Using Agave instead of sugar is so much better for you, right? Wrong, it’s a con!!!

agave-nectar-copy

Sure, you can replace sugar with Agave – here we go!

There are no hard and fast rules to substituting agave and sugar in recipes, but this page should help you quickly decide how much you will want to use in your particular recipe, instead of table or cane sugar.  Based on its sweetnesss, and the fact that it is a liquid, rather than solid like granualated cane sugar, most people use 2/3 to 3/4 (two-thirds to three quarters) as much agave as sugar.  In other words, for each cup of granualated cane sugar, use 2/3 cup of liquid agave syrup.  In general, substituting agave for sugar seems to be a matter of taste. Some people prefer 2/3 cup of agave per cup of white sugar, some 3/4 cup. Also, reduce the amount of other liquids by 1/4 cup for every cup of agave used. Lower the oven temp about 25 degrees F to prevent over-browning and add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of agave to your batter. (Agave is naturally acidic and the baking soda tempers it.)

If you are diabetic, keep in mind that agave does not reduce the calorie or carbohydrate content of the sugar syrup, and thus is not acceptable sugar replacements for people on diabetic diets.

You may also be interested in this page about substituting honey for sugar.

Background:

Differences and Considerations Between Agave and Cane Sugar

  1. Agave adds moisture that table sugar does not have.
  2. Agave is a bit more dense (weighs more per cup)
  3. Agave adds a slight bit of its own flavor to the finished product; which might be noticble in mild flavored products
  4. And agave can cause baked foods to brown more quickly.

Moisture: If you just swap agave for sugar the finished product would likely be rather soggy and sticky. But, if we examine the rest of the ingredients in a recipe, we can determine which items will absorb some of the water in the agave and increase those to compensate. Or we can take the opposite approach and reduce some liquid from the recipe.

Density: A cup of granulated sugar weighs 8 ounces (1/2 lb or 1/4 kg; 250 grams). A cup of agave weighs 12 ounces (3/4 lb or 340 grams). So if you were to substitute agave in a recipe that calls for brown sugar, you’d be adding twice the amount of food. A cup of brown sugar weighs only 6. But a cup of maple syrup weighs 11 ounces and it slightly less sweet than agave; so you should use about 10% less agave than maple syrup.

Flavor: Agave has its own unique flavor, but much milder than honey.  General it is a light and pleasing flavor, but if it conflicts with the desired taste of your recipe, there’s not much you can do about it.  However, most people seem to like the flavor that agave adds!

Faster Browning: Lower the oven temp about 25 degrees F to prevent over-browning and increase the time by 5%

General recommendations:

These are general recommendations and since the type, quality and properties of the other ingredients affects how the sweetener acts, you may have to do some trial and error to get the exact substitution for the results you want.  But these rations should work and be tasty!

Baking (pies, cakes, biscuits, etc.)

  • Use 2/3 cup of agave replaces one cup of sugar. Reduce other liquids by one-half cup for each cup of agave you add to the recipe. Lower the oven temp about 25 degrees F to prevent over-browning

Canning (jams, jellies, preserves, chutney’s, fruit, etc.) and cooking

  • To use agave in place of sugar, use 3/4 cup for every cup of sugar, and don’t change the other liquids. According to food labs, agave may be substituted effectively for up to half the sugar called for in a canning syrup recipe.

Substituting agave for other sweeteners

  • Molasses: To substitute agave for molasses, use exactly the same amount. The resulting flavor and color will be a but lighter and less heavy. The reverse is true if you swap molasses for agave.
  • Corn Syrup: To substitute agave for corn syrup, use exactly the same amount, but reduce any other sweet ingredients, since agave has more sweetening power than corn syrup.
  • Brown Sugar (Demerara sugar or dark brown sugar): Follow the equation for plain table sugar under General Recommendations, but also substitute molasses for a portion of the agave to retain the expected flavor – (brown sugar is just white sugar where the molasses have not been completely removed by refining). Brown sugar, on the other hand, attracts moisture, so it will keep baked goods from drying out so quickly. Also, brown sugar has some molasses in it, which adds moisture, and certainly changes the taste.
  • Raw Sugar (Soft Brown Sugar): Basically, raw sugar is similar to dark brown sugar, but has much smaller crystals and a higher portion of retained molasses, so follow the guidelines for substituing agave for sugar above. If substituting raw sugar for regular cane sugar or brown sugar, use about 20% more raw sugar.
  • Treacle is the British generic name for molasses or any syrup made during the refining of sugar cane. Common names used are Treacle, Black Treacle, Molasses, Golden Syrup and Blackstrap. “Lyle’s Golden Syrup” is the most commonly used brand in cooking. Follow the same guidelines for molasses, above.

Source – http://www.pickyourown.org/

agave

But Agave as a substitute sweetener is a con!

With its sweet taste and natural, organic, raw and low GI guise, I thought it was the best thing since crispy bacon. However it turns out that I (once and advocate), and many others in the natural health industry, have been fooled.

Agave syrup has been touted as a “healthy” natural sweetener that, because of its low glycemic index, was said to be great for diabetics. It is derived from the agave succulent plant from Mexico (it’s the same plant that gives us tequila for God sake). But it’s the processing of agave that destroys its health cred. According to Dr Joseph Mercola agave is no better – and perhaps even worse – than the evil high fructose corn syrup.

“Most agave “nectar” or agave “syrup” is nothing more than a laboratory-generated super-condensed fructose syrup, devoid of virtually all nutrient value, and offering you metabolic misfortune in its place,” says Dr Mercola.

“Most agave syrup has a higher fructose content than any commercial sweetener – ranging from 70 to 97 percent, depending on the brand, which is far higher than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which averages 55 percent.”

You might be thinking that fructose can’t be all that bad, seeing as it is the main sugar in fruit. Fructose itself isn’t the devil – it’s the high amounts of it that we are exposed to that is doing the damage. Because fructose is so cheap and makes foods taste so much better, it is added to virtually every processed food. It is also important to understand that the fructose in fruits and vegetables is not the same fructose molecule you’ll find in synthetic high-fructose corn syrup and agave syrup, which is manufactured in the lab. Naturally occurring fructose comes with fibre, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, whereas fructose sweeteners have been stripped of all this nutritional value. Fructose is one of the leading causes of obesity because it is almost exclusively broken down in the liver and is directly converted to dangerous fats.

Dr. Ingrid Kohlstadt, a fellow of the American College of Nutrition and an associate faculty member at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, confirms the dangers of agave:

“Agave is almost all fructose, a highly processed sugar with great marketing.”

Resource – http://www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au/

AN 2

Personally I don’t use Agave anymore when preserving or making jam – What do  you think??


2 thoughts on “Using Agave instead of sugar is so much better for you, right? Wrong, it’s a con!!!

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