Difference Between Agave and Sugar (With Table)

Each one of us is well introduced to sugar. Sugar is a sweetener that is almost used in every household. However, agave is a plant with sharp long leaves similar to that of an aloe vera plant. The sap of the agave plant is further processed to produce agave nectar or syrup which is also used as a sweetener.

Sugar vs Agave

The difference between sugar and agave is that sugar is produced from sugarcane and sugar beet whereas agave is a type of plant producing agave syrup. Sugar is produced when the juice of sugar cane and sugar beets is extracted, filtered, and finally evaporated to form sugar crystals. Both of these play different roles when it comes to health benefits or loss.

Sugar is basically sucrose which is further made up of glucose and fructose. Sucrose naturally exists in plants but in plants like sugar cane and sugar beets, it is present in large quantities. Sugar is produced when sugarcane or sugar beets juice is crystallized and filtered in the factories.

Agave refers to a plant that is cultivated so as to produce agave syrup. Agave syrup has sweet properties similar to that of sugar and is often used in place of sugar. Agave syrup has been used traditionally by many communities in Mexico. It was believed that agave had many health benefits over sugar.

Comparison Table Between Sugar and Agave

Parameters of Comparison SugarAgave
DefinitionIt is used as a sweetener.Agave is a type of plant used to produce agave syrup.
CompositionIt has the molecular formula C12H22011.It contains almost 60% fructose and 20% glucose.
Extracted fromIt is extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets.It is extracted from the sap of the agave plants.
SweetnessLess sweet than agave syrup.It is sweeter than sugar.
ConsistencyIt is crystalline in nature.It has a honey-like consistency.

What is Sugar?

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that comprises sucrose-containing both fructose and glucose. It is used in almost every household as a very common ingredient in the food. Sugar is an important part of a balanced diet. It helps in building a stronger immune system, increasing energy levels, etc.

However, we have seen health-conscious people consuming less sugar as it helps to avoid weight gain. A high level of sugar consumption can lead to diabetes. It can also lead to poor dental health. One needs to consume sugar very consciously in order to maintain good health. Sugar gives the brain a feeling of pleasure and hence cravings for sugar can increase easily.

When we eat food containing sugar our body releases insulin (a hormone that helps cells to absorb blood sugar). This sugar is later used according to the body’s needs. But when we consume high levels of sugar, the insulin hormone of our body is no longer effective and this leads to high sugar levels in our body.

Over the years we have found sugar alternatives that help to maintain a healthy body as well as satisfy our cravings for sugar intake. Maple syrup, honey, molasses are some of the alternatives one can replace sugar with.

What is Agave?

Agave is a plant producing agave syrup that has now become a popular replacement for sugar. Agave is sweeter when compared to sugar, hence even less quantity of agave syrup can give a taste resembling that of a large amount of sugar. Therefore, it reduces the number of calories being consumed.

Agave contains less amount of glucose but comparatively more amount of fructose than sugar. Less amount of glucose does increase blood sugar levels drastically. However, it is very important to know that a high amount of fructose in agave can be difficult to digest as the liver is responsible for the digestion of fructose in the initial part of digestion. This can cause liver disease when seen in the long run.

Agave has several health benefits but these nutritive advantages no longer exist when the syrup gets processed at high temperatures. Whenever one decides on buying syrup, it is important to check its nutritional content.

If a person suffering from diabetes wants to replace sugar with agave it may not be the best decision. Agave syrup makes the insulin hormone less sensitive to a certain extent. Hence it would be a wise decision to consume as little as possible of the syrup.

Main Differences Between Sugar and Agave

  1. Sugar contains 16 calories per teaspoon whereas agave syrup contains 20-21 calories per teaspoon. However, one can get the same flavor by decreasing the quantity of syrup as it is sweeter than sugar.
  2. Sugar contains more amount of glucose and agave contains more amount of fructose than sugar.
  3. Fructose in agave is difficult to digest whereas glucose in sugar increases blood sugar levels.
  4. Agave syrup comes from the agave plants which a native to the southern US and Mexico whereas sugar is produced from sugarcane and sugar beets.
  5. Sugar is a crystalline solid whereas agave is a semi-liquid. Hence, sugar syrup is used in cold drinks and cocktails as it easily gets dissolved in them.

Conclusion

Both sugar and agave are sweetening substances. Sugar has been an ingredient of sweetening for a long whereas agave syrup has recently come in limelight. In Mexico, this syrup was used even in ancient times as it was popular for its nutritive benefits.

But now when people came to know about agave syrup, many companies started selling its processed version which lacks in original benefits the syrup used to have. Consuming this syrup in place of sugar does not mean it only brings health profits. Hence one must always be careful while buying the syrup so as to obtain healthy results.

References

  1. https://www.mdpi.com/763210
  2. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19892600001
  3. https://psycnet.apa.org/buy/1987-14916-001
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