar.

Agave syrup, as the name suggests, is a thick juice obtained from the agave plant and can be used as an alternative sweetener. Whether the vegetable agave syrup is a good alternative to sugar and how it is best used is explained and described below.




Summary

  • Agave syrup is a vegetable and therefore also vegan sweetener, which is extracted from the agave plant that grows in Mexico. It is used as an alternative sweetener to industrial sugar.
  • Agave syrup is versatile and can be used for baking, cooking and drinks.
  • Agave syrup can now be purchased in supermarkets and also ordered online.

The best Agave Syrup: Our Picks

This section describes different types of agave syrup to make your purchase decision a little easier.

Buying and evaluation criteria for agave syrup

To help you decide which agave syrup to buy, we have summarised the most important criteria in the following section. We have found the following topics to be particularly relevant:

What is important in these criteria and what to look out for will now be explained in more detail in the following sections.

Organic quality

Almost all agave syrups on the market have an organic label. When buying, you can hardly avoid the topic of "organic". Organic allows us to take even better care of our bodies. By using non-chemical synthetic pesticides, the food is healthier and more compatible for the body and also for the environment.

An organic product is therefore always a good thing to buy, but it usually comes at a slightly higher price. You should therefore think in advance about how much money you want to spend and how much value you place on "organic".

Health

Agave syrup is a healthier alternative to industrial sugar. However, due to its high fructose content, it has no miracle effect and has only a minimally lower sugar content than the usual industrial sugar. Nevertheless, it is considered a fructose sugar and thus belongs to the "healthier" type of sugar.

However, agave syrup is not the only healthier alternative to industrial sugar, but competes with maple syrup and honey. You can find more information on the differences in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section. Nevertheless, the juice is a good vegan alternative for sweetening food and drinks.

Sustainability

Agave syrup is not really sustainable. Due to the constantly growing demand, more and more plants have to be cultivated in Mexico. This leads to the displacement and clearing of trees and forests. The transport of the juice is also a heavy burden on the environment due to the high CO2 emissions.

When buying the juice, you should think about how important the aspect of sustainability in consumption is to you and whether there might not be a more sustainable alternative for sugar for you.

Packaging

Agave syrup comes in different types of packaging. Everything from canisters to jars is available. For the normal consumer, it is more common to use the smaller packaging. These are easy to store and are made of plastic or glass, making them easy to clean.

For normal use, glasses and the so-called "squeeze bottle" are a good solution and the agave syrup can be easily portioned. It should be noted that glass is much more sustainable than plastic and can be reused.

Taste

The taste of agave syrup depends on the colour. The darker juices are sweeter and stronger in flavour and often have a crunchy and malty note, whereas the lighter juice is naturally sweet.

Both can be used for cooking and baking and also for drinks, sweetening and refining them. You should think about what sweetness you prefer and what you want to use the agave syrup for before you buy it.

Guide: Frequently Asked Questions about Agave Syrup Answered in Detail

Since not everyone is familiar with agave syrup in detail and questions often arise in this area, the following section once again answers the most frequently asked questions.

What is agave syrup?

Agave syrup is a juice that is extracted from the agave plant and is therefore fructose. The plant grows in Mexico. The agave juice is collected from the agave shortly before flowering and then water is removed by heating, which gives it its thick consistency.

The agave grows in Mexico. The sap is tapped just before it flowers. (Image source: Efrain Hernandez / Pixabay)

Due to the sweetness of the juice, which comes from the high fructose content, it serves as an alternative sweetener. Since it is a plant-based product, agave syrup is vegan.

Who is agave syrup suitable for?

Agave syrup is a good alternative to sugar, especially for diabetics, because the juice does not change the blood sugar level in the body and therefore no insulin is added. Even during pregnancy, the consumption of agave syrup is not a problem and is a much healthier alternative than industrial sugar.

However, if you are fructose intolerant, you should avoid agave syrup, as it has a high fructose content.

What can agave syrup be used for?

Agave syrup is very versatile. It not only sweetens drinks like coffee and tea, but also dishes. It is ideal for desserts such as ice cream, but can also be used to refine savoury dishes. It can also be used in baking, where it can completely replace industrial sugar.

Agave syrup also has medicinal effects. Here it is not only antiseptic and thus reduces superficial germs on open wounds, but can also have a diaphoretic and relaxing effect, as well as promoting the flow of urine.

Why should I use agave syrup as a sugar alternative?

Agave syrup is sweeter than regular sugar, but has fewer calories and a lower glycaemic index.

Due to the low glycaemic index, there is less of a rise in blood sugar and fewer cravings. It is therefore an advantage during a diet, but it is also a healthier alternative during normal consumption.

Nevertheless, one should be aware of the high fructose content of the juice, which can lead to physical problems if consumed in excess.

Agave syrup or honey?

Agave syrup is a vegan alternative to honey and therefore a popular sugar substitute in vegan cuisine. Agave syrup also has a lower sugar content and fewer calories than honey and is therefore also beneficial in this sense.

However, if you look at the sustainable aspect, it becomes clear that honey is the better and therefore more environmentally friendly option to replace sugar. When choosing a sugar substitute, one should therefore consider the health and environmental aspects.

Agave syrup or maple syrup?

In contrast to agave syrup, maple syrup has a stronger taste and a higher sucrose content, which increases the blood sugar level. So diabetics in particular should be careful when consuming it.

Here, too, one should consider the environmental aspect. Maple syrup originated in Canada. So this sweetener has also come a long way, which means a lot of CO2.

Conclusion

Agave syrup is a good and healthier alternative to industrial sugar. It is also a good vegan way to sweeten and refine dishes and drinks. Its various practical packages make it easy to use.

Besides the positive use in the kitchen, one should not forget the negative sustainable aspect. When buying agave syrup, you should think about your personal preferences in terms of the environment and health, and also consider other alternatives to sugar.

(Cover photo: Steve Buissinne / Pixabay)

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