Agave Nectar vs Honey

Agave nectar is sometimes used as a substitute for honey. Here we look at agave nectar vs honey from a nutritional perspective.

Firstly, a few key differences regarding the two.

Agave Nectar
Agave nectar is made from agaves, mostly from Blue Agaves that grow in the hot climate and volcanic soils of Mexico.  Agaves are spiky succulent plants, and they resemble Yuccas or Cacti.  Agave nectar is made by cutting off leaves and extracting sap from the core of the plant.

Honey is of course made by bees from nectar they collect from flowers, and is actually the bees’ winter food stores. 

You can read more about this on my page how do bees make honey.

Agave Nectar vs Honey:  A comparison of carbohydrates and calories

Carbohydrate And Calories in Agave Nectar And Honey: 100g

Calories & % DV (Daily value as a proportion of an adult daily diet)

Agave nectar

286 (14% DV)


304 (15% DV)

Agave nectar is sometimes favoured as a sweetener above sugar, because despite the calories, less is required due to the higher level of sweetness. 

With regard to substituting agave nectar for honey, I think this may be down to personal preference and taste.

Carbohydrate in 100g & % DV

Agave nectar

76g (25% DV)
(Fibre: 5g; Sugar: 71g)


82g (27% DV)
(Fibre: 0g; Sugar: 82g)

Honey contains about 36g glucose and 41g fructose per 100g serving.  Agave nectar is also high in fructose and glucose.  However, a comparison of agave nectar and honey is difficult because of the wide variations within the former. Agave nectar is reportedly high in fructose.

That said, some agave nectar products have a higher ratio of fructose to glucose than others.  Glucose provides a significant and immediate energy boost, where as fructose is absorbed at a slower rate, giving sustained energy.   If you are an athlete or requiring a high energy intake, this is something you may consider to be relevant – so check the label!

However, as with all sugars, look after your teeth and use in moderation if you are on a calorie controlled diet.

Agave Nectar vs Honey:  Vitamins and minerals

 Below are tables showing the mineral and vitamin content in honey.

With regard to Agave Nectar, I have not found any data showing any vitamin or mineral content, but if you are aware of any, please inform me via my contact page.  One report I found stated that a very negligible amount of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, but gave no values for these.

Honey does not appear to contain vitamins or minerals in any significant quantity, and to that extent, is not as beneficial as some fruits and vegetables, for example.  However, there are some particular properties in honey relating to efficacy in fighting bacterial infection when applied topically – you can read about them here.  However, I’m not aware of any health benefits of agave nectar.

Agave Nectar vs Honey:  Other Considerations

At the end of the day, a sweetener is a sweetener.  Some people are against artificial sweeteners, and prefer alternatives.  Within the context of a balanced, healthy diet, I tend to think whether you select honey, sugar, maple syrup or agave nectar, all are acceptable in small amounts, rather than eaten to excess, and that it’s all about personal choice and preference.   Other links you may be interested in:

Honey vs sugar
Carbohydrate and Calories in honey, maple syrup and sugar
The honey and vinegar diet
Substitutes for honey
Honey and diabetes
Is honey good for you?
Maple syrup vs honey

That said I am aware that vegans do not eat honey.  I personally advocate that if you do eat honey, please think of bee welfare – see these honey buying tips.


“We consider it as self evident that if the bees store honey for their own use, then honey is what they want and need. 
Sugar syrup is, at best, a poor substitute.  Therefore, we strive to leave enough honey in the hive for the bees’ winter feed”.

- Phil Chandler, "The Barefoot Beekeeper"

Honey Buying Tips

Did You Know?

Honey will keep indefinitely in a jar.

Read more facts about honey.

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Beauty Benefits Of Honey

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Compare Calories And Carbs in
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Did You Know?

Honey is food stored by honey bees to see them through the winter?

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Why Bees Make Honey?

Is Honey Good For You?

Honey And Diabetes