What’s the best sweetener? Agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup? All are high in sugars…
Agave nectar nutrition facts
According to the USDA, agave nectar is mainly sugars.
Moreover, 82% of sugar is fructose, and only 18% is glucose.
Furthermore, a teaspoon of agave nectar contains 21.4 calories and approximately 4.7 grams of sugars.
Agave nectar is a highly processed syrup that lacks nutrition. It doesn’t contain any significant amounts of minerals or vitamins.
Agave nectar health risks
Agave is bad for you. It’s the highest food in fructose.
Contrary to glucose, fructose is metabolized only in liver. On the other hand, every cell in the body can use glucose, without further processing.
So, liver is stressed, every time we eat foods rich in fructose.
Nowadays, fructose is everywhere. Mainly, due to the high fructose corn syrup. It’s the main sweetener of almost every processed food. It’s high in soft drinks, as well.
Furthermore, agave nectar contains much more fructose than even high fructose corn syrup. Increased fructose intake has been linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular events. Therefore, better avoid agave nectar, altogether.
More about agave nectar and its health risks here.
Honey nutrition facts
Honey is also pure sugar. Analytically, honey is approximately 43% glucose and 50% fructose.
A tablespoon of honey has 64 calories, and only traces of many vitamins and minerals. But, a tbsp of honey a day could help us lose weight. Certainly, honey is particularly rich in antioxidants (1). Antioxidants fight free radicals in the human body, protecting us from diseases.
But, honey has a high Glycemic Index. According to the University of Sydney, honey has a Glycemic Index of 58. That’s pretty high.
Especially people with diabetes should take extra care about the amount of honey they consume. After all, honey is pure sugar.
Studies have shown that honey may have potential health benefits, such as decreased:
- body weight,
- total and LDL cholesterol, and
Even though, scientists propose to avoid excess consumption of honey, as it significantly increases blood sugar.
Is honey vegan?
Additionally, honey isn’t vegan. People exploit bees.
Practically, beekeepers steal honey from bees. They replace honey, which is their food, with cheap sugars. Cheap sugars aren’t good for the health of the bees. They don’t contain any antioxidants. Therefore, the health of bees is declined.
Unfortunately, beekeepers may kill sick bees, instead of giving them medicine. It’s just a cheaper solution…
Maple syrup nutritional value
According to the USDA, maple syrup is also mainly sugar.
A tablespoon of maple syrup contains 52 calories, 12 grams of sugars, but no protein, fat, or fiber.
Moreover, 97% of sugars is sucrose. The rest is glucose and fructose.
Furthermore, maple syrup contains traces of minerals and vitamins. For instance, it contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and manganese. Certainly, maple syrup doesn’t contain any significant amounts of minerals and vitamins. It can’t practically help us meet the daily requirements of micronutrients.
On the contrary, a plant-based diet can provide all the vitamins and minerals, we need. They are many plant-based foods which are high in minerals and vitamins. For instance, people worry about calcium, iron or zinc deficiencies when they eat plant-based foods. There is no need to worry. Eat a variety of whole plant-based foods to deal with deficiencies.
Is maple syrup bad for you?
The most important health benefit of maple syrup is that it contains antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for the body.
Prefer darker maple syrup. It seems that dark maple syrup is the richest in antioxidants, compared with the clear maple syrup.
On the other hand, maple syrup has a Glycemic Index of 54. It’s lower than honey (58), and sugar (60). So, does it mean that maple syrup is good for you? No.
We should avoid the consumption of maple syrup, as well. It’s pure sugar. It may contain minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, but the sugar content is huge.
So, what’s the best natural sweetener?
Eating either, honey, or maple syrup will flood your blood with sugar. Moreover, agave nectar will put tremendous stress to your liver. Due to the high fructose content.
Huge amounts of sugar may lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and even heart disease.
The best solution is to eat lots of fruits. Fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Also, fruits can keep you full. They are the only healthy sugar source.
If you really want to eat a healthy sweetener, make your own homemade fruit jam. You only need fresh fruit, lemon juice, and sugar. Berries are an excellent choice. Even stevia which is considered a natural sweetener may make you fat!