In a world of so many eat this, not that articles and research reports, it's all too easy to question which foods are actually good for you and which just receive the hype of come and go food fads. We're told not to eat certain things when we discover new, healthier alternatives, but was the original product that bad to begin with?

With agave maintaining its newfound popularity over honey, we are led to one question: which is actually better for you? To answer this question, here are the deets on honey vs. agave.

How They're Produced

Amy Miller

Agave nectar, which is actually just a syrup, is the processed fluid of the blue agave plant. Honey, on the other hand is made by harvesting the nectar of plants pollenated by bees. Unlike agave, honey does not have to be processed before consumption, making it a more natural product.

Calorie Content

The difference between the calories in a tablespoon of honey vs. agave is hardly noticeable. Honey contains just four more calories per tablespoon than agave, so technically agave wins this round, but not by too much.

Sugar Content

dairy product, flour, cereal
Andrea Leelike

This is where things get sticky. While both syrups are sickly sweet if consumed alone, honey has nearly twice as much sugar as agave does. In a two tablespoon serving, honey contains 34.5 grams of sugar, which is already more than your recommended daily value of around 30 grams. Agave comes in at just 18.6 grams, making it the better choice by a pretty sizable margin.


In terms of cooking, baking, and household use, the sweeteners can be used interchangeably with no major flavor or texture differences. Unless you're dead set on trying these honey beauty hacks or sampling tequilas (agave is the main ingredient), whether you opt for honey vs agave won't make a major difference.

The Verdict

If you're strictly concerned about the sugar and calorie content, then agave is the sweetener for you. Calorically, the two barely differ, but sugar content is where agave edges out its bee-made counterpart. While you definitely shouldn't banish honey and it's array of uses and health benefits, agave is the more nutritious option.