Friday, October 31, 2014

Sweet Nectar Of Life

In case you weren't already aware, diabetes and obesity is a growing concern in not only America but also the rest of the world. These can be attributed to the over consumption of sugar based foods and drinks like soda and juices. Many people are seeking alternatives to the synthetically produced sweeteners, and then indulge in all these substitutes. There's a growing popular concept that the things you consume which come from nature itself is a lot more beneficial than the man made ones....and in this case it would be the artificial sweeteners. 

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes with Melted Peanut Butter & Nectavé Agave Nectar
Photo by Catherine Kung

That's where the need for a "healthy sweet" comes in to play. While that may sound like an oxymoron to some, those things actually do exist in the world. Agave nectar is a prime example that gives you a good sweetener as an alternative to synthetic sweeteners. Nectavé organic agave has been booming in popularity throughout the years both in the restaurant industry and for personal use. You may see some of these even sitting on the table in a restaurant for customers to use instead of the classic maple syrup. In this post, we will discuss the company of Nectavé, differences between other sweeteners as well as other agaves, benefits of using agave nectar, and many other tidbits. Read on more about this wonder liquid past the break.


Nectavé was founded by a man named Sean Marsh. Since even before the birth of Nectavé, he tries to stay healthy by doing exercise and follows a reasonable diet. But like many others, he likes to enjoy life by eating great tasting food and having a cocktail or two with friends. Even when doing those enjoyable things, he still keeps in mind what goes into his body. It was when his sports nutritionist friend introduced him to agave nectar that he decided to look more into this intriguing syrup. After hearing and learning about all the benefits that come from this wonder nectar, he decided to start up a company which would bring the purest, most superior tasting of all organic blue agave nectar. Thus Nectavé was born. These fine agave plants are sustainably grown on a family-owned farm which has been operated for generations.

What Is Blue Agave?

Blue Agave plant, photo by Kurt Stüber

Blue agave is a plant native to Jalisco, Mexico. It is more widely known as the base ingredient for tequila. Its physical characteristics include spiky leaves which sprout upwards to almost 7 feet in height. They sprout stalks once they reach 5 years old which can reach 16 feet high and have yellow flowers at the top.

Those eagle eye readers may have noticed already, but the Nectavé logo is an artistic rendition of the actual plant. That orange tear drop shape you see at the bottom of the logo is the piña, the heart of the plant, which represents where the nectar comes from.

How Nectavé Is Made

As mentioned up above, the piña is accessed by removing the leaves of the blue agave plant. It is a fibrous root-like bulb full of inulin (read below for more details) fiber and fructose. The piña is then pulverized, juiced, and then separated to release a thin sap-like liquid which bears a slight resemblance to coconut juice.

That liquid is then heated between 167ºF to 176ºF to make the fructose molecules combine and thicken. Afterwards, it is put into an evaporator condenser that removes the excess liquid from the nectar itself. It should be noted that no chemicals or enzymes are used. It is then filtered and bottled to be presented to the world.

Comparison: Nectavé and Other Sweeteners

As you can see in the comparison chart to the left, Nectavé has a lower glycemic index and doesn't release high levels of insulin which raises blood sugar levels. Other pros for using Nectavé include:

  • No High Fructose Corn Syrup or other additives put in
  • Is actually 1.5 times sweeter than sugar, so you can use less and reduce calories
  • Contains natural vitamins & minerals including calcium and iron. Refined sugar loses these during its refinement process
  • Rich in naturally occurring inulin, a prebiotic fiber (more on this later) which helps aid in digestion
  • No after taste! Synthetic, man-made sweeteners usually have this strange aftertaste that degrades the overall flavor of the main food/drink
  • Does not induce any "sugar rush" or "sugar crash"
  • No preservatives or additives are used

Comparison: Nectavé and
Other Agave Nectars

  • Made from 100% Blue Agave which are available in both Light or Raw (the unfiltered version and has a darker color)
  • Sourced from a single, sustainable farm (more about this down below) with no fillers, flavors, or other pseudo agave knockoffs
  • Bottles designed in an elegant fashion as well as having a no-drip cap design
  • Shelf life of 3 years
  • No need to refrigerate for storing or after opening 
  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Kosher Certified

Fructose & Glucose Differences

In sweeteners like honey, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup, you will find high concentrations of glucose. Glucose is a sugar molecule that's digested by having your pancreas produce insulin which in turn feeds the energy to your cells. Insulin is a hormone that is a central pillar in regulating energy and glucose metabolism in your body. Excessive intake of sugar and glucose is one of the leading factors in the building of insulin resistance as well as Type 2 diabetes. The artificial, low calorie sweeteners which contain sugar substitutes such as aspartame and sucralose can be found in "diet" beverages like diet soda, zero calorie candy, or even energy drinks. While these sound like great solutions in not having to worry about the caloric intake, there is debate and concern whether people should be consistently consuming these products containing these man-made sweeteners.

