Agave Nectar vs Honey: What You Should Know
Agave Nectar vs Honey: What You Should Know
Are you wondering whether agave nectar vs honey might be healthier for you? Keep reading and learn about the benefits here.
Keyword(s): agave nectar vs honey
A recent study found that tons of Americans are giving up sugar and replacing it with artificial sweeteners like sucralose. What if we told you that there were natural alternatives to sugar that may be better suited to your diet?
Chances are, you’ve already got one of these sweeteners in your pantry: we’re talking about agave nectar and honey. Honey, of course, has been a staple throughout human history, but agave nectar is a more recent addition to most diets.
Whether or not you use these sweeteners already, you may be wondering about the differences between agave nectar vs honey.
We’re here to clear the air. Read on to learn more about agave nectar vs honey and how to incorporate these natural sweeteners into your diet.
What Is Agave Nectar?
Agave nectar is derived from the Mexico-native blue agave plant. If you’re a fan of the alcoholic beverage, tequila, you may have heard of blue agave before, as tequila is also derived from this versatile plant. Don’t worry, however; there is no alcohol content in agave nectar!
Blue agave plants are harvested and the thick sap that builds up in its core is extracted. Then, agave nectar producers run the sap through pressure-cooker style equipment to create the agave nectar sold in stores.
What Does Agave Nectar Taste Like?
The taste of agave nectar can vary based on the type you’re using. Light agave nectar, for example, has a neutral and versatile flavor; in other words, it adds sweetness without impacting the overall flavor of what you’re consuming. Dark agave nectar, on the other hand, has an earthier taste, almost like a toasted caramel and is healthier for you.
What Are the Health Benefits of Agave Nectar?
There are two pretty impressive benefits of agave nectar. The first and most-heralded is its low glycemic index (aka GI).
GI is the measure of how much a food will raise your blood glucose levels after consumption. When foods have a high GI, you may experience a spike in blood sugar and a release of insulin. High GI foods also digest quickly, meaning that you won’t feel full for long. One brand (Volcanic Nectar) has even been clinacally proven to be Diabetic Friendly.
Another one of the agave nectar benefits is that it’s considered to be about 1.5 times sweeter than other sweeteners, including sugar. That means that you don’t have to use as much agave nectar in order to sweeten a dish or beverage.
What Are Some Great Ways to Use Agave Nectar?
Agave nectar is great in almost any recipe that uses sugar, including baked goods, salad dressings, and sauces. Agave nectar also does something pretty neat: it dissolves well when it’s cold. That means that you can mix it into iced teas, smoothies, and other cold drinks and it will dissolve with ease.
What Is Honey?
Honey, as you likely already know, is produced by bees. What we consume starts out as the nectar of flowers, which is then harvested by bees and taken back to the nest or hive. Once there, bees turn the nectar into a simple form of sugar (honey) and store it in honeycombs so that it remains fresh and protected from pollutants.
This is where humankind gets involved. Beekeepers can extract honeycombs from their hives and run the honey through a strainer. This removes any remaining pollen and helps to make the honey smoother and ready to use.
What Does Honey Taste Like?
Honey often tastes similar to dark agave nectar in that it also has an earthy and caramel-like flavor. However, the taste of honey can vary enormously from region to region and even batch to batch. Everything from its age to the types of flowers used to create it and the climate in which it was created can lend to a unique flavor profile.
What Are the Health Benefits of Honey?
Unfortunately, honey has a GI that is comparable to sugar. That means your blood sugar will spike when you use honey. That being said, honey does have some impressive health benefits when used the right way.
Honey is a great go-to when you’re feeling sick. Many people find that honey soothes a sore throat or reduces a persistent cough. Honey is antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial, which means that it can potentially help to ward off or speed up illnesses such as the common cold.
It’s worth mentioning that honey can’t do everything people claim that it can. For example, you’ll often hear that consuming local honey will reduce your seasonal allergies. While honey may reduce some of your allergy symptoms, there is no scientific evidence that local honey will make you less allergic to your environment.
What Are Some Great Ways to Use Honey?
Like agave nectar, you can use honey as a sweetener or additional flavor profile in baked goods. It’s worth mentioning that honey has a high viscosity, and doesn’t tend to mix evenly into other ingredients when cold. While it makes a great addition to a hot cup of tea, you’ll need to break out a whisk or a blender to incorporate it into cold recipes like salad dressings or smoothies.
Agave Nectar vs Honey: Two Great Natural Sweeteners to Keep in Your Pantry
When we’re looking for ways to add healthy variety to our diets, it’s likely that at some point, we’ll want to find better alternatives to sugar. Skip the artificial sweeteners and pack your pantry with natural sweeteners like agave nectar and honey. We hope that our guide to agave nectar vs honey will help you decide when and how often to use each of these sugar alternatives.
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