Is Pure Maple Syrup Healthy?

Is Pure Maple Syrup Healthy?

Sweetening foods can be cheats if you're trying to clean your diet. A natural, pure sugar, like pure maple syrup might seem like the perfect healthy substitute and, in fact, has something to offer in terms of nutrition. Although it is mainly sugar, so you should treat it accordingly if you add it to the meals.

Pure Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is what you get when you repeatedly boil the watery sap of the sweet maple tree. Southeast Canada and New England are the only regions in the world that produce maple syrup, even though sweet maple exists in a wider swath of the United States. Maple syrup must have at least 66 to 67 percent sugar by weight (Cornell says 66 and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension says 67) and must be produced from pure sweet maple sap to receive the name of pure maple syrup.

URI Research

Pure maple syrup underwent nutritional scrutiny in 2010 when a researcher at the University of Rhode Island reported finding several compounds in Canadian syrup that were beneficial to human health. Said university, said Navindra Seeram, an assistant professor, discovered that these compounds included phenolics, which are the same antioxidants that berries contain, often touted for their healthy antioxidant content.

Phenolic compounds

Phenolics are compounds that include substances such as flavonoids. You usually hear about those stories about berries and grapes, and the compounds are supposed to have beneficial effects on health. The University of Rhode Island quotes Seeran as saying that the phenolic compounds in maple syrup could be a form of self-defense built by the tree when it is wounded by its sage. That is not so unusual; Palomar College states that the phenolic compound resveratol, for example, is part of a family of compounds created by plants to protect themselves from insects and fungi.

Considerations

No matter what nutrients you have, keep in mind that maple syrup is also basically liquid sugar. Although eating a lot could certainly be a tasty way to get those phenolic compounds, you would be ingesting a solution that has at least 66 percent sugar. Therefore, although maple syrup may not be completely empty of any nutritional value, it is not really something you can eat in large quantities as a healthy food. Maple syrup is also a carbohydrate, for example, so if you are diabetic or at risk of developing the disease, you have to be very careful about how much maple syrup you eat.

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