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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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?<br><br>
I know that sugar can supress the immune system... do honey and maple syrup have the same effect?<br><br>
When feeding pancakes and waffles to my family (whole grain of course <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> ), is it really worth the extra expense to serve with maple syrup instead of pancake syrup or sqeeze grape jelly (HF corn syrup)?<br><br>
When serving tea, it is better to sweeten it with honey?
 

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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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It depends what you're trying to accomplish by eating honey vs. sugar vs. maple syrup.<br><br>
Technically, all three are the same basic element: sugar - a combination of sucrose and fructose to be specific.<br><br>
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).<br>
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.<br><br>
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.<br><br>
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.<br><br>
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 <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"> 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.<br><br>
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.<br><br>
Hope this helps! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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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.<br>
Check out any macriobiotic cookbook for more ideas of less intense sweeteners <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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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.<br>
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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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the details, this was exactly what I was looking for...<br>
Sugare is just soooo cheap compared to the rest of teh sweetners out there <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><br><br>
ANy other comments???
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lurk.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lurk"><br>
thanks for this thread...waiting to read more replies
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>slightly crunchy</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">: 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.</div>
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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 <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> Love it!!!
 

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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.<br><br>
One of the reasons I prefer honey is that if you use local honey it can help with allergies.
 

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Great thread!<br><br>
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.<br><br>
And there are plenty of other good reasons to buy locally, so we still buy local honey.<br><br>
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.
 

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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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<div style="font-style:italic;">Must be pretty hard to produce organic honey actually.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/offtopic.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="offtopic"> You know, I have <i>never</i> 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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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.<br>
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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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>CathToria</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thanks for the details, this was exactly what I was looking for...<br>
Sugare is just soooo cheap compared to the rest of teh sweetners out there <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><br><br>
ANy other comments???</div>
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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.<br>
It is basically a simple syrup with vanilla and maple flavoring (hmm what's in the maple flavoring? don't know)
 

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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.<br><br>
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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I buy organic honey. Never thought before how they made it organic......<br><br>
the jar says it is harvest in "Alberta's north" far away from pollutants etc. ok, so I am paraphrasing.<br><br>
since someone mentioned it - organic honey does exist - at least in theory.<br><br>
gisele
 
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