sugar vs. honey vs. maple syrup - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 02-02-2005, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We do not eat a lot of sugar or sweet things in our house. But when we do, are honey and maple syrup nutritionally superior to white table sugar?

I know that sugar can supress the immune system... do honey and maple syrup have the same effect?

When feeding pancakes and waffles to my family (whole grain of course ), is it really worth the extra expense to serve with maple syrup instead of pancake syrup or sqeeze grape jelly (HF corn syrup)?

When serving tea, it is better to sweeten it with honey?

Gigi. Mommy to 3 girls.
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#2 of 24 Old 02-02-2005, 12:25 PM
 
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Yes they are definitely better! I don't know about the immunity thing you refer to. But I know that honey and maple syrup are not refined like sugar is, and so they contain a more complex array of nutrients that you can not only taste (when you taste honey, it doesn't just taste sweet, it actually has a "honey" taste to it; same with maple syrup) but is better for you. Honey also has healing properties to it which is why it's used in cough syrups, Chinese remedies, etc. My son has epilepsy and his seizures are triggered most by sugar - so he can't have sugar at all - but he can handle honey and maple syrup just fine. So I can tell you firsthand that yes there is a big difference!
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#3 of 24 Old 02-02-2005, 01:15 PM
 
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It depends what you're trying to accomplish by eating honey vs. sugar vs. maple syrup.

Technically, all three are the same basic element: sugar - a combination of sucrose and fructose to be specific.

If you're diabetic, you might do *slightly* better with honey than table sugar b/c the Glycemic Index for honey is a little bit lower than that for table sugar (87 vs. 100, I believe).
Table sugar, fwiw, is far, far better than corn syrup or especially high fructose corn syrup, which is even more refined and has a terrible effect on blood sugar levels.

If you're trying to control weight, then table sugar may be the best option because honey and maple syrup both have far more calories than plain table sugar, by weight. For example, 1 tbs. of sugar has 44 calories compared to 64 in honey, and 167 in maple syrup!!... plus some people feel honey tastes less "sweet" so they even use more honey in tea for example than they would sugar. This is a double whammy for the person trying or needing to be calorie conscious.

From a nutritional standpoint, honey probably fares best, followed by maple syrup and table sugar. But if you eat "honey bear" type honey, or any processed/heated honey like that, any of the proported nutritional benefits have been made obsolete by the processing. So if you choose honey, make sure it's raw, organic honey, otherwise, there are no nutritional benefits and all three sweeteners then become more or less equal.

Finally, there are environmental / "green" concerns to consider. Maple syrup should ONLY be organic.... there are some seriously undesirable practices in the collection and production of mainstream maple syrup, such as plugging the holes in the tree with formaldehyde pellets and using lead collection buckets not to mention killing the trees eventually in the process. Table sugar might be even worse and gets into issues of treatment of workers, fair trade, etc. as well. Organic is the way to go if you are concerned about nutrition and environmental impact of sweeteners.

Bottom line - if you use sweeteners occasionally you could pretty much choose whatever you wanted, but I do think there's a lot of reason to choose only organic especially for the three sweeteners mentioned above.

Hope this helps!
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#4 of 24 Old 02-02-2005, 01:26 PM
 
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Honey and maple syrup are "better" nutritionally than white sugar. But they're still really intense sweeteners. When we are needing an intense sweetener, like on pancakes, we give the kids blackstrap molasses b/c it's got so many nutrients in it. You could also do things with fruits to make syrups. Or use stevia, brown rice syrup, etc. for things like sweetening beverages.
Check out any macriobiotic cookbook for more ideas of less intense sweeteners

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#5 of 24 Old 02-02-2005, 05:09 PM
 
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My goodness, Periwinkle, that was very helpful - I think I'll have to print that out.
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#6 of 24 Old 02-02-2005, 05:34 PM
 
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Definitely avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup in it. It is fructose and (although I don't understand it scientifically) breaks down differently in the liver than other sugars. Other sugars - maple syrup, honey, plain old sugar - are sucrose and are not all that great, but corn syrup is thought to be one of the main contributors to the massive increase in type 2 diabetes that is now happening in the US - especially among children. So I never let my dd (or my dh when I can help it) have high fructose corn syrup.
Other wise...I know not much about the differences between the others. I like giving my dd honey or maple syrup better because that seems less processed. But that is not based on any real research. But corn syrup is BAD stuff...
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#7 of 24 Old 02-02-2005, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the details, this was exactly what I was looking for...
Sugare is just soooo cheap compared to the rest of teh sweetners out there

ANy other comments???

Gigi. Mommy to 3 girls.
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#8 of 24 Old 02-02-2005, 09:04 PM
 
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thanks for this thread...waiting to read more replies

Helping women overcome postpartum depression and birth trauma. http://www.postmommyhood.com

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#9 of 24 Old 02-02-2005, 11:03 PM
 
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Can't answer the question re: comparing nutritional value of sweeteners. I just use tiny amounts of the natural sweeteners because I think they taste so much better than regular sugar and regular pancake syrup. But I had another idea for what to eat on pancakes: I finally weaned myself from maple syrup on pancakes and waffles, to using (heated) frozen fruit. Frozen berries, especially blueberries, make a nice syrup and now I actually prefer this to maple syrup. I used to add a tiny bit of maple syrup to the fruit and just gradually used less and less.
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#10 of 24 Old 02-03-2005, 12:15 AM
 
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A naturopathic dr. told dh and me not to eat honey regularly because it should be used only as a medicine. I am not recalling all the stuff she said at the time, though, but we stopped having honey as a sweetner. I agree with the less refined is better. I like maple on my pancakes, too!
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#11 of 24 Old 02-03-2005, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slightly crunchy
: I finally weaned myself from maple syrup on pancakes and waffles, to using (heated) frozen fruit. Frozen berries, especially blueberries, make a nice syrup and now I actually prefer this to maple syrup. I used to add a tiny bit of maple syrup to the fruit and just gradually used less and less.
Do you make this up at every meal, or do you make it up and put it in a container for the next few weeks? That is an EXCELLENT idea Love it!!!

Gigi. Mommy to 3 girls.
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#12 of 24 Old 02-03-2005, 10:59 PM
 
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We try to limit refined sugar intake - in my thinking "natural" is superior to "processed". I use honey as a sweetener when I bake or sometimes molasses. I also like baking with applesauce and yogurt instead of more refined products. We use almost exclusively organics not matter what we use.

One of the reasons I prefer honey is that if you use local honey it can help with allergies.
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#13 of 24 Old 02-03-2005, 11:23 PM
 
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Great thread!

A little OT, but I did want to comment on the honey/allergy prevention connection, because that is something that I had always heard as well. The theory is that local honey gives you exposure to small amounts of local allergens and thus might boost your immunity to these allergens. I just heard a bee expert on the radio talking about this and he made an excellent point. Most of the environmental allergens that cause seasonal allergies are wind pollinated. The pollen in honey is, of course, from bee pollinated plants. He said that there may be some pollen from wind pollinated plants that just gets mixed with the honey as it blows through the hive, but probably only very small amounts. I know some people swear by the use of local honey to treat/ prevent allegies, so whatever works, but I thought this made alot of sense.

And there are plenty of other good reasons to buy locally, so we still buy local honey.

Sorry for the digression! I've recently starting using maple syrup and brown rice syrup more in baking, and I think they taste great. As far as the cost goes, In Feeding the Whole Family, the author says that Grade B maple syrup is actually preferable for baking. It is much cheaper than the Grade A we use on pancakes.

Trying to get my bearings...
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#14 of 24 Old 02-03-2005, 11:30 PM
 
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Hmm, interesting. We've always used honey when we use any sweetener (which is rare) because my parents keep bees... so it's free! (Not organic though. Must be pretty hard to produce organic honey actually.)
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#15 of 24 Old 02-04-2005, 12:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calpurnia
Must be pretty hard to produce organic honey actually.
You know, I have never seen organic honey. I've looked for it and have been wondering if such a thing exists. It would have to be made in a vacuum, wouldn't it? Just wondering...
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#16 of 24 Old 02-04-2005, 12:36 AM
 
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Xyitol is a good sweetener but yep its is pricey.
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#17 of 24 Old 02-04-2005, 12:50 AM
 
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we use the number 2 grade organic maple syrup as well... on pancakes it is fin too! Also for on pancakes I put fruit in the blender eg... a banana , a kiwi a ripe pear maybe, a spoon of orange juice concentrate, and a equal size spoon of maple syrup... yummy! I have also use hommade jam with a handful of cranberries thrown in and a spoonfull of orange juice concentrate, and heated that until all of the cranberries pop. Serve that on pancakes.
The cost is really worth it in my opinion. I am very sugar sensitive. If I have somthing with refined sugar in it I have a huge hangover the next day. It doesnt happen even if I use organic sugar( which really isn't much better).

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#18 of 24 Old 02-04-2005, 01:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CathToria
Thanks for the details, this was exactly what I was looking for...
Sugare is just soooo cheap compared to the rest of teh sweetners out there

ANy other comments???
we make our own pancake syrup. We can't afford real maple syrup, but I don't want to buy "fake" syrup that contains high fructose corn syrup.
It is basically a simple syrup with vanilla and maple flavoring (hmm what's in the maple flavoring? don't know)

Children deserve the respect of puzzling it out.
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#19 of 24 Old 02-04-2005, 01:45 AM
 
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I think that grade B maple syrup is just plain better than grade A. It is thicker and has a stronger, richer flavor. I think it's yummy and use it mainly for pancakes.

Around here it is very hard to produce organic honey because they have had some major problem with some kind of mites that devastate production. I don't know much about it but have heard friends who keep bees talking about it. think some people who have stayed organic have actually gone out of business due to losses.

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#20 of 24 Old 02-04-2005, 02:11 AM
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I buy organic honey. Never thought before how they made it organic......

the jar says it is harvest in "Alberta's north" far away from pollutants etc. ok, so I am paraphrasing.

since someone mentioned it - organic honey does exist - at least in theory.

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#21 of 24 Old 02-04-2005, 10:37 AM
 
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We buy organic honey. It's not very expensive actually. Whole Foods sells several different brands of organic honey, including Whole Foods brand Organic Honey (in a cute squeezable honey bear).

I've read that large organic farms can pretty easily produce organic honey, for example, if they already have a big organic orchard and plant their dormant fields with organic wildflowers, then the bees they keep get pollen almost entirely from these. Yes I agree it would be hard for a small farm to do organic bee keeping, but apparently bees don't fly for miles on end when there's a sweet crop of blossoms right outside their hives!

Note that organic does NOT mean raw - raw is obviously preferable for reasons already stated in this thread. We buy both the WF organic honey bear which I prefer in tea, and raw organic honey for spreading on toast, stirring into oatmeal, etc.
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#22 of 24 Old 02-04-2005, 06:05 PM
 
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I'd like to know what certification requires for honey, as I know people with very small farms that sell organic honey.

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#23 of 24 Old 02-04-2005, 06:44 PM
 
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I don't know a lot - just enough to be dangerous LOL - but I don't think that the certification requires making sure the bees only go to pesticide free flowers - I think it has to do with chemicals used on the hive itself. We have friends who do a CSA and are HUGE organic proponents but they say that honey is hard to do organic because something often happens to the hives and the honey if you don't treat it. Obviously it is possible though. I see them next week. I'll have to ask!
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#24 of 24 Old 11-06-2013, 07:23 AM
 
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Dear Periwinkle,

 

I dissagree with your opinion, that making maple syrup - killing the tree, please notice, that all drill and holes must be correct, and if You are doing it correctly the tree wont get hurt.

Also in 13 grams maple syrup only 1% calories (% day limit) its 34, but manganese its 22% (% day limit) and zinc 3.6% (% day limit), so its healthy than Honey.

 

I agree that all these "natural" sweeteners like Honey and maple syrup contains sugar, but i dont recomend use diet with sugar, in maple syrup there are only 60% sugar and many kinds of antioxidants (54) and minerals, so the maple syrup its healty for immune system and for heart.

 

Peoples who cant tolerate sugar, can use Maple syrup or Honey.

 Plese notice, that there Golden syrup, most of peoples cant find a difference between Golden syrup (mostly them also called Maple syrup) but its not correct to call it like that...

Maple syrup color its depend of witch tree sap taken, there Black and Brown sugar maple trees, but not the light gold color.. Because Golden syrup (mostly we can find it in markets) are 100% boiled sugar and water with lemons juice.

 

I dont want to say that all You must use Maple syrup, Just trying to tell more about it. Im Working with Maple syrups over 7 years.  i could write and write about it, but the main idea i told. thanks ;)

 

p.s. sorry for my pour english.

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