- sweeteners, both natural and artificial, play an important role in the human diet and are of great importance to the food industry and nutrition professionals.
Between these, there are also compounds that taste sweet and contain no calories or those whose sweetness is so intense that it can be used at very low concentrations, thus having a negligible impact on the total caloric value of the product.
Below we will go to delve into two of the most popular sweeteners available today and their nutrient content, safety profiles and positive and negative health effects.
Lo agave syrup has grown in popularity since the early 2000s. More elaborate than many believe, this one liquid sweetener varying in color from pale to dark amber It is produced by treating the nectar of agave plants with enzymes or heat to break down the plant's complex carbohydrates into fructose and glucose.
The composition of carbohydrates, however, depends on the species from which the syrup was made. This product turns out anyway be sweeter than table sugar and also more caloric.
It has traces of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium and is a popular substitute vegan honey.
Less viscous than honey, agave syrup dissolves more easily in liquids, making it one good option for sweetening smoothies and drinks.
While most natural calorie sweeteners are a mixture of about 50/50 of the sugars glucose and fructose, agave syrup is made up of 90% fructose (compared to 55% in high fructose corn syrup).
Since fructose does not cause blood sugar spikes, agave was initially thought to be one good choice for people with diabetes.
However, research indicates that consuming too much fructose has serious health implications, leading the American Diabetes Association to list agave, like all other sugars, as a sweetener to limit.
In fact, one tablespoon of agave syrup provides 78 calories, an amount similar to the value per tablespoon of high fructose corn syrup (70 calories).
One of the most popular sweeteners on the market is it maple syrup. Created boiling the sap of maple trees, this sweet syrup has been consumed in North America for centuries.
Depending on the grade, maple syrup is made up of about 50% glucose and 50% fructose, such as table sugar.
Maple syrup contains more minerals than table sugar, particularly manganese and zinc, and also has small amounts of polyphenols, antioxidants that help reduce inflammation.
This 100% natural sweetener can raise blood sugar slower than table sugar. In a recent study on animal guinea pigs carried out at the University of Osaka, the carbohydrate content of maple syrup was analyzed and a new oligosaccharide composed of fructose and glucose was identified.
It was found that when administered orally together with sucrose in rats with diabetes mellitus (DM), this oligosaccharide led to a drop in subsequent plasma glucose concentrations compared to the condition where rats were given sucrose alone, without have no effect on insulin concentration. These findings suggest that this new oligosaccharide could represent an alternative sweetener useful for inclusion in the diet of patients with DM and it could also have therapeutic benefits.
Agave and maple syrup in comparison
While being rich in minerals including: iron, zinc and manganese, it would be good however, pay close attention to their consumption.
If we compare white sugar with agave syrup, we find that they have virtually the same nutritional value, that is, none.
They are in practice empty calories. Unfortunately maple or agave both have a rather high glycemic index, and it is therefore a good idea to get used to reducing the consumption of both.