Nowadays, people look for alternatives to artificial sugar and sweeteners. Most people prefer to reduce their level of sugar intake because of the advantages that this diet brings. Some, on the other hand, need this to combat obesity, and because of other concerns due to health. Two of the most common alternatives to sugar are maple syrup and honey. These are natural sweeteners, and can relatively lessen the increase of a person’s blood sugar compared to artificial sugars. However, there are certain advantages that maple syrup has over honey and vice versa. The two are usually mistaken to have great similarities, which is wrong.
Maple Syrup vs. Honey
First, what exactly is maple syrup and where does it come from? Maple trees acquire starch and store these in their roots. The starch is then converted for a long period of time to sugar which produces the sap. This is where maple syrup is made from. So what kind of nutrients can you obtain from this? Surprisingly, maple syrup packs a lot of health benefits. According to the USDA as of January 2019, Maple Syrup contains water, energy, protein, and fiber to name a few. In fact, maple syrup largely differs from the average refined sugar because of its high content of minerals like zinc and manganese.
Honey, on the other hand, is made by bees. Similarly, it has a slightly thick viscous texture as maple syrup. Bees pollinate flowers and collect the nectar from them which are rich in sugar. As the bees continuously consume the nectar, these, in turn, become the honey. Contrary to the nutrients that maple syrup delivers, honey has low minerals and nutrients. However, it has a high content of antioxidants and plant compounds. This is why it is also used as medicine.
Maple and Honey: Nutrition Comparison
Having these two in comparison, however, reveals that they highly differ in the calories you consume when eating one or the other. According to studies, honey has more amount of calories compared to maple syrup. A cup of honey has around a thousand calories, while a cup of maple syrup has about eight hundred. So if you are looking to incorporate sugar in a diet that can help you lose weight, you might want to consider taking a look at the calorie count for maple syrup at your local grocery.
Meanwhile, let us take a look at the comparison between their carbohydrates. These are made up of different sugars such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose. The body is able to break them down in order to keep the energy level. A cup of maple syrup contains around two hundred grams of carbohydrates, but only around 190 grams are sugars. Honey, on the other hand, raises this count as having 278 grams of sugar out of 279 carbohydrates present. This seems to be a large difference when considering your carb intake. Also, honey does not contain any fat while maple syrup has at least 0.1 grams of it.
Vitamins and Minerals
If you take a look at their vitamin content however, honey could be a better source than maple syrup. It contains a good amount of Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. Maple syrup, however, does not contain any of these. It also has twice the amount of pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) compared to maple syrup. Having more B vitamins in your body can help it convert carbohydrates and protein into energy. Also, if you are looking for more fiber content then honey would be a better sugar alternative than maple syrup.
When it comes to mineral content, maple syrup is a good source whereas honey has little to no minerals at all. Maple syrup contains minerals like potassium and zinc that are good antioxidants for the body. It also has naturally a lower glycemic index among sugar alternatives, which makes a good component for controlling sugar high activity in the body. As it has no vitamin content, it is a good source for minerals that you may need to help boost your immune system and bodily processes.
Sweeten with Honey
While both are used for cooking, honey is found to be sweeter than sugar. Which is why when using honey, it should only be used in little amounts. This can also be an advantage to using refined sugar. While you can reduce honey and still have good flavor with the food you are cooking, it also packs a lot of vitamins whereas sugar has none. Maple, however, can sometimes add a taste of maple to your food as it has a strong maple flavor. If you want to use it for a dish that is not intentionally sweet then you can expect it to taste a bit differently. Although, both alternatives are good for sweetening desserts and baked goods.
Which Is Healthier?
Using either maple or honey can make a great difference in your lifestyle as opposed to having refined sugar. They are both naturally sweet and would require you to take fewer amounts to flavor your food. Moreover, any type of sugar should still be consumed in moderation as the responsibility of maintaining your blood sugar mostly depends on you as a consumer. It would also be best to consult a dietitian if you are looking for sugar alternatives that would best suit your health concerns. Some studies say that depending on whether you are diabetic or obese, honey or maple syrup would be debatable in food intake. So before you choose one over the other, make sure to check with a doctor that you trust in developing and maintaining your diet.
Honey and maple are both great substitutes for your average refined sugar. The difference in including them into your diets is the goal that you want to achieve. If you want a diet packed with more fiber and vitamins, try considering having honey as your staple sugar substitute. While if you want more nutrients without the harsh sugar spikes, you can opt to have maple as your choice. Whichever you may choose between them, always take note of their count on calories, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals.