Which is Healthier for you: Honey or Maple Syrup?

Make the Best Choice Between Honey and Maple Syrup

Reducing your intake of processed sugar is a definite health benefit. However, this does not mean restricting your meals to only savory dishes. Honey and maple syrup are natural substitutes for sugar that can provide the sweetness you enjoy without compromising your health.

Although honey and maple sugar have similar characteristics and are sometimes mistaken for being the same, they have some differences you should know and consider before using them.

Nutritional Comparison

According to the USDA, one tablespoon of maple syrup is 20 grams, whereas a tablespoon of honey is 21 grams. The serving size of honey on food labels in the U.S. is one tablespoon. However, the serving size of maple syrup is a bit more at 1/4 cup.

Below we’ve compared the two using a serving size of one tablespoon for each.

Honey has 64 calories per tablespoon. It has zero grams of fat and 17.3 grams of carbohydrates. The exact amount of maple syrup contains 52 calories. Maple syrup also has less than one gram of fat and 13.4 grams of carbs.

At first glance, these differences appear to be insignificant. Yet, they can have a substantial impact on food preparation.

For example, honey has just eight more calories than maple syrup per tablespoon. In cooking measurements, one cup is equal to 16 tablespoons. Therefore, if your recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sweetener, you add 96 more calories with honey than maple syrup. The carbohydrate count between the two is similarly disparate when used in larger quantities. Some dietitians state that the difference is close to adding a whole teaspoon of sugar.

Sweetener Similarities

Honey and maple syrup also have several things in common.

For example, natural sugars supply all of their calories, and they both have minimal amounts of protein and fat. Also, both sweeteners contain antioxidants and micronutrients reported to reduce stress and prevent some chronic diseases. Overall, they are each healthier alternatives to sweeteners when used properly.

Honey and Health Treatment

Honey contains antioxidants that can remove free radicals from the cells. Honey is also a common substitute for over-the-counter cold medicines for relieving cough and sleeplessness.

Additionally, research has shown that honey is a preferred treatment for children with minor respiratory illnesses. It does not contain the chemicals and additives found in most pharmaceutical medications. Adults also benefit from using honey as a natural treatment for cold and allergy symptoms.

Maple Syrup Health Benefits

Maple syrup contains riboflavin and manganese, both beneficial for your overall health.

Manganese is a trace mineral that aids in efficient blood clotting, immune response, and tissue formation, while riboflavin uses our food to create usable energy. Riboflavin may also assist in preventing cancer, migraines, and other health issues.

Another benefit of maple syrup is that it has a lower glycemic index. This means it is a better choice for people with blood sugar issues such as diabetes.

Unlike maple syrup, the natural sweetener in honey is fructose, which people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have difficulty digesting. However, maple syrup could be a natural sweetener option they can tolerate more easily.

Other Considerations

Other issues can influence whether to choose honey or maple syrup.

For example, vegans choose maple syrup over honey since it is a by-product of bees. Also, honey contains a small amount of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, known to cause botulism in babies. Parents with children under one year of age may choose to opt for maple syrup over honey for this reason.

Additionally, some people buy locally to support suppliers in their region, and honey can be sourced practically anywhere. On the other hand, some may choose maple syrup for the same reasoning – because they live in an area where it is sourced.

Taste Comparisons

All other things considered, the decision to use honey or maple syrup may come down to the taste.

The sweetness of honey has floral notes, and the texture is thicker than maple syrup. In contrast, maple syrup has a sweetness that has an earthy flavor. The decision of which sweetener to use depends on your taste preferences and what dish you are preparing.

Although they can both be used in place of sugar, they are sweeter than sugar. It is recommended that you add just 3/4 of these sweeteners than you would of sugar. Also, because they are both liquids, your recipe should be adjusted accordingly.

The Choice Is Yours

The choice between honey and maple syrup is essentially up to you—experiment with adding them in place of some of your favorite recipes that call for sugar. There are countless ways to sweeten an assortment of dishes naturally. You can’t go wrong with either of these natural sweeteners.

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