Are you what some people would consider a sugar addict? Do you have an unbelievable sweet tooth that you can’t seem to get control over? If so, then you most likely understand how bad certain types of sugar can be for your body. While people have been using white sugar for as long as any of us can remember, it’s not the greatest thing to put into our bodies. If we’re going to be honest, white sugar can be extremely bad for us to consume, especially if you deal with glucose problems.
Not only can white sugar cause an incredible amount of weight gain, but it can also lead to an increased risk of heart disease, acne, diabetes, depression, and cellular aging. White sugar can also increase your risk of getting certain types of cancer, which is obviously something that we would all prefer to do without. Luckily, there are natural sugar substitutes out there that work just as well, if not better, than white sugar. One of those natural sugar substitutes is called agave nectar, and you won’t believe the incredible benefits that can come with using this natural substitute!
Agave nectar may substituted for part or all of the sugars or liquid sweeteners in many recipes. Drinks, salad dressings, sauces and many desserts are among the easiest substitutions. More experimentation may be necessary when substituting for sugars in recipes containing precise chemistry – for example, cooked candies and some baked goods.
Candy recipes like toffees and nut brittles rely on chemical reactions provided by refined sugars which may be disrupted by substitutions. It may be possible to substitute, but ratios could take some tinkering to produce optimum results.
Similarly, recipes for baked goods containing white sugar may be too sensitive to changes in the moisture level of ingredients. If replacing all the sugar in a recipe (while reducing liquids) does not produce good results, try replacing only half the sugar with agave nectar.
Substituting Agave Nectar for Liquid Sweeteners
It goes without saying that we use sugar all of time, from putting it into our coffee or baking it into a cake. Because of this, it’s important to know how to replace it properly so you’re not using too much or too little. As we all know, too much of something isn’t usually a good thing, and the same thing can be said for agave nectar.
Replace each cup of honey with one cup of agave syrup.
When it comes to using agave instead of honey, you should stand by the one to one ration in sweetness. This means that you should replace every one cup of honey with one cup of agave.
When it comes to replacing maple syrup with agave nectar, you want to use the same one to one standard.
Replace each cup of maple syrup with one cup of agave syrup.
Brown Rice Syrup
When replacing a cup of brown rice syrup, use 1/2 to 1/3 as much agave, and increase other liquids in the recipe by up to 1/2 a cup.
When replacing a cup of light corn syrup, use 1/2 as much agave, and increase other liquids in the recipe by up to 1/3 of a cup. Like corn syrup, agave nectar will not crystallize.
Substituting Agave Nectar for Granulated Sugar
For each cup of white sugar replaced, use 2/3 of a cup of agave and reduce other liquids by 1/4 to 1/3 cup. This substitution will also work for Demerara Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, Evaporated Cane Juice, or Sucanat. You can also use this substitution for Demerara Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, Evaporated Cane Sugar, and Sucanat.
When it comes to replacing brown sugar with agave nectar, you’re going to follow the same instructions as you would with white sugar. Just this time, you won’t have to reduce the other liquids because brown sugar has a higher content of moisture than white sugar does.
For each cup of white sugar replaced, use 2/3 of a cup of agave and reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup. Because the moisture content of Brown Sugar is higher than that of white sugar, liquids may not have to be reduced as much when substituting agave nectar.
Agave syrup may cause baked items to brown more quickly, so reduce oven temperatures by 25°F is and increase baking time slightly.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways that you can include agave nectar in your daily diet. While the jury may still be out as to whether or not agave nectar is actually better for you than other options, it’s certainly better for those that suffer from glucose-related medical problems. If you’re seriously considering switching out your white sugar for a more natural substance other than maple syrup or honey, then you should definitely consider using the nectar of the agave plant. Not only will you feel better because you’re not putting artificial sugar or bleached sugar into your coffee or baked goods, but if you’re a diabetic, agave is certainly a safe alternative. Just do a little bit of your own research, and if need be, speak to your doctor to make sure that she or he agrees that agave nectar is a healthy option for you to implement into your life.
What Exactly is Agave Nectar?
While some people take advantage of stevia, honey, raw sugar, maple syrup, or even molasses to sweeten their foods, there’s really nothing more beneficial than using agave nectar in your kitchen. Agave sweetener comes from the sap of the agave plant, which is a cactus predominantly found in different regions of Mexico. Agave nectar is actually produced by heating or enzymatically treating and filtering sap from the heart of the beautiful agave plant. Just one teaspoon of agave has 21 calories, as well as, trace amounts of nutrients like vitamins A, C, K, E, and B6. It has also been said that agave has a gentler impact on blood sugar because of its fructose content, which is a type of sugar that gets absorbed and metabolized by the liver, instead of being directly absorbed into the bloodstream.
The Ancient History of Agave
Surprisingly, agave nectar isn’t something that we’ve just been made aware of. In fact, the use of agave nectar as a sweetener, as well as other things, goes back for quite some time. The Aztecs actually used a blend of agave nectar and salt to take care of wounds and different skin disorders or infections. It has been confirmed by modern day medical professionals that the use of agave nectar on wounds actually helps to fight against the pus-producing bacteria in the body, known as pyogenic bacteria. When you add salt to agave nectar it actually helps to boost the anti-microbial properties of the nectar, which is what helps kill off the unwanted microorganisms in the body. It’s also known to effectively fight against enteric, or intestinal, bacteria. Needless to say, agave nectar can be an incredibly beneficial ingredient to add to your grocery list!
Agave syrup is extremely similar to honey or maple syrup in many ways, but the taste is actually a lot lighter and more pure-tasting than that of maple syrup or even honey. The consistency of agave nectar is a bit thinner than honey, but a bit thicker than most kinds of maple syrup. While honey is a bit strong, and maple syrup tastes a little bit woody, agave nectar just simply tastes sweet, which is why it makes the perfect sweetener for baking or adding to a cup of coffee.