What’s So Great About Maple Syrup?

What’s So Great About Maple Syrup?

I know right?!? I was going to wrap up our hippy sing-a-long with thyme this week (see What’s So Great About parsley, sage and rosemary) but I couldn’t resist getting in on the maple love fest (why it’s as Canadian as hockey and snow falling on April 1st….aaargh!)

Then I thought what is there to say about maple syrup other than its sweet and delicious and pancakes are a mere vehicle for its delivery (sorry Laura)? As usual, when I dug a little deeper, I found actual health benefits. Maple syrup shots for everyone!


Did you hear there was a maple syrup heist in Quebec last year? That sounds like a Canadian joke right? I imagine a quaint, picturesque, sleepy little snow covered hamlet where all the children gather to skate on the town pond and sip cocoa and what, some local (adorable) hooligan nabbed a jug of the golden syrup and it was big news? Ummm, no. Billed as “one of the biggest agricultural heists in history.” 6 million pounds of maple syrup worth $18 million dollars was stolen from, I kid you not, the “Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve, housed in a huge red brick warehouse on the side of the Trans-Canadian Highway in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, about two hours northeast of Montreal.” The Reserve is run by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which “since 2002 has operated as a legal cartel, setting… quotas and prices, authorizing buyers and stockpiling syrup.” (Bloomberg) Who knew Canadians were so bad-ass?

So, we know its big money. And we know it’s delicious. And now, we learn it actually has health properties.  Make no mistake, maple syrup is sugar and therefore carries with it all the precautions that any sweetener has. It’s calorie-dense, it raises your blood sugar and if you eat too much of it, you’ll feel gross and likely put on weight. That being said, compared to other sweeteners, maple syrup has a lot going for it. It has 15 times more calcium than honey and much less sodium. It’s high in manganese and zinc which is necessary for allowing antioxidants to do their job of protecting the body from everything from colds to cancer. And antioxidants may be the real story of maple syrup’s health benefits. “Researchers from the University of Rhode Island have found more than 20 compounds in maple syrup that are associated with human health. Many of these antioxidant compounds are also believed to have anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and antibacterial properties.” (Source) Now, until they get to the bottom of the heist, you may have to buy your maple syrup from a shady character in a dark alley but you do what you have to do for you health.


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