One of the most health-promoting properties of agave nectar is its favorable glycemic profile. Its sweetness comes primarily from a complex form of fructose called inulin. Fructose is the sugar that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. The carbohydrate in agave nectar has a low glycemic index, which provides sweetness without the unpleasant “sugar rush” and unhealthful blood sugar spike caused by many other sugars. Agave nectar is a delicious natural sweetener that can be used moderately – by dieters, some diabetics, and health conscious cooks – to replace high-glycemic and refined sugars. www.allaboutagave.com/
Pros: Neutral taste, smooth consistency. Vegans who are opposed to honey appreciate the fact that it’s plant-derived yet does not exploit bees (and even a honey-loving bee-exploiter like me has to admit that they are working waaay too hard and need union representation). Nectar is possibly a low-glycemic food. Agave is also a slow-growing, hardy, indigenous, low-irrigation crop that is not known to be doused with pesticides. Right now there is a glut of agave (because of slumping tequila demand, not to be confusing with slumping tequila drinkers), so scaling up production to meet our cravings is not an issue, should nectar-demand soar. Even if that happens, agave unlikely to become a biodiversity-wrecking mono-crop because it takes so long to grow. (http://www.grist.org/article/2009-04-10-agave-sweet)
With 60 calories per tablespoon, it’s not low-calorie, but it’s about 33 percent sweeter than sugar — so you can use less.
Particularly easy to find in supermarkets (look in the health-food section), agave nectar has a light, slightly fruity taste. Though research is still scant, agave appears to have a minimal effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. http://www.wholeliving.com/article/healthy-sugar-substitutes
On the other hand, agave sap is under investigation for a variety of medical applications involving its natural steroids. For example, one early animal study confirms an anti-inflammatory effect, another an anti-bleeding effect, and another shows an anti-cancer effect in selected agave species.
A study from Spain has shown anti-allergic effects on animal cells (in a petri dish) by a variety of agave called Cissus sicyoides L. (Bejuco caro) but not for another called Agave intermixta Trel. (Maguey). Both species are Caribbean plants from the Dominican Republic used locally in traditional popular medicine. The study showed an inhibition of the release of histamine from mast cells that might contribute to the anti-inflammatory activity shown by this one species. http://glutenfreeworks.com/blog/2011/02/18/agave-nectar-pros-and-cons/