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Does Maple Syrup Have Sugar?

Updated: May 1

tablespoon of maple syrup
Does Maple Syrup Have Sugar?

The short answer is yes, maple syrup contains sugar.

One tablespoon of maple syrup contains 11 grams of sugar which is comparable to table sugar which contains 12.5 grams of sugar.

So….what is the difference between maple syrup and regular white sugar? The thing you have to remember is that sugar is sugar and all carbohydrates (including maple syrup) converts to sugar in the body (once it is consumed and broken down by the body).

The difference is how quickly carbohydrates convert to sugar once consumed by the body.  

That is the question.

By nature, sugar will convert to glycogen in the body very quickly. Once consumed, glucose (sugar) will be broken down by the body and used as energy rather quickly, hence the term…sugar rush. Ever see a child eat a bunch of candy and go absolutely crazy for a half hour or so? 

Or have you ever wondered why athletes consume fruits or sports drinks during a sporting event or competition? This is why.

The body will convert basic sugars that are contained in candy, fruits and sports drinks into glycogen (energy) almost as fast as they are consumed. This provides the body with

instant energy.

However, this is a double edged sword.

Consistent and excessive consumption of sugar will cause your body to metabolize any leftover sugar that it can’t use (as fuel or stored), or eliminate as waste into body fat. The body will do this rather quickly so keep this in mind!

In addition, consistent and excessive consumption of sugars (over time) can lead to insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes.

The thing you have to remember about maple syrup is that one tablespoon contains 13.42 total carbohydrates of which, 11 grams is sugar. This means that most of its nutritional make up is sugar. Regular process white sugar has 12.6 grams of carbohydrates of which,

12.5 grams is sugar.

Not much difference between maple syrup and regular sugar in terms of their respective sugar levels.

However, there are a few differences between the two, which makes maple syrup a much healthier choice as a sweetener.

Is Pure Maple Syrup Healthy?

First, due to its organic and unprocessed nature, maple syrup won’t be broken down in the body as quickly as sugar. This is a good thing because maple syrup won’t cause as much of a blood sugar spike as regular sugar does. Please remember, maple syrup will still cause a sharp increase in blood sugars if large amounts are consumed (IE: anymore than 3 tablespoons which equals 36 plus grams of sugar).

Secondly, maple syrup is not as processed as white sugar so it retains a lot of its nutritional values. Remember, foods that are closest to their natural state will ALWAYS be a healthier choice. By design, our bodies are made to digest whole foods (and not processed foods such as white sugar).

Maple syrup contains plenty of anti-oxidants, calcium (for bone health), vitamins (such as riboflavin which helps with energy production), electrolytes (potassium) and minerals (such as magnesium and manganese). It is interesting to note that manganese helps regulate blood sugar, helps with bone health, helps to reduce inflammation and helps lower cholesterol.

maple syrup in a bowl
Is Maple Syrup Healthy?

Potassium helps ensure your muscles are contracting the way they should and minimizing muscle cramps.  

On the other hand, white sugar contains ZERO nutritional advantages, nothing…nada.

Personally, I enjoy adding a teaspoon of pure maple syrup to my teas or coffees. It gives it a nice warm, maple taste plus I get a slight health benefit (everything helps, right?) with each cup.  

How Much Maple Syrup Is Safe To Consume?

Here is the nutritional value of 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

maple syrup nutrition label
Nutrition of One Tablespoon of Maple Syrup

For men, the daily recommended intake of sugar is up to 35 grams and for women, up to 25 grams. This includes all of your daily sugars from fruits, vegetables, drinks and foods.

One tablespoon of maple syrup contains close to 12 grams of sugar which is 30% of your recommended daily intake of sugar. Two tablespoons and you are up to 60% of your recommended daily intake of sugar.

Although maple syrup is a healthier choice than processed white sugar, it is STILL sugar. Any more than 4 tablespoons of maple syrup during the day will put you over and above the recommended daily intake of sugar.

sugar and maple syrup
Regular Sugar or Maple Syrup? Which is Better?

Depending on how much fruits you consume during the day (which can be high in sugars), 1 to 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (daily) is a safe bet. I wouldn’t use any more than two tablespoons of maple syrup in one sitting.

Conclusion: Does Maple Syrup Have Sugar And Is It Healthy For You?

Yes, maple sugar does have sugar. In fact, it is mostly sugar. However, due to its unprocessed nature, maple syrup retains most of its nutritional values from sap to syrup.

It contains vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and electrolytes which contribute to better overall health. Maple syrup is a much better choice than white, processed sugar which has next to no nutritional values (due to its processed nature).

As you can see from the table below, although maple syrup has just about as much sugar as regular white process sugar, it retains more electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals (trace elements).

sugar and maple syrup nutrition label
Maple Syrup and Regular Sugar Nutrition Comparison

Remember, sugar is sugar and once consumed it will convert rather quickly into glycogen (energy). Regardless of your choice of sweetener, keep your intake to one tablespoon (two tablespoons at a maximum) daily.

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