Is maple syrup a better option than other sweeteners for controlling blood sugar levels?
New studies by Dr. Marette (Laval University and INAF, Canada), Dr. Abe (University of Tokyo, Japan) and their teams are showing that maple syrup is a sweetener with unique properties. Laboratory research thus far has demonstrated that maple has a significant and positive effect on controlling blood sugar levels and insulin resistance compared with white sugar.
In addition, Dr. Seeram (University of Rhodes Island, United States) and his team recently reported the discovery of nine additional polyphenols in maple syrup, with antioxidant properties comparable to those of red wine, tea and berries, which now brings the total of phytonutrients in this all-natural product to 63.
Collectively, the different compounds found in maple syrup could explain all the benefits observed to date. The next and long-awaited phase of the program will involve conducting studies on human subjects to try and confirm these observations.
Advantages of consuming 100% pure maple syrup compared to other sweetening agents
Maple syrup contains a significant amount of phytohormones of the abscisic acid (ABA) family, a molecule that may help against the onset of insulin resistance. Furthermore, a recent analysis has also shown that the amount of polyphenols found in maple syrup is approximately five times greater than quantities found in honey, brown rice syrup and corn syrup, and 400 times greater than in agave syrup. Several studies have posited that consuming polyphenols regularly could have a positive impact on metabolic health, among other benefits.
Maple and diabetes
In contrast with other sugars that are not recommended for diabetics, maple water and syrup contain a phytohormone, abscisic acid, which may play a therapeutic role in managing diabetes and metabolic functions. This phytohormone stimulates the release of insulin by pancreatic cells, increases the sensitivity of fat cells and encourages the absorption of sugars by the muscles. According to studies currently underway, it may therefore help the body metabolize the sugar in maple.
Another study, this one at the University of Tokyo, suggests that maple syrup may promote a healthy liver. It seems that maple inhibits certain genes linked to the production of ammonia, which is harmful to the liver. These discoveries, while preliminary, are one more reason to prefer maple when choosing a sweetener.
Have you heard of Quebecol?
Discovered during a study conducted at the University of Rhode Island in the United States, Quebecol is a polyphenol unique to maple, named—you guessed it—in honour of Quebec. This polyphenol forms when maple water is boiled to make syrup. Further research will tell us whether it too can promote good health in its own unique way.