Healthiest Natural Sweetener: Maple Syrup vs Honey vs Agave Nectar

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What is the best natural sweetener?

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m sharing which is the healthiest natural sweetener: maple syrup vs honey vs agave nectar.

If you like it sweet, you’re going to love this edition of Food Wars.

Healthiest Natural Sweetener: Maple Syrup vs Honey vs Agave Nectar

This is the segment where I take one, two, three, four, or however many foods, and compare them head to head, to see which one should be in your kitchen cabinets, and which one should be in the garbage.

In other words, don’t even bring these unhealthy foods into your house.

Today we are talking about, how sweet it is, natural sweeteners.

So if you like the sweeter side of things, that’s what you’re going to get. 

I’ll be comparing maple syrup vs honey vs agave nectar and sharing which natural sweeteners should be eating and which ones you should not bring into your house.

On a past episode of Food Wars, I’ve covered zero calorie natural sweeteners vs artificial sweeteners.

Zero Calorie Natural Sweeteners vs. Artificial Sweeteners

If you missed that, I’m heartbroken and I’m ending this relationship now.

But if you saw it, you know I highly recommended ending your love affair with all things artificial, and start up your new sexy romance with natural sweeteners, when needed. 

So here’s the question.

Which natural sweeteners have the most health benefits:

  • Agave nectar?
  • Honey?
  • Maple syrup?

That’s what you’re going to learn in this post.

By the way, you may be surprised since what you’ve probably heard in the media may be all wrong.

Go figure.

Let’s start with agave nectar, also referred to as agave syrup.

Is agave nectar healthy or not?

Agave nectar has been marketed as a healthy natural sweetener alternative because it is lower glycemic.

Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load Food Chart

If you don’t know know what the glycemic index is, it is a simple measurement that tells you how quickly your blood sugar spikes, when specific food enters your bloodstream.

When your blood sugar is quickly spiked, insulin, often referred to as the fat storing hormone, is released to remove the excess sugar from your bloodstream.

Turn Your Body Into A Fat Burning Machine For Life [Improve Insulin Sensitivity]

To manage your blood sugar and insulin hormones, it’s important to focus on primarily eating foods that are lower on the glycemic index.

That being said, based on this lower glycemic index rating, this is why some people are saying agave nectar is good for you.

However, it’s important to look deeper than that, as it’s not just as simple as looking at the glycemic index.

What is fructose?

It’s also important to look at how much fructose agave nectar contains.

Fructose is often referred to as fruit sugar.

Can Fruit Make You Fat?

When you consume fructose from an apple, banana, or an orange, it also comes along with the healthy nutrients of the fruit, such as the enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.

However, when you look at refined types of fructose that don’t contain all those nutrients, that’s where fructose can be unhealthy for you.

Hello high fructose corn syrup

which is the healthiest natural sweetener: maple syrup vs honey vs agave nectar

I’m sure you’ve probably heard of high fructose corn syrup.

High fructose corn syrup is the the type of sugar that you should stay away from, since it’s high on the glycemic index, and as the name implies, it’s high in fructose.

You can avoid putting high fructose corn syrup in your body by simply avoid fake, processed, and refined food.

Is agave nectar bad for you?

Agave nectar is higher in fructose than high fructose corn syrup.

So just because agave nectar is lower on the glycemic level, it is very high in fructose, thus not something that you want to put in your body.

Agave nectar also is not as high in antioxidants as other natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup.

Bottom line on is agave nectar healthy or not?

Agave nectar is not coming into my house.

Let’s move on to honey.

Is honey healthy for you?

which is the healthiest natural sweetener: maple syrup vs honey vs agave nectar

The healthiest type of honey is raw honey.

Raw honey is healthier for you, even though it’s higher on the glycemic index when compared to agave nectar.

When honey is in it’s raw form, it contains antioxidants and enzymes that are healthy for your body.

So if you’re going to buy honey, even though it’s more expensive, the key is to only buy raw honey.

Pasteurized honey from a store will have a darker color and will be more liquidy.

Healthiest Natural Sweetener: Maple Syrup vs Honey vs Agave Nectar

When honey is pasteurized, it means the honey is no longer in a raw form as it went through a high heating process, where all the healthy enzymes have been removed.

This means you’re not getting a lot of the healthiest parts of actual honey.

Bottom line on is healthy healthy or not?

Stick with raw honey, not pasteurized honey.

Lets move on to the third natural sweetener, maple syrup.

maple syrup

Is maple syrup healthy?

I’m a Canadian, so I love maple syrup.

Maple syrup is lower on the glycemic index when compared to honey, and it also contains healthy antioxidants.

But when it comes to maple syrup, don’t get it confused.

You need to buy pure maple syrup, not the type of pancake syrup with Aunt Jemina on the label that costs two dollars.

That’s not pure maple syrup.

Bottom line on maple syrup vs honey vs agave nectar

When it comes to all natural sweeteners, make sure you don’t overdo it.

Even though raw honey and maple syrup are natural, they are still broken down in the body as sugar, and will spike your blood sugar.

Therefore, you need to moderate usage.

So if you are going to have raw honey and maple syrup, take advantage of the spike in blood sugar by consuming it after your workout.

You can also go with a zero calorie natural sweetener called stevia.

So those are your best healthy sweetener options

Go with raw honey, pure maple syrup, or stevia, and leave the agave nectar at the grocery store.

That’s it for another episode of Food Wars.


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I’ll be back tomorrow with another another #LLTV Q&A session.

See you then.

Questions For You:

  • What type of natural sweetener do you use, if any?

  • Do you still consume artificial sweeteners? 

Be sure to share your answers in the comment section below.

Check out our free workout videos here.

Check out my free recipe cooking videos here.

12 responses to “Healthiest Natural Sweetener: Maple Syrup vs Honey vs Agave Nectar

  1. i was shocked to see the stevia mentioned as being ok as a sweetner, bc stevia is very prcessed unfirtunately abd even thr RAW is not 100% pure stevia, you have to special order it, sad but true 🙁 beware of stevia

    1. Yes, but..what about Xagave? Is only
      24-30 GI, has fiber, live enzymes, lots
      of calcium and other nutrients made
      Cold pressed and tastes great!!

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