Honey vs Agave: Short Introduction
If you’ve decided to stop using sugar and are looking to find healthier alternatives, you may be considering to choose between agave or honey.
Agave syrup (or agave nectar) has a similar taste and texture to honey so it is a reasonable decision to compare these two alternatives against each other. Agave syrup can differ in its forms. At Sisana, you can purchase natural and wild agave syrup in light and amber colors. Natural agave syrup is cultivated on farms and in the production phase is mixed with Cane Sugar Juice, which is more cost-effective compared to other sweeteners, while wild agave nectar is harvested in the wild and has a more raw and natural flavor.
Honey is another natural sweetener which is considered to be healthier than sugar. The most common honey varieties are produced by honey bees and it has similar sweetness as sugar. Because honey has a unique flavor, it is often used in baking instead of sugar.
Honey vs Agave: Health
In the table below you can see basic nutritional information and what differences agave and honey have. We use 100 grams of agave or honey as an example measurement. The provided comparison facts will show you agave nectar vs honey benefits and will help you to choose the more suitable product for you.
Honey Agave Comparison Table
|Nutrition Facts (per 100g)||Agave||Honey|
|Source||Nectar from the blue agave plant||Honey bees|
|Types of included sugars||Fructose – 55.60 g; Glucose – 12.43 g; Sucrose – 0.00 g||Fructose – 40.94 g; Glucose – 35.75 g; Sucrose – 0.89 g|
|Sugars||68.03 g||82.12 g|
|Fat||0.45 g||0 g|
|Protein||0.09 g||0.30 g|
|Calcium||1 mg||6 mg|
|Iron||0.09 mg||0.42 mg|
|Vitamin C||17 mg||0.5 mg|
|Sodium||4 mg||4 mg|
|Dietary Fiber||0.2 g||0.2 g|
|Carbohydrates||76.37 g||82.40 g|
|Calories||310 kcal||304 kcal|
|Health benefits||Lower glycemic index, less sugars, less carbohydrates||Less calories, helps to relieve sore throat symptoms|
|Health disadvantages||Contains higher percentage of fructose||Higher GI, more carbohydrates.|
Agave has a lower glycemic index than honey. Glycemic index (GI) indicates how agave or honey (or any carbohydrate containing foods) impact person’s blood sugar level. It represents how fast blood sugar level rises (when glucose is released) after consuming the product. In the table above, you can compare honey to agave ratio regarding GI. To see how agave, honey and other sweeteners compare to each other for GI, carbohydrates and GL, please see our chart here.
If you are considering to base your agave nectar vs honey decision on the amount of calories in each, it might be a little difficult, as both products have a similar number of calories. However, to be precise, honey (304 kcal per 100 g) has a little less calories compared to agave (310 kcal per 100 g).
You can better assess the agave honey benefits by comparing the types of sugar contents in each. Looking at our nutritional facts table above, we have included main sugars: Fructose, Glucose and Sucrose. Agave is slightly higher in its fructose levels (agave 55.60 g to honey 40.94 g) but does not contain sucrose, and glucose is lower (agave 12.43 g to honey 35.75 g). There is a debate regarding the effects of fructose to your health, though you can see that it is not significantly higher in Agave than in honey. Even fruit contains fructose and it is common sugar for your body to process, though we recommend using any food produce in moderation.
Other Health Considerations
If you are looking for a sweetener with a lower Glycemic Index for health reasons, it is more advisable to use agave syrup as its GI is significantly lower than honey’s (10-19 to 58). On the other hand, honey can be very beneficial if you are struggling from cold symptoms, have a sore throat and cough. Another fact to keep in mind is that honey is not recommended to children under the age of 1, and to people with weak immune system due to risk of bacterial or fungal infection, while agave is suitable for people of all ages. Agave is also vegan, where honey is not.
Honey vs Agave: Comparison of Taste
If you have already tried agave nectar, you will know that its taste resembles honey. Which flavor is better is obviously a matter of preference, but if you were to compare honey and agave nectars’ taste in general, you could describe agave as having a milder, more neutral flavor and honey as having a stronger, slightly more floral taste. Agave also tastes sweeter in comparison to honey as it is a bit higher in fructose. However, both sweeteners differ depending on their type. Agave tends to differ in flavour depending on its colour. The lighter the color, the more neutral the flavor is. Dark agave nectar has a stronger, caramel resembling taste, while wild agave has a richer, more natural flavour. At Sisana, you can also find different flavors of each kind of agave syrup: natural, caramel, maple, honey, vanilla and chocolate flavors. With honey, the flavour can differ greatly depending on its nectar source. It can have accents such as floral, fruity, smoky or nutty, depending on where it comes from.
Agave Nectar vs Honey in Baking
It is popular to substitute both honey and agave for sugar in baking. The advantage of agave nectar is that it has a strong, sweet taste and a neutral flavor which makes it a good solution when the natural taste of baking good needs to be preserved. Honey works well when you want to alter the flavour, or when you want to keep the sweetness down. Keep in mind that substituting agave or honey for sugar may lead to different results in regards to the moisture levels of your dish. In the event that you do not achieve the desired results, we recommend to reduce the quantity of agave or honey in half and add sugar. Another tip when using agave is to bake your dish a bit longer than usual and on a lower temperature. Agave has a faster browning effect on your baking goods and reducing temperature by around 4 degrees Celsius will help you to stop your dish browning too quickly. Agave and honey can be substituted for sugar not only in baked goods, but all sorts of food. For some ideas on which dishes to substitute, read our articles on Agave Nectar Uses.
Honey vs Agave: Conclusion
So which sweetener is more beneficial: agave or honey? Both sweeteners have their benefits and it largely depends on your particular health situation and your taste. Agave nectar is a bit higher in fructose than honey, which means it can be stored as fat in your body if used in high dosages. However, it has a much lower glycemic index and glycemic load than honey, which makes it more suitable for people with diabetes or blood pressure problems. Moreover, agave can be used by people of all ages and is a vegan product (made of plant) while honey is not considered to be part of the vegan products. Honey is not recommended to children under 1 year old as well as to people with weak immune system, because it contains a few botulism pores. Generally, both sweeteners are perfectly suitable to substitute for sugar.