More than three-quarters of maple syrup production, or 95% of Canadian production, is in Quebec. Indigenous peoples were already consuming maple syrup when Europeans arrived. First Nations used it primarily as a spring tonic.
There is maple water and maple sap, which are very different.
Maple syrup is a naturally sweet solution, produced from maple water that is collected in early spring and then concentrated by boiling. At the very beginning of spring, it is a naturally sweet water that flows from the maple trees through notches in the bottom of the trunk of the latter. This is the beginning of the sugar season. This water is boiled and a brown syrup is obtained overlooking the pale. Later in the season, this water turns into sap and the more the season progresses, the darker the maple syrup becomes and the taste more pronounced. This is the sign of the end of sugars. As for the antioxidant activity of its phenolic compounds, they would be at their maximum in mid-season.
Today, the consumption of maple syrup is widespread in Quebec and Ontario where the syrup is sometimes consumed on a daily basis, selling at a relatively low price, maple syrup is consumed regularly in Quebec and Ontario but is also sold for export as an exotic product. The Japanese, among others, are more than fond of it.
Since the price of maple syrup is very high compared to other syrups, the consumption of corn syrup and artificial flavours far exceeds that of maple syrup. Quebecers in their colorful language call these syrups: pole syrups (you have to read by phone or electric.)
Taffy, butter, sugar (soft, hard) and spread are all by-products of maple syrup.
Its PH is between 5.6 and 7.9%.
Researchers at the University of Rhode Islands led by Dr. Navindra Seeram have discovered in maple syrup and sap, 54 bioactive components including several antioxidants very beneficial for health and which act in particular on the reduction of oxidative stress. Of these 54 components, 5 had never been discovered. One of these very promising polyphenols was given the name Quebecol (in honour of Quebec). Several of the antioxidants identified have anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and also anti-diabetes properties. According to Dr. Seeram, few, if any, other natural sweetening agent possess such a cocktail of antioxidants beneficial to human health. Maple syrup contains some of the beneficial compounds found in berries, tea and also flaxseed. Dr. Seeram adds that people don’t realize, but while we have a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in our food chain, maple syrup is the only mass consumer product obtained entirely from the sap of a tree.
According to Dr. André Marette, scientific director of INAF, who is also a researcher at the Institut de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec, maple syrup has another major advantage over all other sweetening agents: it consists mainly of sucrose and does not contain pure fructose which is very quickly captured by the liver. A high source of fructose can lead to an accumulation of lipids in the liver, called fatty liver disease. Maple syrup has a low glycemic index and its ingestion leads to a lower increase in blood glucose concentration compared to honey, corn syrup and molasses.
A study conducted by researchers at McGill University in 2015 also showed that a maple syrup concentrate makes bacteria more vulnerable to antibiotics and could thus help reduce the amounts to be administered. Maple water and maple syrup also contain significant amounts of terpenes and more specifically abscisic acid. Abscisic acid stimulates the release of insulin by pancreatic cells and thus increases the sensitivity of fat cells to insulin. Combined with the fact that maple syrup provides an interesting supply of manganese, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium, the latter is one step ahead of other common sweetening additions.
Maple syrup is also recommended for athletes because it represents a natural source of energy in simple carbohydrates that is easily metabolized into glucose. Glucose acts as fuel during exercise. In addition, the manganese and zinc it contains are two minerals involved in muscle recovery. Finally, its potassium helps to balance the body fluids that participate in muscle contraction. Consumed before a workout, it helps maintain energy levels. Ingested after the workout, maple syrup helps the body recover by renewing glycogen stores.
Maple syrup still contains some fructose because its sucrose, when metabolized, splits into a fructose molecule and a glucose molecule, but this is very little compared to other sweetening agents commonly used in industrial consumer products. It is therefore very important to know that the idea is not to add maple syrup to the usual diet, but to replace the sugar usually used in the diet.
Its antioxidants and vitamins
Maple syrup contains several antioxidants including a phenolic alcohol unknown to the syrup that has been named québécol in honour of Quebec. This molecule discovered by Dr. Seeram and his colleagues at Kingston University, Rhode Island does not appear to be present in water and maple sap. Analyses tend to show that the molecule is formed during the extraction of sap or in the syrup manufacturing process. Maple syrup is very glycemic but it contains substances with a very interesting antioxidant potential. It should be noted, however, that scientific studies on maple syrup are in their in their insanity and there is not yet much evidence on its benefits on humans.
Maple syrup consists of:
- 68% carbohydrates including 80% sucrose. Glucose and fructose complete the last 20%.
- O.04 glucose
- 0.03% Fructose
- 31% water
It is particularly rich in manganese and rich in zinc. It is also rich in potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese.
Its medicinal virtues
Given that research on maple syrup is in its ine. On the other hand, the studies are very promising.
Precautions and warnings
The vast majority of maple syrup produced in Quebec and Canada perfectly meets the maximum limit of 0.5 PPM set by Health Canada. However, there are some small maple groves that do not follow the rules, which is why the Canadian Food Inspection Agency sometimes recalls certain maple syrups. According to Gaston Allard, an agricultural engineer at the Centre de recherche de développement et de transfert technologique en acéculture (ACER Centre), there is nothing to suggest that lead exists in measurable quantities in water and maple sap. Dr. Allard speaks rather of contamination by production equipment, additives (which is forbidden because maple syrup must be 100% pure) or maintenance products of premises and equipment.
Maple water(not the syrup that doesn’t cause these problems)and allergies
Maple water contains allergens similar to those of pollen or certain nuts that can, in people sensitive to these allergens, cause reactions ranging from urticaria to anaphylactic shock. Those who are sensitive to nuts should avoid consuming maple water. This allergy problem is non-existent when it comes to maple syrup.
However, the antigens that cause these reactions degrade in the heat, allowing maple syrup to be safely consumed by these people.