Maple syrup is a popular natural sweetener that is claimed to be healthier and more nutritious than sugar.
体育投注网址However, it’s important to look at the science behind some of these assertions.
This article explains whether maple syrup is healthy or unhealthy.
体育投注网址The darker syrups are made from sap extracted later in the harvest season. These have a stronger maple flavor and are usually used for baking, whereas the lighter ones are drizzled directly atop foods like pancakes.
When buying maple syrup, make sure to read food labels carefully. This way, you’ll get real maple syrup — not just maple-flavored syrup, which can be loaded with refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.
Summary There are several different grades of maple syrup based on color. Grade B is darkest and boasts the strongest maple flavor.
What sets maple syrup apart from refined sugar is its minerals and antioxidants.
Around 1/3 cup (80 ml) of pure maple syrup contains ():
- Calcium: 7% of the RDI
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
- Iron: 7% of the RDI
- Zinc: 28% of the RDI
- Manganese: 165% of the RDI
Though maple syrup provides a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, keep in mind that it also packs plenty of sugar.
体育投注网址Maple syrup is about 2/3 sucrose, or table sugar — 1/3 cup (80 ml) supplies around 60 grams of sugar.
Consumed in excess, sugar may be a leading cause of some of the world's biggest health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease (,
The fact that maple syrup contains some minerals is a very poor reason to eat it, given its high sugar content. Most people already eat copious amounts of sugar.
体育投注网址The best way to get these minerals is to eat whole foods. If you eat a balanced diet, then your chance of lacking any of these nutrients is very low.
体育投注网址In addition, the high sugar content may affect your blood sugar levels — though maple syrup may be a better option than regular sugar in that regard.
The glycemic index of maple syrup is around 54. In comparison, table sugar has a glycemic index of around 65 ().
This implies that maple syrup raises blood sugar slower than regular sugar.
Summary Maple syrup contains a small amount of minerals, such as manganese and zinc. However, it is very high in sugar.
Oxidative damage, which is caused by free radicals, is believed to be among the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases.
Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative damage, potentially lowering your risk of some diseases.
Studies indicate that maple syrup is a decent source of antioxidants. One study found 24 different antioxidants in maple syrup ().
Darker syrups like Grade B supply more of these beneficial antioxidants than lighter ones (
体育投注网址However, the total antioxidant content is still low compared to the large amounts of sugar.
One study estimated that replacing all the refined sugar in the average diet with alternative sweeteners like maple syrup would increase your total antioxidant intake as much as eating a single serving of nuts or berries ().
If you need to lose weight体育投注网址 or improve your metabolic health, you would be better off skipping sweeteners altogether instead of going for maple syrup.
Summary Though there are a number of antioxidants in maple syrup, they don’t offset its high dose of sugar.
Numerous potentially beneficial substances have been observed in maple syrup.
体育投注网址Some of these compounds are not present in the maple tree, forming instead when the sap is boiled to form syrup.
One of these is quebecol, named after the maple-producing province of Quebec.
The active compounds in maple syrup have been shown to help reduce the growth of cancer cells and may slow down the breakdown of carbohydrates体育投注网址 in your digestive tract (, , , , ).
However, human studies to confirm these health effects found in test-tube studies are lacking.
体育投注网址Moreover, keep in mind that most maple syrup studies — which are often accompanied by misleading headlines — are sponsored by maple syrup producers.
Summary Maple syrup boasts other compounds that may benefit health — but most studies are misleading and sponsored by the maple syrup industry.
体育投注网址Even though maple syrup does contain some nutrients and antioxidants, it is also very high in sugar.
Calorie for calorie, maple syrup is a very poor source of nutrients compared to whole foods like vegetables, fruits and unprocessed animal foods.
Replacing refined sugar with pure, quality maple syrup is likely to yield a net health benefit, but adding it to your diet will just make things worse.
Maple syrup is a less bad version of sugar, much like coconut sugar. It cannot objectively be labeled healthy.
If you consume it, it’s best to do so in moderation — as with all sweeteners.