As a natural ingredient free from artificial colourings and preservatives, pure maple syrup has long been hailed as a healthier alternative to processed sweeteners like sugar.
Years of research have led to a number of fascinating discoveries into the potential benefits of maple syrup, made solely from the sap of maple trees.
While most of the research to date has been conducted on animals, the first human studies are now providing further evidence of maple syrup’s beneficial properties.
A ground-breaking study
Last week, at the annual conference of the Canadian Nutrition Society (CNS) in Québec City, a new study into the impact of replacing refined sugars with pure maple syrup was revealed.
The first study of its kind, the randomised, double-blind, controlled crossover trial lasted eight weeks and was conducted on 42 adults classified as overweight using the Body Mass Index.
Participants either consumed one 30ml serving of maple syrup or flavoured sucrose syrup (as the placebo) per day, corresponding to 5% of the total daily energy intake from added sugars.
The study revealed several findings that represent a major advance for not only the maple syrup industry, but also for people with cardiometabolic risk factors.
Maple syrup’s cardiometabolic health benefits
Substituting 5% of the daily energy provided by added sugars with the equivalent of two tablespoons of maple syrup was found to decrease cardiometabolic risk factors in overweight adults, with the study identifying four potential benefits of replacing processed sugars with maple syrup.
Lower abdominal fat
One of the differences observed in the group that consumed maple syrup was a reduction in abdominal fat, which suggests maple syrup may be more beneficial for weight loss than refined sugars.
Large amounts of abdominal fat have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, so substituting processed sugar for maple syrup may help prevent these conditions.
Reduced systolic blood pressure
The study also found that maple syrup resulted in lower systolic blood pressure, which is a measure of the blood pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
Having a high systolic blood pressure can increase the risk of strokes and heart disease, which suggests maple syrup may be more effective than refined sugars in preventing these conditions.
Improved glycaemic response
In an oral glucose tolerance test, the study found that the group that consumed maple syrup had a superior glycaemic response than the control group.
Glycaemic response refers to the effect that food has on blood glucose levels, with lower blood glucose levels generally associated with better cardiometabolic health.
A reduction in certain bacteria
While replacing refined sugar with maple syrup did not induce major changes in the overall composition of gut microbiota, a reduction of certain bacteria was noted.
These bacteria included pectinophilus and klebsiella, with the latter associated with a poor cardiometabolic profile.
Learn more about the health benefits of maple syrup below.
The natural alternative to refined sugars
More than just a delicious sweetener, pure maple syrup is an entirely nature ingredient containing over 100 compounds, vitamins, minerals and amino acids as well as 67 polyphenols.
Many of the substances naturally present in maple syrup feature antioxidants that help regulate the body, making the sweetener a healthier option to processed alternatives like sugar.
Looking for ways to substitute sugar with maple syrup in your diet? Make sure to check out our huge range of recipes with maple syrup!
A natural source of energy
Maple syrup is a natural source of energy. Check out our recipes for food and drinks before, during, and after exercise.