Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Agave Nectar - Hot New Ingredients - Part 1

I got interested in the glycemic index last summer, when I realized I needed to eat lots of carbs to feel good; that is, the preferred carbs that digest more slowly. I found a book called The New Glucose Revolution, by Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller, et al. I highly recommend it, as it explains the role carbohydrates play in our health as well as what the glycemic index is. Briefly, it is a measure of how quickly carbs are turned into glucose and dumped into our bloodstream. Eating high GI foods triggers large amounts of insulin, which in triggers hunger and belly fat and someday, possibly diabetes. You can go to www.glycemicindex.com/ to look up the GI for many foods.
This leads me to agave nectar, a nonrefined sweetener. The nectar comes from the agave plant, yes, where tequila comes from! It's about 25% sweeter than sugar and the taste ranges from neutral to honeylike, depending on its color - clear to amber. It is runnier than honey and doesn't crystallize; it can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. I've been using it on my oatmeal, and in baked goods, like my Skinny Pizzelles.
I've seen it for sale in stores, it's getting more available. However, apparently all agave nectar is not equal. Supposedly some brands may have high fructose corn syrup added, which is an extreme no-no! I have found one brand online which has had it tested and certified with a GI of 27, which is excellent. They claim it is from the blue agave plant. The nectar is amber colored and has a mild honey taste. I have been using it and am very happy with the results. Go to Volcanic Nectar and read their information and order if you desire.

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