Health profile

Health profile

Common names : maple syrup, maple sugar, country sugar, maple taffy, maple butter.

Scientific name: Acer saccharum and other Acer species.

Family : Aceraceae.

The benefits of maple syrup

  • It is good, sweet, natural and has not been processed in any way other than cooking.
  • It can replace refined sugar in any culinary preparation.
  • Maple-glazed squash or carrots make a delicious appetizer.
  • It contains more minerals than most other sweetening products.
  • It contains substances with antimutagenic and antioxidant potential.

Maple syrup is an important production in Quebec. Indeed, the annual production of syrup is approximately five million gallons, which represents 93% of the Canadian production.

Maple syrup is part of the Quebec culinary culture. It is a natural sweetener that contains no additives or coloring and is obtained by concentrating the sap from certain maple varieties. Rich in carbohydrates, this food with a particular taste is an excellent source of energy. It also contains a significant amount of manganese and zinc.

Active ingredients and properties:

It's all about proportion!

It is true that consumed in small quantities, maple syrup provides few nutrients. However, when consumed in larger quantities, maple syrup is a sweet food that is particularly interesting from a nutritional point of view. In concrete terms, 50 ml of maple syrup provides 3% of the recommended nutritional intake of calcium, potassium and iron and 2% of the recommended intake of magnesium. In addition, it provides significant amounts of manganese and zinc. That said, since maple syrup is a high source of sugar, it is better to consume it in moderation...

The study of the nutraceutical potential of maple syrup and the discovery of molecules with health benefits in the sap and syrup are fairly new areas of research. Recent data indicate the presence, in maple sap, of phenolic compounds and flavonoids. Some of these compounds are known for their powerful antioxidant effect. Phenolic compounds are also recognized for their organoleptic properties.

Phenolic compounds: 

The analysis and characterization of phenolic compounds and flavonoids in maple sap and syrup were carried out by a team of researchers from McGill University. The latter detected, in the analyzed extracts, compounds such as catechin, p-coumaric acid as well as flavanol derivatives. The results obtained indicate a slight increase in phenolic compounds during the flow season. Some of the identified compounds have antioxidant properties. This has been confirmed by a recent study published in 2006. In this study, the antimutagenic power of maple products was also evaluated. The results clearly show that, in an in vitro context, phenolic compounds extracted from maple sap and syrup have an antioxidant activity as well as an antimutagenic potential. These effects vary over the course of the flow season. The antioxidant activity of phenolic compounds extracted from maple syrup would be maximal at mid-season and would not be related to the total quantity of compounds found in the extract. Concerning the antimutagenic potential, the results show that this effect depends on the studied molecule. It seems that the antimutagenic activity of certain compounds in maple syrup is superior to that of the same compounds found in the sap. This could be due to the formation of new antimutagenic compounds during the transformation of the sap into syrup. As for the antioxidant activity, the antimutagenic potential would be variable according to the harvest period.

Nutritional quality: 

Maple syrup is composed of 68% carbohydrates, 80% of which are sucrose. The other sugars found in this product are glucose and fructose. Sucrose is a disaccharide that is also found as the main carbohydrate in table sugar. Glucose and fructose are two simple sugars that do not require digestion and are easily assimilated by the digestive system. Fructose has a higher sweetening power than other sugars.

There are a variety of sweetening agents on the market: granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, table syrup and maple syrup. In addition to their specific taste, their nutritional quality is also different. In terms of energy intake, a 15 ml serving of maple syrup contains fewer calories than the same serving of honey or table syrup. Maple syrup is also one of the lowest calorie sweeteners. From a nutritional point of view, granulated sugar contains only sucrose and does not provide any nutrients. Maple syrup, on the other hand, provides several essential minerals (manganese, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium) compared to honey which contains only a small amount of potassium.

Most important nutrients: 

Excellente source Manganese : maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese. Manganese acts as a cofactor for several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also helps prevent free radical damage.

Source Zinc : maple syrup is a source of zinc. Zinc is involved in immune reactions, the manufacture of genetic material, taste perception, wound healing and fetal development. Zinc also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones, as well as with insulin. 

What is a "portion" of maple syrup worth?

Weight/volume Maple Syrup , 15 ml (1 c. à table)
Calories 53 kcal
Protein 0 g
Carbohydrates 13,7 g
Lipids 0 g
Fibers 0 g

Source : Santé Canada. Fichier canadien sur les éléments nutritifs