Looking to make your smoothie a little bit sweeter? Try agave nectar! Agave nectar comes from the blue agave plant that grows in the southwestern United States into the northern area of South America, and it is the same plant that is used to make tequila. If you're craving a bit of sweet for your smoothie, there are some benefits to using agave nectar.
What is agave nectar?
Juice from the blue agave plant is extracted, filtered, then heated to break down the components into a simple sugar called fructose, which is then concentrated into a syrup.
Agave tends to be about 1.5 times sweeter than refined table sugar, making it a little higher in calories than sugar, but due to its sweetness, you can use less of it and still achieve a sweeter flavor.
When comparing agave nectar to other natural sweeteners such as honey, molasses, and maple syrup, there are many things to consider. First, let's look at the nutrition facts per 1 teaspoon of agave nectar:
- Calories: 21
- Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 0.3g
- Carbohydrates: 5.3g
- Fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 4.7g
- Protein: 0g
While these nutrition facts do not seem to look that great, it is important to look at the bigger health effects that sweeteners have, an important one being glycemic index.
What is the Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index measures how much a carbohydrate-rich food (sugar for example) raises blood glucose levels. Foods that have a high GI often trigger blood sugar spikes and insulin release after consuming. These foods are also digested quickly, meaning you won't be left feeling satisfied.
Lets compare the glycemic index of agave nectar to two popular sweeteners:
- Agave nectar: 16
- Table sugar: 60
- Honey: 58
Agave nectar has an incredibly low glycemic index compared to other common sweeteners, meaning that it is less likely to cause a spike in blood sugar leading to a sugar crash.
If you are looking to sweeten up a SmoothieBox smoothie, try agave nectar before reaching for the table sugar. It will keep your smoothie super healthy and super filling, without that nasty sugar crash.
Cafasso, Jacquelyn. Agave Nectar vs Honey: Health Benefits. 1 Jan. 749AD, www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/agave-nectar-vs-honey.
Horton, Jenn. “Agave: Calories, Nutrition Facts, and More.” WebMD, WebMD, 22 July 2014, www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-truth-about-agave.
Dolson, Laura. “Agave Nectar Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Verywell Fit, 13 Apr. 2020, www.verywellfit.com/agave-nectar-is-it-helpful-in-a-low-carb-diet-2241847.