Agave nectar is mostly fructose. This is why agave has a low glycemic index. Many people believe that since the sugar in fruit is fructose that this means fructose is automatically healthy. It is, in small amounts, with fruit fiber, fruit vitamins, fruit minerals, and all of the other nutrition in fruit. When whole fruits are consumed, the fructose is absorbed more slowly. With agave nectar there is nothing to slow the absorption.
Now, many readers may believe that since fructose is fruit sugar, it is “healthy sugar”. It isn’t. Refined fructose is no better than refined glucose.
We get asked about every new sweetener put out by the purveyors of unhealthy sweetness. Agave nectar or syrup is the most recent. Put a gun to our heads and we’ll tell you not to eat it. Actually, we’ll do that without the pistol and dramatics. We’re quite consistent that way.
Agave nectar is produced from the juice of the agave plant, the same juice which is fermented to make tequila. Agave juice is filtered and heated then concentrated into a liquid, with a viscosity similar to maple syrup. It is much sweeter than sugar but has a much lower glycemic index.
Fructose, commonly called fruit sugar, is a simple sugar found in honey, tree fruits, berries, and melons. But don’t be fooled into thinking fructose on a label means you are eating fruit sugar. Pure crystalline fructose comes from two sources: corn or sucrose (table sugar). Corn starch is processed to release fructose. Sucrose (table sugar) is enzymatically hydrolyzed to separate into glucose and fructose. Crystalline fructose is pure fructose from one of these two sources.