Why you think it’s healthy: Touted as a natural sugar, low-glycemic agave nectar is sourced from the agave plant—the same one that tequila is made from.
The truth: Just like sugar, agave nectar makes food taste sweet. But, here’s the kicker: In order for agave nectar to act as a sweetener, it has to be boiled down and concentrated, turning it into a liquid form of sugar— almost all types of agave nectar have the same consistency as honey. “In its pure form, agave nectar is very low in sugar and has a slow rate of delivery, or glycemic rate,” says Pomroy. “But heating, processing and concentrating the sweet part of it gives agave nectar a 90- percent fructose concentration.” Adds Simpson, “It’s basically 100-percent sugar, and its calorie content is the same as any other sugar product.”
A better choice: Use raw honey, coconut sugar, xylitol or stevia instead. Both honey and stevia, natural sweeteners, are best to substitute for agave nectar since they contain fewer calories and are natural, meaning the body can break them down better.