For many people who suffer from diabetes or who simply want to lose weight, finding the right sugar substitute is important if they still want to satisfy their sweet tooth. One of the natural products on the shelves of grocery stores that provides such a substitute is agave nectar. This natural product is roughly 1 ½ times as sweet as sugar and comes from the same plant that is used to create tequila.
For many, agave nectar may seem like the perfect answer to their sugar cravings. However, the truth is that like any other sugar substitute it is best used in moderation and it does have its own complications when too much is consumed.
What is Agave Nectar?
The nectar comes from the agave plant that is found in many parts of the southwestern United States down to the northern parts of South America. It is the blue agave plant that provides most of the sweeteners that are used in a variety of products. However, unlike what it states there is no direct use of the raw nectar itself as it must be processed first before it can be used in different products.
You’ll find agave nectar as syrup that can be used in teas or on top of pancakes, energy bars and drinks along with many other products. Interestingly enough, agave nectar actually has more calories than sugar, but because it is so much sweeter substantially less is used.
Is Agave Right for Diabetics?
In theory the answer is yes because it is not sugar and does not cause a sugar spike in the blood when a moderate amount is used. However, there has not been a great deal of research on this subject so no one can say for sure if it is truly safer that many other sugar substitutes. So far, the recommendations have been to treat agave like any other sugar substitute that includes brown sugar, honey and the like.
The danger from agave nectar is when too much is consumed since the body will react to the fructose that it contains just like standard processed sugar. In essences, unless agave nectar is consumed in the right amounts, then it can have just as devastating effects as the real thing. So, the best advice is to keep the consumption of agave nectar in low to moderate levels in order to avoid any complications.
While there are no large health benefits, it can be an important part of your diet if you know what you are consuming. This will mean understanding all the foods that provide a level of sugars and reducing them substantially until having a sugar substitute is the answer. For many, this will require a complete evaluation of the diet which may turn up some surprising results.
Once the diet plan is in place, then agave nectar can serve a role in providing the necessary sweetness. This is the right way to approach consuming the nectar for diabetics who are concerned about their blood sugar levels and their weight as well.
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