Maple Syrup-A Sweet Surprise


Maple Syrup Contains Numerous Compounds With Real Health Benefits

| May 24, 2011

Meet the latest superfood: maple syrup.  Wait a minute...maple syrup? The super-sugary stuff poured on pancakes and waffles and used to glaze hams? That maple syrup?

That's right. Researchers from the University of Rhode Island have discovered that the syrup-produced in the northeastern United States and Canada--contains numerous compounds with real health benefits.

"In our laboratory research, we found that several of these compounds possess anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to fight cancer, diabetes, and bacterial illnesses," said Navindra Seeram, an assistant professor of pharmacognosy (the study of medicines derived from natural sources) at the university and the study's lead author.

Substances called polyphenols contained in the syrup might help control blood sugar levels, Seeram said. But that's not all. More than 50 beneficial compounds were found in maple syrup by researchers. Five of those compounds hadn't even been seen in nature before.

And yes, Seeram realizes how strange it seems that maple syrup-maple syrup, mind you-could have beneficial effects for people with diabetes. "Not all sweeteners are created equal," he said.

The researchers talked about their appetizing work in April at the American Chemical Society's regular meeting in Anaheim, California. A paper describing their results will appear in the Journal of Functional Foods. Scientists hope that these discoveries could lead to innovative treatments as the beneficial substances are synthesized to create new kinds of medicine.

You might want to pause for a moment before rushing out and buying jug after jug of Canada's finest maple syrup, though. It still contains plenty of sugar, and Seeram discourages gorging on the stuff for possible health benefits. Similar compounds have been found in blueberries and green tea, among other foods.

The results must have pleased the research's sponsors. Funds for the scientific work came from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.


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Categories: Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Diets, Eating, Food, Health, Medications Research, Nutrition Research, Research, Sugar & Sweeteners

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Posted by bsc on 24 May 2011

One must always be careful about these sorts of spin articles. This work was funded by the Canadian Maple Syrup growers and the actual work would have been better cited in science daily. The compound they found and generously named Quebecol may inhibit carbohydrate metabolism. But its effects are unknown and even if it worked it is not clear that maple syrup is a good source of the substance. And please, if you are diabetic like me, don't for a minute think that this is evidence that eating sugar from maple syrup is actually good for you.

Posted by Feinman on 26 May 2011

What? "Canada's finest maple syrup... contains plenty of sugar." Who'd have guessed. It is, however, unfair to accuse the authors of prejudice because of the sponsor. I am sure the ADA will support maple long as it's "covered with insulin." Alas, there is little room left in the world for parody.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 May 2011

I agree with the above comment! Just because maple syrup has redeeming qualities, it does not mean that diabetics can enjoy eating it, even a small bit, without repercussions such as elevated blood sugar levels!

Posted by chanson3633 on 26 May 2011

This whole article is ridiculous - particularly in a diabetes magazine.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 May 2011

Maple syrup doesn't help me control my blood sugar levels! In fact, it makes my control worse!

Posted by Ellis2ca on 27 May 2011

Baloney. Baloney, and more baloney. The world is full of baloney, and this is baloney.

This is like the baloney that says that CINNAMON is good to control blood glucose... or that COOKIES or CANDIES that contain "no sugar added" are good for diabetics (or non-diabetics...)

Diabetics beware... Whoever has something to SELL is OUT TO GET YOU.

You cannot trust anybody. You cannot believe any doctor, you cannot believe any expert, you cannot believe any guru... You cannot believe ME.


Go ahead, TEST YOUR BLOOD GLUCOSE, then drink/eat ONE teaspoon of MAPLE SYRUP... then TEST YOUR BLOOD GLUCOSE AGAIN 30 minutes later. - Q. E. D.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 May 2011

Another food to be looked at, again to be used in moderation, is pure natural honey from your general area. I use no more than a teaspoon a day and seem to have better bs readings as well as joints don't seem to bother me as much. I think some serious research is neeedd.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 May 2011

I'm afraid I can't put a lot of faith in this though I'd like to. A much broader and unbiased study would be required bbefore I'd buy into it.

Posted by Anonymous on 4 July 2011

Maple Syrup is primarily sucrose, that is, chemically the same as sugar or high fructose corn syrup. This article is astounding.

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