While both maple syrup and honey are thought to be similar because they’re natural sweeteners, they actually vary greatly in their nutritional makeup. We thought you might like to know all about them!
Maple Syrup vs. Honey Nutrition
Pure maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees, while honey is produced by honey bees that collect nectar from flowers. Even though both are sticky, sweet substances that have a similar texture and viscosity, they are nutritionally different from each other.
Honey contains more calories than maple syrup. One tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories while one tablespoon of maple syrup contains 52 calories. While this isn’t huge when comparing tablespoons, the difference adds up when you’re using greater amounts, such as in baked goods.
The two also vary in the number of sugars they contain. Pure maple syrup contains 13.5 grams of carbohydrates. 12.4 of those grams are mostly sucrose, a complex sugar. Honey, on the other hand, contains 17.4 grams of carbohydrates with 17.3 of them made of fructose. Maple syrup, a more complex sugar than honey, also has a lower glycemic index, 54 compared to 58 in honey.
One nutritional advantage that honey has over maple syrup is that honey has no fat. That said, maple syrup’s fat is very minimal, just 0.1 gram of fat per tablespoon. Another advantage of honey over maple syrup is that honey offers more vitamins — B-6 and C — while maple syrup lacks this vitamin profile.
But what maple syrup lacks in vitamins, it makes up for in minerals. Maple syrup offers more iron, calcium, zinc, and potassium than honey does.
Maple Syrup Q&A
There’s a little more to your favorite pancake companion than you might realize. Let’s take a look at some common questions about maple syrup.
Is maple syrup vegan?
Yes, maple syrup is vegan since it’s derived from trees, not animals.
Is maple syrup paleo?
Yes and no. Some would say that any and all forms of sugar are a Paleo diet no-no, but others would disagree since the syrup is a natural food that comes from trees. Our advice for Paleo eaters? Use it in moderation.
Does maple syrup need to be refrigerated?
Only after opening. Unopened maple syrup stored in a cool dark place can last for a prolonged period, but opened maple syrup should be kept in your fridge to avoid mold. We store all our pure maple syrup in large 40 gallon stainless steel barrels that are kept in a cool dark holding area. We then bottle fresh batches of syrup 5 days a week throughout the year to ensure a consistent availability, freshness and long shelf life.
How long does maple syrup last?
Unopened maple syrup can last for years if stored in the proper container. New York State requires us to give all our maple products a 1 year shelf life. An opened bottle of maple syrup will last for about a year in the fridge (unless Jake comes over for breakfast!).
Let’s get to the bottom of your most pressing honey questions.
Is honey vegan?
This is a very controversial topic, but many vegans don’t consider honey to be vegan-friendly since it’s produced by bees (in other words, it’s an animal-derived food).
Is honey Paleo?
As a naturally produced food, honey, particularly raw honey, is widely accepted as a Paleo food. However, like maple syrup, it has a high sugar content and should be consumed in moderation.
Does honey go bad?
Perhaps our favorite thing about honey is that it basically lasts forever. That’s right, honey is actually the only food that doesn’t spoil. It does, however, crystalize over time, which can be remedied by placing a glass jar in a pot of heated water or in a sink of hot water if in a plastic container. However, to keep honey from crystallizing early, store it at room temperature (honey will crystalize if kept in a place that’s below 50 degrees Fahrenheit).
Which Is Healthier – Honey or Maple Syrup?
Honey and maple syrup both offer their own advantages and disadvantages. In the case of fat content, both are similar, even if honey has a slight advantage. The same goes for their calorie count.
Both offer benefits in the form of either vitamins or minerals, and both offer protective antioxidant activity. Putting taste aside, as the two have different flavors — honey is more floral while maple syrup is more woodsy — maple syrup tends to be the slightly healthier choice, but we enjoy both throughout the year. Rae, Jake and Ryan all have bee hives at their homesteads and farms.
Which natural sweetener you choose often depends on what you’re creating in the kitchen. For instance, French toast or pancakes are classically adorned with maple syrup since the flavors pair well together, while honey is often used in tea.
Before incorporating any sweetener, whether it’s a natural one like maple syrup or honey, or an alternative sweetener, discuss your diet and any health conditions with your doctor first to decide which option is going to be best for you.