Difference Between Agave and Sugar (With Table)

Both agave and sugar are natural sweeteners extracted from different plants. Agave is derived from the nectar of the blue agave plant and the sugar can easily be obtained from sugarcane plants and beets. The extraction process for both natural sweeteners involves extraction, filtration, heating, and processing to get the final product. The nectar of the blue agave plant results in the formation of dark amber color light consistent liquid and the sugarcane or beet extraction results in the granulated sugar.

Agave vs Sugar

The main difference between agave and sugar is that both are extracted from different sources. The proportion required to get the desired results from both sources is different. The obtained result of agave is in the form of dark amber-brown liquid whereas the sugar is obtained in granulated form. Agave can be used as a vegan alternative to honey. Unlike sugar, agave is filled with minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

The source to obtain agave syrup is the nectar of the blue agave plant. The plant is native to Mexico and South Africa. It is suggested as a healthy alternative for honey. The process to obtain the syrup involves extraction, purification, heating, and processing. The extracted liquid is in dark amber-brown color. It is made by using sugar – fructose and glucose in required proportions. Its glycemic index value is on a lower ride and ranges from10 to 19.

Sugar is obtained from the sugarcane plants and the beet and is mainly native to India. The process to obtain sugar involves milling, Juice extraction, water evaporation, and sugar crystals are separated from the centrifuge. In the case of beet, after soaking the beets in hot water, it is extracted through filtration, water evaporation, then the sugar crystals are separated. The two types of sugar- sucrose, and glucose is added in different proportions. The desired product is known as table sugar and is white or brown.

Comparison Table Between Agave and Sugar

Parameters of ComparisonAgave Sugar
SourceAgave is extracted from the blue
agave plant.
Sugar granules is extracted from the
sugarcane or the beet.
NativeAgave is native to Mexico and South-
Africa.
Sugar is native to India.
Types of SugarMade from fructose (60?80%) and
glucose (20-40%).
Made from sucrose (50% fructose,
and 50% of glucose).
Glycemic IndexLow , ranges from 10 to 19.Very High, 60
Sugars1g ( per 100g)99.91g (per 100g)
TextureRunny to viscous textureSolid granulated form
ColorDark amber-brownWhite or brown
Mineralsvery low amount of magnesium, potassium,
and calcium.
None
TypesRaw, Light, Amber, and DarkWhite, Brown, Turbinado, and demarrera
UsesVegan alternative of honey,
Different recipes and beverages
Baking, Desserts, and Cereal, Different
recipes

What is Agave?

Agave or agave nectar is found in hot and humid areas like deserts. These blue agave plant can be found in an arid area of Mexico and is the native country that produces agave. Agave is a natural sweetener available in the runny, or viscous texture less than the honey. Agave is treated as a vegan alternative and has a low glycemic index value that ranges from 10 to 20. It is known to have magnesium, potassium, and calcium-like minerals in significantly low amounts. To extract the agave nectar, three stages are involved.

  • The initial phase involves getting the honey water from the source. The source is variant species of blue agave plants.
  • After the extraction, the honey water is filtered and heated.
  • The final stage involves processing the heated texture to obtained light consistency agave nectar.

Agave is known to have dietary fibers. It has a caramel-like taste and the intensity depends upon the type of extracted syrup. The syrup is made using two sugars: fructose and glucose in different proportions. It is a natural healthy sweetener used to create delicious foods and beverages. The interesting fact is that it issued to make tequila. It is available in raw, amber, dark, and light forms. It is treated as a vegan alternative and has sodium (Na) present in it. Although, excess of anything is harmful and that includes agave too. It can create resistance from insulin.

What is Sugar?

Sugar, also known as table sugar is a term that generally describes any sweet substance. It is made from sucrose, a disaccharide that constitutes fructose and glucose in almost equal proportions. The sweetener is native to India extracted more either from sugarcane or beet. The extraction process from both is different. The extraction process with sugarcane involves the following stages:

  • The initial phase involves the extraction of juice from sugarcane.
  • The purification process for extracted juice is achieved with the aid of lime and heat.
  • The procedure is continued till the granules like crystals start formulating. The sugar crystals are separated from the centrifuge.
  • Bleaching of sugar granules takes place.
  • The final stage involves the refining of the bleached sugar. It results in the formation of white solid granules that seems like crystal.

The extraction process of sugar is a bit different. The process involves the following stages.

  • Soaking of beets in the hot water.
  • Isolation process for process involves filtration and purification.
  • The water is evaporated and sugar like structures are separated from it.
  • After the bleaching of extracted solids, refined sugar is presented in the form of table sugar.

Sugar is used in the majority of households for ages. It is used to create delicious baked goods, desserts, and beverages. Table sugar is available in white, brown, turbinado, and demarrera form. It tastes extreme sweet as it has 99.91 g of sugar per 100 grams. Sugar is widely-used and contains almost negligible nutrients.

Main Differences Between Agave and Sugar

  • The main difference between agave and sugar is its origin. Agave is native to Mexico whereas sugar is native to India.
  • Agave is extracted from variants of blue agave whereas sugar is extracted from sugarcane and beets.
  • The texture of agave is less viscous than honey or is runny whereas the sugar is obtained in granulated form.
  • Unlike sugar, agave has dietary fibers and has minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The present amount is very low.
  • Agave is considered as a healthy vegan alternative due to its low glycemic index value that ranges from 10 to 19 whereas sugar is a bit on the higher side with a glycemic value of 60.
  • Agave has a taste like caramel depending on its type whereas sugar is referred to any sweet substance.
  • Unlike Sugar, agave has sodium present in it.
  • Agave is little more calories than the sugar.
  • The nutrient value is higher in case of agave.

Conclusion

Both agave and sugar regardless of their extraction methods are natural sweeteners extractive in different forms. The purpose is to create delicious food items by adding sweetness to them. The taste preference of every individual is different. Those who like caramel-like taste can prefer agave and those who crave something sweet can opt for sugar granules.

You can add agave syrup on pancakes, ice-creams, even popcorns. Sugar can be used as the main ingredient from batters. If you prefer something that dissolves quicker then go for agave. Anything in excess is unhealthy and both sugar and agave have their negative traits too. Excess agave can cause resistance to insulin and is high in calories. Although it serves as a healthy alternative for honey for vegan people. Sugar is more popular and easily available. Sugar has almost negligible nutrients. Choose whatever you prefer and what you are making. Sounds sweet!

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814614010103
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960852407000557
  3. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41424421