It’s Friday, so its time for another food fight! Every Friday we look at an ingredient, a decision or a process within the real foods sphere. It might be as simple as why you should choose sea salt over iodized salt. It might be more complex, such as what soaking is, how to soak and why you’d want to do it. Grass-fed vs grain-fed. Pastured vs cage-free eggs. What if I can’t afford the best, what’s the next best alternative? All of those decisions that are out in the real food world that are enough to make your head swirl. We’ll take it one bite at a time. Information is always easier to digest when it’s in small pieces.
We’ll start with the easier and move to the complex. As always, we will do so in a good, better, best format, with an eye on the budget. Some weeks, it will be a blog post, other weeks a video.
I had planned a Friday Food Fight about salt for today, about why I had quit using a particular brand. However, I had a fellow blogger send me an e-mail containing more information. I’m still researching since their information runs counter to what has been published elsewhere. I want to make sure I’m giving the full and whole picture when I post about something as serious as a wholesale non-support of a company, so I’m going to continue researching and I’ll put that post out when it is done.
So this week, we’ll look at honey versus maple syrup.
Nutritional Profile of Honey
According to NutritionData.com’s profile on honey, it has 279 grams of carbs in one cup. Of those carbs, 278 grams are from sugar and 1 gram of fiber per cup. It contains small amounts of vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium iron, betaine, choline, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium. One cup of honey has 14% of your daily manganese RDA. Honey does contain flouride. The glycemic load is 169.
Of the sugars found in honey, glucose and fructose are the two most abundant. There’s also small amounts of galactose, sucrose and maltose.
NutiritionData.com doesn’t specify which type of honey was analyzed, but we can assume it is the commonly available honey in the grocery stores- refined, filtered, mass-produced using corn syrup supplementtion. Locally raised, unrefined honey could possibly contain more nutrition, and we’ll examine that soon.
Nutritional Profile of Maple Syrup
According to NutritionData.com’s profile on maple syrup, it has 216 grams of carbs in one cup. Of those carbs, there are 192 grams of sugar and no fiber per cup. Maple syrup contains small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, phosphorus and selenium. Where maple syrup really shines is containing larger amounts of calcium (22%), iron (21%), magnesium (11%), potassium (19%), zinc (89%), copper (12%) and 531% of your RDA of manganese. Maple syrup contains no fluoride. The glycemic load is 126.
Of the sugars found in maple syrup, sucrose is the most abundant with smaller amounts of glucose and fructose.
NutiritonData.com doesn’t say if this is Grade A or Grade B syrup. Of course, this is not organic maple syrup, which can have a beneficial effect on some of nutrient content.
Between the two, maple syrup is the clear winner. Obviously, having less overall carbs per cup combined with much higher amounts of minerals, plus having far less fructose (2834 mg for maple versus 138,765 mg for honey per cup), it’s clearly the better choice. However, it still is not a nutrient-dense food, and should be used sparingly. I’ve found that most people into real food eat about half of the amount of sweeteners as those on the standard american diet, and some can consume even less. So I strongly encourage you to reduce the sweeteners in your diet as much as possible, so you can eat more nutrient-dense foods instead.
Honey can be store indefinitely in a sealed container in cool temperatures. I would encourage you to order in bulk and store it in order to save on the price per pound or quart. Maple syrup has a shelf life of a few years, and I’ve been reports of people being able to keep it longer. You can also purchase dried maple syrup granules. They look like rapadura or sucanat and you can store them long-term then add water as you need maple syrup.
What I Use
I currently use both! Since they have distinct flavor profiles, I find that both are excellent for different applications. We use honey in desserts and maple syrup as a topping for baked goods like waffles or in egg-based desserts such as custards. Price-wise, I find maple syrup to be more expensive as there are many bee keepers in our area, so we use maple syrup as an occasional treat instead of a staple in our home.
Price-wise, I pay $15.75 for raw honey through Green PolkaDot Box or $14-15 for local, raw honey per quart. For maple syrup, Amazon charges $18.22 per quart of Grade B Coombs.
Please share with us. What do YOU do for your family? Which choice have you made?
Next week we’ll look more into honey with raw versus cooked. We’ll cover filtering and otherwise refining honey and Grade A versus Grade B Maple syrup in coming weeks.