Long used to make products with less than desirable health effects (like tequila), agave syrup (also known as agave nectar) is actually very sweet, much sweeter than sugar. As a result, due to the lower amounts required to sweeten a food, among other factors, some companies have begun to market agave nectar/syrup as a natural sugar substitute for diabetics. But is it really better for diabetics than sugar?
Well, the answer lies in a bit of science. Just a little, I promise! See, regular table sugar is half fructose sugars and half glucose sugars. Fructose sugars have a much slower rate of absorption in the body, which means that they tend to increase obesity problems more than glucose sugars when consumed in large amounts, but they also help diabetics because the sugar is can send through your system at a slower rate, preventing dangerous spikes.
Agave syrup, unlike table sugar, is typically 10% glucose and 90% fructose, resulting in a low glycemic index. The problem is that there are variants of agave syrup that are 45% glucose and 55% fructose, which means that it is only slightly better for a diabetic than regular sugar. In fact, that’s the same distribution of glucose and fructose that regular high-fructose corn syrup has. It’s not good enough.
Plus, agave nectar has the same number of calories per ounce as regular sugar. The problem is that agave syrup is significantly sweeter than regular sugar, so you can use less to get the same flavor effect, which has the obvious benefit of eating less sugar.
So is agave syrup better for diabetics than sugar? If you get the right type, it is. However, the benefits are limited as it is still sugar. Additionally, the variations within agave syrup emphasize the need for diabetics to research what exactly is in the foods they eat, as believing they are eating something healthier than they are could lead to overconsumption, which can be very dangerous for anyone. cope with diabetes.
While this article is intended to be a great starting point, you should do more research on agave syrup before deciding for yourself, as a diabetic, whether or not you should use it. As always, any time you try something new, especially sugar substitutes, you should monitor your blood sugar very closely in case your body doesn’t react the way you thought it would. Good luck and happy eating!
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