Food Fight: Agave vs. Honey

by in Food Fight, Healthy Tips, November 1, 2012

honey
This is going to be our toughest food fight yet! Two natural sweeteners pitted against each other – it’s a very difficult decision.

Agave
Most agave nectar is produced from the blue agave plant grown in desert regions like the hilly areas in Mexico. The syrup is extracted from the “honey water” found at core of the plant, filtered, heated and then processed to make it into thicker nectar you see at the store. This makes agave a good sweetener for vegans (who don’t eat honey).

Agave nectar has a dark amber color, but has a more neutral flavor than honey. One tablespoon of the sweetener has about 60 calories compared to about 45 and 60 in the same amount of granulated sugar and honey, respectively. It’s 1 ½ times sweeter than sugar and so you can use less of it. Agave easily dissolves in cold liquids like smoothies and iced tea and can be used to replace granulated sugar in baked products (see instructions below). Many food manufacturers also use agave nectar in products like energy drinks and bars because of its light flavor and over-hyped nutritional benefits.

To replace sugar with agave in your baked treats, do the following:

  • Replace 1 cup of sugar with 2/3 cup of agave
  • Reduce liquids in the recipe by ¼
  • Reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees F to prevent excessive browning
  • Increase baking time by one minute for every 15 minutes of baking time

Depending on how it’s processed, agave contains from 55% to 90% of a sugar called fructose —which is also found in fruit. The remainder of the sugar ranging from 10% to 45% of sugar is from glucose. This is a similar to the amount of fructose in high-fructose corn syrup.

The media has hyped up agave because of its low glycemic index (GI of 17) compared with regular sugar (GI of 68) or even honey (GI between 60-74 depending on variety).  This low glycemic index has made agave a favorite among many diabetics. However, according to the American Diabetes Association agave should be treated just like any sweetener (like sugar, corn syrup or honey) and be consumed in limited amounts.

The reason for the lower glycemic index is due to the high amount of fructose. However, studies have shown that high amounts of fructose have been linked to diabetes, obesity, fatty liver and may play a role in memory loss.

Nutritionally, agave does contain provide small amounts of potassium, calcium and magnesium. However, the amounts aren’t major contributing factors to your overall diet.

Honey
One tablespoon of honey has about 64 calories. The flavor of honey depends on where the bee collected its nectar. The darker the color, the more robust the flavor and the more antioxidants present. You can also find a variety of minerals like iron, copper, niacin, riboflavin, potassium and zinc.

Honey is about 25-50% sweeter than sugar so you don’t need as much when using it in a recipe. When substituting for granulated sugar, use lighter-colored (and milder flavored) honey so it won’t overpower your recipe.

When baking, use the following guidelines to substitute honey for granulated sugar:

  • Use ½ cup of honey per cup of sugar
  • Reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees F to prevent excessive browning
  • If using more than 1 cup of honey, decrease liquids in the recipe by ¼ and add ½ teaspoon of baking soda

Check out our other tips for baking with honey

There’s also been some belief that eating local honey can help alleviate seasonal allergies. The theory stems from the facts that bees collect local pollen spores and if we consume around a tablespoon a day, it could help build up our immunity through gradual exposure. An article published in the New York Times in 2011 discussed a recent study conducted at the University of Connecticut Health Center. The results found that local honey had no such benefits.

Babies under the age of one year shouldn’t eat honey as it contains botulism spores that their underdeveloped immune systems can’t handle.

Healthy Eats Winner: This food fight winner is honey. Agave is a bit more processed and has been over-hyped by the media and built up to be a super-sweetener—but it’s just like all the others and should be used in moderation.

TELL US: Who gets your vote: agave or honey?

More posts from .

Similar Posts

Countdown to New Year’s: No-Resolutions Resolution Week 4

For the fourth week of our No-Resolutions Resolution game plan, let’s get serious about snacking, a habit that often gets a bad rap. But it’s actu...

Comments (498)

  1. physician assistant degree…

    Very good data can be identified on this web weblog….

  2. physician assistant school…

    I feel technologies just makes it even worse. Now there is a channel to under no circumstances treatment, now there would not be considered a likelihood for them to find out….

  3. physician assistant program…

    Great Morning, I just stopped in to visit your internet site and considered I would say I liked myself….

  4. apple iphone 5 preis…

    Fantastic function you’ve completed, this website is admittedly interesting with wonderful facts. Time is God’s strategy for trying to keep every little thing from going on without delay….

  5. hp proliant server preis…

    Fantastic Early morning, I just stopped in to visit your website and thought I’d say I appreciated myself….

  6. Ryan…

    Whoah this weblog is great i really like reading your posts. Keep up the great paintings! You already know, many persons are searching round for this info, you could help them greatly….

  7. posing nude says:

    The Birch of the Shadow…

    I think there may well be a couple duplicates, but an exceedingly handy list! I’ve tweeted this. Many thanks for sharing!…

  8. pickup girls says:

    pickup girls…

    […]very couple of websites that come about to become comprehensive beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly effectively worth checking out[…]…

  9. visit here says:

    Healing’s Dragon…

    to discover problems to further improve my internet site!I suppose its alright to produce utilization of a couple of of one’s ideas!!…

  10. website says:

    Raleigh NC…

    Great blog you have here.. It’s hard to find good quality writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>