Agave Nectar

Photo: Cynthia E. Wood/Getty Images

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Agave Nectar
The scoop: Made from the agave plant (which also gives us tequila), this syrup with notes of caramel has slightly more calories than table sugar but is about 25 percent sweeter, so you can get away with less of it. Plus: Agave nectar does good things for your gut. It contains a type of dietary fiber, known as a prebiotic, that nourishes intestinal bacteria.

How to enjoy it: Drizzle over yogurt with active cultures to give those friendly flora an extra boost. The syrup also goes well with drinks (from coffee to cocktails) because it dissolves easily in liquids. When cooking, remember that 3/4 cup adds the same sweetness as 1 cup sugar.*

* When baking with agave, honey, or molasses, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees to avoid overbrowning.
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