For many, many years, I was a big fan of honey as a replacement for white sugar — until, that is, I met up with organic agave (pronounced ah·GAH·vay), an excellent honey substitute.
What is agave?
Both honey and agave come from plants. While honey is, of course, made by bees from the sugary liquid they gather from flowers (along with internal bee enzymes), agave comes from the agave cactus.
Agave looks like honey (although slightly thinner in consistency) and tastes pretty much like honey, but it does seem quite a bit sweeter, so a little goes a long way, and doesn't interfere with the taste of other foods as much as honey does. In short, it's delicious!
Better yet, agave is extremely low on the Glycemic Index (per answers.com: "a numerical index given to a carbohydrate-rich food that is based on the average increase in blood glucose levels occurring after the food is eaten") — my take on that is, "how much your blood sugar will rise after eating a particular carbohydrate-rich food."
Now, while glycemic index charts differ, I've seen honey listed at 50-83 and agave at 16-27, which is very low. What this means to us is that, if we consume agave, we don't get that "jacked up to the high hills" feeling with its attendant crash after the sugar rush. Your mileage may vary, but that's been our experience.
And the best news is that it is possible to get organic agave. So, this gives us a low-Glycemic Index honey substitute that is delicious, doesn't interfere with the taste of foods, and doesn't bring you the sugar rush-and-crash problem.
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