Is agave nectar OK for people with diabetes?
Agave nectar comes from the agave plant and is becoming a popular substitute sweetener for sugar, honey, fructose, etc. Agave nectar raises blood glucose a little more slowly since it has a lower glycemic index than sugar and other sweeteners that provide calories like honey, brown sugar, and corn syrup.
It is okay for people with diabetes to use agave nectar as a sweetener, but they should not treat it any differently than other sweeteners that provide calories. It provides just as many calories and carbohydrates as regular sugar, honey, or syrup, so be sure to account for agave nectar when planning meals. See for yourself how some of the different sweeteners compare:
1 tablespoon agave nectar = about 45 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrate
1 tablespoon honey = about 64 calories, 17 grams of carbohydrate
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar = about 52 calories, 13 grams of carbohydrate
1 tablespoon white or granulated sugar = about 49 calories, 13 grams of carbohydrate
1 tablespoon maple syrup = about 52 calories, 13 grams of carbohydrate
1 packet of artificial sweetener = about 4 calories, <1 gram of carbohydrate
Agave nectar is a popular ingredient these days because it has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners. This means using it in place of sugar will cause a less severe rise blood glucose.
Be aware that substituting other sweeteners like agave nectar for sugar can have a large impact on the taste, texture, and appearance of baked products. If you want to use agave nectar in baked goods, look for a published recipe that calls for it. Also, remember that even without sugar, baked goods still have other carbohydrates in them that will cause blood glucose to rise. (These other carbohydrates can come from flour, brown sugar, chocolate, and recipe other ingredients).
If interested, you can read more about glycemic index on diabetes.org.
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