It's sugar. For the most part, sugar is sugar is sugar. Agave nectar is pretty much the same as any other liquid sweetener.
The research cited in the article does NOT have anything to do with agave nectar, though. They're comparing pure fructose to pure glucose and finding out that the two have different effects on the body (although neither one is good for you!)
But the thing is, nobody eats pure glucose or pure fructose. The sugars we eat are a mixture. The concentration of fructose vs glucose in agave nectar, high-fructose corn syrup, and honey are almost identical (in fact, you can't tell the difference between high-fructose corn syrup and colored honey even with sophisticated chemistry. That's why counterfeiting honey is a big business; it's impossible to prove that it's fake. The best you can do is analyse the proteins from the pollen and make a statistical probability estimate of how likely it is that they came from plants naturally instead of being added.)
Agave nectar, HFCS, and honey all affect the body pretty much the same way-- and not very differently from table sugar. The main difference is that HFCS and agave nectar don't spike blood sugar as much as sucrose does. That might sound good, except that the blood glucose spike is what makes people feel sick from too much sugar. If you tried to drink a Super Big Gulp of Coke sweetened with cane sugar, you would probably throw up, but HFCS or agave nectar make it possible to keep consuming sugar far beyond the point when common sense should have told you to knock it off.
Sugar isn't good for you. It doesn't matter where the sugar comes from. Just eat less sugar and don't worry about which kind it is.
So... Agave nectar, good or bad? The answer is yes. If you want a teaspoon of something to sweeten your tea and you like the taste of agave nectar, go for it. If you're looking for a "healthy" way to make candy, cookies, cake, etc... Keep looking, 'cause this ain't it.
4/17/13 9:02 A
I love it regardless. Nothing goes better in a margarita.