"We are born to be fit, strong, and healthy." Robb Wolf

April 03, 2011

Maple Syrup

There may be a few things that are more Canadian than maple syrup, but it ranks pretty high. Maple syrup is that golden, sweet nectar from the maple tree. Before the winter months, the trees store starch in their stems. When spring arrives, the starch is converted to sugar, mainly sucrose. Trees are tapped and the sap collected is then heated to evaporate the water. The result is the golden brown, sweet-tasting, sticky fluid we know as maple syrup. Did you know that Quebec produces most of the world's supply of syrup?

If you are looking at calories, maple syrup is very similar to table sugar. But there are significant differences in nutrient content. Sugar has none. Maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese and zinc. It also contains potassium and calcium. If you compare maple syrup to honey, it contains more calcium and 1/10th as much sodium.

A recent study done at the University of Rhode Island have found that maple syrup contains polyphenols (chemical substances found in plants) that can help combat cancer and diabetes. Although no clinical trials have been performed in diabetic patients. The thought here is that "maple syrup could help control the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar, ...". You can check out the article here from the Montreal Gazette.

I was also doing a little more reading and came across some article from Esquire Magazine. The author is trying to convince people that stuff like Aunt Jemima's and Mrs. Butterworth's syrup (aka table syrup) is far superior in quality than real/pure maple syrup. He says stuff like, "... it's not as good as Aunt Jemima..." and "... syrup shouldn't run; it should ooze.". OK then. Let's compare ingredients Ross...

Maple Syrup
  • maple syrup
Mrs. Butterworth's
  • high fructose corn syrup (I know this link is for agave but the info on fructose is what I'm aiming at)
  • corn syrup
  • water
  • salt
  • cellulose gum
  • molasses
  • potassium sorbate
  • sodium hexametaphosphate
  • citric acid
  • caramel colour
  • natural and artificial flavours
Doesn't require refrigeration??? What? Does this mean I can still eat it 10 years down the road too? Let me think this through. Sugar is a great breeding ground for bacteria, mould, and yeast. These things also thrive in warmer temperatures. Hmmm... So if these bacteria, moulds, and yeasts don't want to live in something that would favour them, why the hell would I want to put that crap in my body?