Nectavé is primarily made up of fructose, the sugar that's digested through the liver. It also does not raise insulin levels. With Nectavé's low glycemic index, low amounts of insulin are produced from the body when the agave is ingested.

High Fructose Corn Syrups (HFCS) should not be confused with the above explanation of fructose. HFCS is made from changing "starch" to sugar which is something that Nectavé does not do at all. Being processed with chemicals and/or enzymes is another factor that HFCS has that Nectavé does not do. And of course, HFCS has excessive amount of glucose which is the trigger for the insulin process. Unfortunately, there are other brands of agave nectar outside of Nectavé that put HFCS in their products which completely defeats the purpose of having a pure, natural sugar alternative.

Nectavé v.s. Table Sugar Amounts
Nectavé Table Sugar
Fructose 77% 50%
Glucose 15% 50%
Inulin Fiber 8% 0%
Calories per 100g 285 500
Glycemic Index 28 58 to 65

Now let's take a look at those few words mentioned earlier which were inulin, prebiotic, and organic sustainable farm.


First off, this is not a typo of "insulin", which is something that affects glucose metabolism. As stated earlier, inulin is a prebiotic fiber that keeps and maintains a healthy intestinal system  as well as regularity. It also assists in regulating appetite and lipid/glucose metabolism. Inulin stimulates the intestinal flora thereby creating a prebiotic effect which helps make better absorption of minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.


This is a form of fiber which stimulates the growth and/or activity of micro-orgranisms in the digestive system that are beneficial to a body's health and well-being. As the inulin journeys through the body, the flora feeds off the inulin instead of the food or other vital nutrients. So once it senses the inulin, it ignores everything else and goes for the "candy".....that being the inulin.

Organic Sustainable Farm

Nectavé follows the strict organic guidelines set by the USDA as well as the procedures which foster recycling of resources, promotion of ecological balance, and the conservation of biodiversity. To achieve this, Nectavé comes exclusively from a single farm that produces its own piña. The process of making the Nectavé does not alter the structure of the product. No natural resource is wasted because the left over from the Nectavé production is either returned back to the land or used for other purposes rather than being thrown away. Furthermore, for every 1 agave plant that is taken out 2 more are planted. With the boom in popularity of agave nectar, it will soon be planting 3 plants for every 1 taken. Thus the ecological balance is maintained.

How To Use Nectavé

Ready to make the switch? Great!.....but how would you use it as a replacement to the sugar in terms of quantity you ask? Take a look at this handy table for reference or the worded description right below it:

For Beverages: Use up to 2.25 teaspoons of Nectavé per 1 tablespoon of sugar

Nectavé is light and dissolves pretty well in hot and/or cold liquids. It compliments perfectly for things sugar or other syrups or creamers may be used in including coffee, lemonade, shakes, iced tea, hot tea, and frozen drinks.

For Cooking: Use up to 2.25 teaspoons of Nectavé per 1 tablespoon of sugar

Nectavé is easy to pour and mixes well with cooked or raw foods. Popular use includes with waffles and pancakes as well as strawberries or other sour tasting fruits to give perfect balance.

For Baking: Use up to 3/4 cup of Nectavé per 1 cup of sugar

For baking pastries like soft cakes, cookies, or bread, Nectavé is a match made in heaven. Using it will help add sweetness, solubility and moisture to these deliciously baked goods. However, it is not recommended for use when trying to attain crispness or for hard candy. It does however result in fluffier desserts which stay moist and fresh longer. Keep in mind these tips when baking:
  • Nectavé is a liquid based ingredient; it is recommended to reduce other liquids in the recipe by 30% or by adding an extra 1/4 cup of flour
  • Nectavé burns a lot more easily than sugar; prevent this by decreasing oven temperature by 25% to prevent over browning
  • Bake 5-10 minutes less

Where To Find Nectavé Products

As a company who has close relations with Nectavé, the Gourmet Import Shop is proud to make available to everyone their products. They come in a variety of sizes, but all contain the same sweet goodness that you just read about. Click the links below to jump straight to their product page. Once you get there, you will find that they are sold in Pack Sizes. Buying a product in a pack size essentially knocks down the price of the product's per item cost when compared to buying it as a Pack of 1. So the more you buy, the more you save! Click on any line item below: 
Click To See All Sizes

.....And of course, you can find all our other imported goods at:

Click Me!

Wrapping up this blog post, it is our hope that more people become aware of the benefits of using all natural products such as Nectavé's agave. As we all continue into the direction of living and eating healthy, we hope this information, as well as the products, help reach this achievable goal.

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