The Sugar Wars: Maple Syrup vs. Cane Sugar
Everyone loves it, no one needs it, and it can be found in almost everything in your local grocery store. Bread, Low-Fat Yogurt, Soy Milk, BBQ Sauce, Tomato Sauce, Chocolate Milk, Smoothies, Muffins, and the list goes on.
Needless to say, sugar has successfully infiltrated almost every part of our diet. Heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are all leading health concerns in America and can be traced back to sugar intake and prevented with healthier choices & lifestyles.
What most people don't know is that there is a sweetener alternative that beats out all the others. Over the next few weeks, we will be digging into the what and why of real maple vs. cane sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, honey, and agave - and calling it "The Sugar Wars."
Our overall goal with this series is to arm you with the facts of why real maple syrup provides the best health benefits and taste to beat out the rest. Read more about how Real Maple is a superfood here.
Maple syrup has caramel notes along with the woodsy maple flavor that you might expect from a maple syrup product. Maple syrup can have a complex flavor with notes of vanilla, cinnamon and even hazelnut.
Cane sugar tastes highly refined and incredibly sweet.
The glycemic index defines foods by how quickly it causes your blood sugar to rise. Sugars naturally rank higher on the glycemic index, however, maple syrup is clearly the better option as it has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar.
Real Maple Syrup has a glycemic index of 54. Maple syrup is defined as having a "medium" index.
Cane Sugar has a glycemic index of 68. Cane sugar is defined as having a "high" index.
Real Maple Syrup is full of antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-bacterial. An article published by Livestrong.com that describes Real Maple nutrition even explains that "Researchers have also recently discovered that maple syrup is a source of phenolics, a class of antioxidants that are found in berries."
Cane Sugar is left without any antioxidants because of the highly refined process it takes to achieve the product.
Real Maple Syrup is chock-full of minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. These minerals do great work for your body including things like cell formation, maintaining healthy red blood cells, and immune support. Maple Syrup also has a number of vitamins including niacin, B5, B2, folic acid, B6, biotin and vitamin A which insist on things like energy metabolism and vision.
Cane Sugar is left without any vitamins or minerals because of the highly refined process it takes to achieve the product.
Real Maple Syrup is fairly unprocessed. The process flow is rather simple - take sap from the tree and boil sap into a concentrated syrup.
Cane sugar is highly refined. Sugar is made from either sugar cane or sugar beets which are mixed with hot water, boiled and mashed to release the juices. The juices are then filtered AND whitened. Then, once the water boiled out of the juice you are left with white cane sugar.
How can you replace Cane Sugar with Real Maple Syrup in your everyday recipes? It's rather simple! Use 2/3 cup of maple syrup for every cup of cane sugar. Then, decrease all other liquid in your recipe by about 1/4 cup. Expect the color of the recipe to darken a bit as the natural woodsy tone of real maple differs from the original white of cane sugar.
Winner: Real Maple Syrup
Real maple has proven itself in this head-to-head as the clear winner in not only flavor profile, but also health benefits and the refinement process.
Disclaimer: We are not encouraging you, the consumer, to put more sugar in your diet. Instead, we are suggesting that when you do choose sugar, choose real maple, the best alternative.
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