What is HG Agave?
What is HG Agave?
The agave plant is native to the Southern United States and Latin America.
Although agave is a new phenomenon in the West, it has been used in Mexico for hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of years.
Traditionally, agave was believed to have medicinal properties. Its sap was also boiled to produce a sweetener known as miel de agave.
In fact, tequila is the most common commercial use of agave today and one of Mexico’s best-known exports.
Like many plants, agave likely has some health benefits.
However, refining and processing tend to destroy some — or all — of these beneficial health effects. The refined agave sweetener that people consume today is no exception.
The sweetener commonly sold as agave nectar would be more accurately labeled as agave syrup.
It has little in common with the traditional sweetener made historically by people in Mexico.
That said, the beginning of its production process is the same. The plant is first cut and pressed to extract the sugary sap.
While this sap is high in sugar, it also contains healthy fiber like fructans, which are linked to beneficial effects on metabolism and insulin.
However, when processed into a syrup, the fructans are extracted and broken down into fructose by exposing the sap to heat and/or enzymes.
This process — which is similar to how other unhealthy sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup are made — destroys all of the health-promoting properties of the agave plant.
The bottom line
If you must add extra sweetness to your diet, agave nectar is likely not the way to go.
Several other options include Xylitol, stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol – they are low or no-calorie sweeteners.
In fact, agave nectar may be the least healthy sweetener in the world, making regular sugar look healthy in comparison.
- table-top sweeteners
- sauces and syrups
- frozen dessert
- dairy and yogurt
- fillings and frostings
- puddings and gelatins