Short answer- YES!! It's truly amazing the benefits that are sneakily hiding within the caramel-y, delicious tree sap. We love this, of course, because we are pure maple syrup junkies and use it in both our Raw Vegan Chocolate Truffles and our Vegan Coconut Macaroons.
Below, check out the debut of our newest team member, Jessica Fischer, University of Rhode Island Diet and Nutrition student extraordinaire, who explores the most intriguing and exciting benefits of maple syrup from studies conducted at URI! We are THRILLED to have her on board to provide such cutting edge research on nutrition and nutritional-based healing!
Maple syrup is a natural sweetener consumed by all ages and ethnicities of people throughout the world. Pure Maple syrup itself is comprised of carbohydrates, organic acids, amino acids, vitamins, and phenolic compounds. What are phenolic compounds you ask? Phenolic compounds are a type of chemical compound under the category phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are a large group of plant derived compounds that are supposed to be responsible for much of the disease protection that a plant based diet (fruits, vegetables, beans, cereals, teas and wines) has proven to offer (1).
Bottom line: phytochemicals are of increasing interest in the nutrition world and have attracted immense attention for their biological effects and potential human health benefits. A University of Rhode Island scientist discovered that 54 beneficial compounds occur in pure, natural, maple syrup. The compounds discovered are known to be anti-inflammatory agents, and inflammation plays a key role in chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancers, and Alzheimer’s. (2)
Another study done showed that pure maple syrup might have liver protective effects (3). One other study showed that it may have the ability to reduce plasma glucose levels compared to a sucrose solution alone. This is good news for diabetes patients trying to control their blood glucose levels (4).
So next time you are at the grocery store what kind of maple syrup should you be looking for? “Grade B Pure maple syrup” is what you should be searching for. Pure maple syrup is referring to no artificial ingredients and simply made from concentrating sap of the sugar maple tree. The differences in color of maple syrup often change depending on the time of season and weather conditions. Grade B will have a much darker color and stronger flavor than Grade A, but some studies show that Grade B has a higher nutritional value compared to A (5).
1. Arts, I.C. and P.C. Hollman, Polyphenols and disease risk in epidemiologic studies. Am J Clin Nutr, 2005. 81(1 Suppl): p. 317S-325S.)
2. González-Sarrías A.; Li L.; Seeram N. P. Effects of maple (Acer) plant part extracts on proliferation, apoptosis and cell cycle arrest of human tumorigenic and non-tumorigenic colon cells. Phytother. Res. 2012, 26, 995–1002.
3. Watanabe Y.; Kamei A.; Shinozaki F.; Ishijima T.; Iida K.; Nakai Y.; Arai S.; Abe K. Ingested maple syrup evokes a possible liver-protecting effect-physiologic and genomic investigations with rats Biosci., Biotechnol., Biochem. 2011,75, 2408–2410
4. Nagai N.; Ito Y.; Taga A. Comparison of the enhancement of plasma glucose levels in type 2 diabetes Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty rats by oral administration of sucrose or maple syrup. J. Oleo Sci. 2013, 62, 737–743.