Do you find yourself grabbing for maple syrup or honey more often? This week's Sugar Wars focuses on these two sweeteners! Some would say their usage and consistency are similar. However, they are vastly different when it comes to their nutritional composition.
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.
Honey has different varieties depending on its nectar source, just like there are different grades of maple syrup depending on the type of tree and its location, however most often you can expect a light, pure, clean, and almost floral honey flavor.
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.
Honey has a glycemic index of 58 and is defined as having a "medium" index.
According to Livestrong.com, 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."
Honey also has many antioxidants including phenols which have been linked to preventing blood clots and increasing blood flow.
Real Maple Syrup has significantly more calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese than honey. These minerals do great work for your body including things like cell formation, maintaining healthy red blood cells, and immune support.
Both honey and maple syrup contain equal amounts of phosphorus and selenium, while according to this Livestrong.com article, "maple syrup is lower in sodium, making it suitable for low-sodium diets. The syrup also has 15 times more calcium than honey."
The chart below shows syrup winning in a head to head on mineral activity.
Honey does contain more vitamins than Real Maple Syrup. Honey is a great source of Vitamin C and also contains Vitamin B6, niacin and folate, and Vitamin B5 which helps convert food carbohydrates in glucose.
Maple Syrup also contains Vitamin B5. However, Maple Syrup contains twenty times more riboflavin, also known as Vitamin B2, which is also important for energy production. Maple Syrup also contains thiamin or Vitamin B1. 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.
Additional Nutritional Facts
Honey does contain amino acids while Maple Syrup does not.
In a head to head on sugar & calorie content, 1 teaspoon of honey contains 17.3 grams of sugar and 21 calories while 1 teaspoon of maple syrup contains 13.5 grams of sugar and 17 calories.
Real Maple Syrup is a straight-from-nature product that has a rather simple process flow. The sap is taken from a tapped maple tree and then boiled into a concentrated syrup. That's it!
Honey is made by bees as pollen as a food source. The nectar is stored and broken down into simple sugars inside the honeycomb. The constant fanning of the bee's wings causes evaporation and the simple sugar to become honey.
When replacing Honey with Real Maple Syrup in any recipe, remember that Syrup is thinner than Honey. Otherwise, the replacement can be a 1:1 ratio.
Winner: Real Maple Syrup
While the refinement process and flavor profile are both very similar, Maple Syrup's health benefits, with it's lower caloric intake, lower sugar content, and stable energy levels, end up winning this head to head.
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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