Guest Post: The Hidden Benefits of Maple Syrup
August 29, 2019

Author BioAuthor Bio: Kyle Boland, DC is a chiropractor, rehabilitation specialist and co-founder of Coulee Health and the Clinically Pressed podcast. His philosophy and care are focused on respecting each individual person as a whole. This means getting to the root of what is truly causing symptoms. Kyle also treats athletes from all sports at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He is a Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) Certified Exercise Trainer in addition to multiple other soft tissue certifications. He also studied in Prague during the summer of 2017 obtaining additional hands-on training and practical application of DNS techniques and principles. Upon seeing the need for Functional Medicine services in his patient population and the surrounding community he chose to take action in becoming further educated through the Kresser Institute and is now excited to offer Functional Medicine services to patients both at Coulee Health and remotely.

The Hidden Benefits of Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is nature’s most delicious sweetener and can be used in a multitude of ways. Lately, my personal favorite is drizzling it over my eggs with grass-fed butter for breakfast. It’s quick, easy, and healthy. I’m talking about real maple syrup, not high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors in a bottle. Additionally, in moderation, maple syrup used in place of other sweeteners has been proven to carry some health benefits. 

Pure maple syrup is unique in that it is the largest commercially produced and consumed plant natural product that is obtained entirely from the sap of trees. It is a natural sweetener produced by concentrating the colorless watery sap collected from certain maple species. The natural maple tree sap contains minerals, oligosaccharides, peptides, amino and organic acids, [1] phytohormones, and phenolics, apart from sucrose which is its predominant sugar. In short, it contains a plethora of nutrients and bioactive compounds that may benefit your health. During the intensive heating process required to transform sap to syrup, a complex cocktail of phenolic compounds ultimately ends up in maple syrup. These compounds are both native (originally present in the xylem sap), and also formed through chemical reactions during processing. From a human health perspective, phenolics have attracted significant research attention for their potential role in the prevention and treatment of several chronic human diseases. [2], [3], [4]

Traditional sweeteners such as maple syrup have been safely consumed for generations, and although they contribute to energy intake, these sweeteners tend to have lower glycemic potency than refined sugars [5] and even have the potential for type 2 diabetes management. [6] One study found that maple syrup produces lower glucose and insulin responses than dextrose control. Dextrose is another name for glucose and is a common sweetener derived from corn and commonly used in baking products and processed food. The same study found that brown rice and corn syrup induced higher metabolic responses than maple syrup. Even honey caused higher peak responses for insulin, amylin, and GIP than maple syrup. The authors concluded that both the composition of maple syrup and the metabolic responses to its ingestion indicate that it represents a healthy natural alternative to refined sugar. [7]

There are countless ways it can be used, and recipes can easily be found online. If a recipe doesn’t specifically call for maple syrup it can be used as a replacement to other sweeteners. Keep in mind, using maple syrup will cause baked goods to be darker in color and they may brown more quickly. Regardless of what you are using it for, rest assured that natural maple syrup not only tastes good but also carries health benefits! Next time you are seeking to satisfy that sweet tooth, consider using a small amount of maple syrup in your favorite way for fulfillment.