Agave nectar and agave syrup are the hot new sweeteners of the day. How do they fit into the FODMAPS elimination diet? Are they capable of causing IBS symptoms?
In my opinion, agave nectar and syrup products are sources of FODMAPS carbohydrates. I would not recommend using them during the elimination phase of a FODMAPS elimination diet.
According to the USDA, cooked agave plant has far more fructose than glucose in it. This is a set-up for fructose malabsorption and may cause symptoms for people with IBS. Also, cooked agave is about 10% dietary fiber. The type of fiber in agave is mostly inulin, which is defined a FODMAPS carb in the “fructans” category, and could also cause IBS symptoms.
The USDA nutrient database doesn't include agave nectar or syrup, so we don't have an authoritative source for nutrition information on these items. From what I gather, agave nactar and syrup are not standard products. Depending on how they are processed, the type and amount of sugars they contain can vary a great deal. The information I have seen on agave industry web sites indicates that agave nectars and syrups are high in fructose and osmotically active; these are described as selling points for the product.
I suggest holding off on agave sweetened products until the challenge phase of the diet; you could include during your fructose challenge.