I’m happy to report that my sugar detox is going well–so far, so good! To be honest, I haven’t had to deal with much temptation during the past few days (not that I’m complaining). I know it’s still early on, but I’m all about celebrating small victories!
Though my sugar detox began in honor of Lent, reducing the amount of refined sugars from your diet can start anytime. Want to do that, but can’t imagine a life without sweets? Enter: agave nectar.
Agave nectar, or agave syrup, is a natural liquid sweetener made from the juice of the agave cactus. It’s about one and a half times sweeter than refined sugar, but doesn’t give you the same rush.
Agave is noted for its lower glycemic index and glycemic load compared to many other natural sweeteners. However, it is high in fructose–higher than that of even high-fructose corn syrup–and some research suggests that fructose doesn’t shut off appetite hormones. This may decrease glucose tolerance and ultimately lead to overeating, so just be aware.
While similar to honey in appearance and texture, agave nectar is vegan! It also naturally contains iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium–though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a daily supplement.
Ready to start baking? Here are a few tips for substituting agave nectar for white sugar in recipes:
- Replace every cup of sugar with 2/3 cup agave nectar.
- Reduce the total amount of other liquids in the recipe by 1/4 cup.
- Reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees and increase baking time slightly.
I realize the baking time bit isn’t exact, so be sure to keep an eye on your recipe while it’s in the oven! Pay attention to your batter while baking, too–if it becomes too thin, try adding some more flour to it. In fact, some people suggest increasing the total amount of dry ingredients by 1/4 cup instead of reducing the other liquids. I’ve always done it the first way, but it’s really up to you.
Just experiment with it. After all, a botched recipe just means you get to bake (and eat) more goodies!
Have you ever used agave nectar as a sugar alternative? What did you think?