28 Sep Honey and Maple Syrup Verses Granulated Sugar
In the effort to eat healthier and still enjoy sweets, many recipes now call for maple syrup or honey as a replacement for granulated sugar. Although you may think these natural forms of sugar are healthier and more beneficial, there is more to this story.
Natural Sugars: Honey and Maple Syrup
Both maple syrup and honey contain high amounts of fructose, a single sugar that is sweeter than other sugars like table sugar (sucrose). Studies have shown that have shown that increased fructose intake (verses glucose), could potentially cause weight gain and increased body fat, such as this study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, more human research is needed.
Also, just because they are natural forms of sugar, doesn’t mean they are less caloric or calorie free. On average, according to the USDA’s Nutrient Database, honey contains 64 calories per tablespoon, and maple syrup contains 52 calories per tablespoon where as sucrose (aka granulated sugar) contains 48 calories per tablespoon. The real benefit of using maple syrup or honey to sweeten food is that you can use less since they’re sweeter. Further, both natural sweeteners do have some nutritional value, containing trace amounts of various vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals to help fight and prevent disease).
3 Healthful Ways to Use Honey and Maple Syrup
- Stir a small amount of honey into hot or cold tea.
- Drizzle small amount (1/2 teaspoon) of honey or maple syrup over oatmeal or yogurt for some added sweetness.
- Add 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey to sweeten a smoothie.
Bottom Line: When adding sugar, in any form, to your drinks, desserts, dressings, or whatever it may be, using small amounts of maple syrup or honey is not harmful. It is best to use these forms of sugar in small amounts, just like you would table sugar.