The Sugar Wars: Maple Syrup vs Honey Syrup

This post contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. But it never influences our product selection process.
Spread the love

Are you looking for a healthy alternative to sugar? Well, you should; because consuming too much sugar is bad for your health, as you may already know.

The Sugar Wars: Maple Syrup vs Honey Syrup
The Sugar Wars Maple Syrup vs Honey Syrup

A diet with high-added sugar has been related to obesity and several other detrimental health effects.

American Heart Association (AHA) recommends only 9 teaspoons (36 grams / 150 calories) or less daily sugar intake for men and 6 teaspoons (25 grams / 100 calories) or less for women.

Also, it’s not as simple to limit added sugar, as it can be found in everything from cereal to yogurt to spaghetti sauce.

But some of you may be thinking, “What if I consume honey or maple syrup instead of regular table sugar? Surely, they are better for me?” That’s a legitimate as well as a confusing question.

Let’s take a look at this science and fact-based comparison of “maple syrup vs honey” to shed some light on the healthy sugar debate.

We’ll also tell you which one is better for your recipes, and which one will cost you less. So, let’s get started.

What Is Honey

The Sugar Wars: Maple Syrup vs Honey Syrup 1

Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance produced by bees and some related insects. Bees produce honey from the nectar of flowers. They store it as a primary food source in wax comb cells in the beehive.

Honey is the only food of bees, and they consume about 8.4 lb. (3.8 kg) of honey to support their flight for one kilometer (km). It is estimated that honeybees visit approximately 2 million flowers per day to collect nectar.

The chemical composition of honey varies, depending on the floral source, but it typically contains about 70-80% sugar, as well as water, pollen, and other trace compounds. The specific composition of any batch of honey depends on the flowers available to the bees that produced the honey.

Honey has been produced and consumed by humans for millennia. It has a long history in human culture and has been used as a sweetener in food, as a medicinal remedy, and as an ingredient in cosmetics and other products.

The health benefits of honey have been promoted by traditional medicine for centuries. Honey has been traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, including sore throat, colds, and stomach troubles.

Some research has shown that honey may have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, honey has been shown to boost the immune system and help fight off infection.

Despite its many health benefits, honey should be consumed in moderation. Too much honey can lead to weight gain and other health problems. When buying honey, make sure to check the label to ensure that it is 100% pure and contains no added sugars.

The Origin of Maple Syrup

The Sugar Wars: Maple Syrup vs Honey Syrup 2
Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a type of syrup made from the xylem sap of the maple tree. It is a popular food ingredient, used in many recipes and as a condiment.

The production of maple syrup is a two-step process.

  • First, the sap must be collected from the maple trees. This is typically done by tapping the trees and collecting the sap in buckets.
  • Once the sap has been collected, it is then boiled down to concentrate the sugars and create the syrup.

There are several grades of maple syrup, depending on the color and flavor. The most common grades are Grade A and Grade B.

Grade A maple syrup is lighter in color and has a more delicate flavor, while Grade B maple syrup is darker in color and has a more robust flavor.

The good thing about maple syrup is that it includes over 67 different kinds of polyphenols, or antioxidants, some of which have been found to lower inflammation in the body.

Additionally, it has a decent quantity of prebiotics, which are essential for feeding the beneficial bacteria in our gut and maintaining a balanced and healthy microbiome there.

Maple syrup can be used in many ways. It is commonly used as a pancake or waffle topping, in baking recipes, or as an ingredient in savory dishes. It can also be enjoyed on its own as a sweet treat.

If you’re looking to add a bit of vegan sweetness to your life, maple syrup is a great option

Nutritional Profile of Both Honey and Maple Syrup

The biggest difference between these two sugar alternatives lies in the nutritional composition of both. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database,

1 tablespoon of honey contains –  

  • 17 grams of carbs
  • 17 grams of sugar
  • 0 fat
  • 0 protein
  • 64 calories

1 tablespoon of maple syrup contains

  • 13.5 grams of carbs
  • 12 grams of sugar
  • 0.1 grams of fat
  • 0 protein
  • 52 calories

Let’s break down these numbers and their nutritional worth based on the essential nutrients of our body – carbs, lipids, vitamins, and minerals, for a better understanding.


One tablespoon of pure maple syrup contains around 13-14 grams of carbohydrates, or 85% sugar, mostly in form of sucrose, glucose, and fructose. It has a 54 glycemic index, which includes low and medium GI meals.

A tablespoon of honey has 17 grams of carbs, with more than 90% of them being sugar. Most of the sugar in honey is fructose, with very little glucose and much less sucrose. Compared to maple syrup, it has a slightly higher average glycemic index (60).

Due to its lower carbohydrate sugar content and lower fructose content, maple syrup is the most nutrient-dense of the two. As you are aware, foods rich in fructose may be harmful to your health, namely to your heart and liver.

According to studies, fructose may increase your low-density lipoprotein levels, causing fat to build up in your body and increasing your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

That’s why, when comparing the fructose content of honey and maple syrup, maple syrup is far safer to eat.


Both varieties have extremely little to no fat. Only 0.1 grams of fat, including trace levels of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats, may be found in a tablespoon of pure maple syrup. There are no fats in honey.

Minerals and Vitamins

Honey has more vitamins than maple syrup, whereas maple syrup has more minerals.

Vitamins C and B6 are only mildly present in honey, but they are both lacking in maple syrup. Vitamins B3 (niacin) and B5 are among the additional b vitamins in honey. Vitamins B1 and B3 are found in tiny concentrations in maple syrup but not in honey.

However, none is sufficiently stocked with the vitamins B12, B9, D, A, E, or K.

Manganese, which is great for your bones, makes up over 33% of the minerals in maple syrup, which has a very high mineral concentration (10 times more than in honey). Iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, copper, and zinc are some of the other healthful nutrients found in syrup.

In comparison to maple, honey has far lower salt concentrations and only trace levels of zinc, iron, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. On the plus side, it contains fluoride, which is good for your oral health and is absent from maple.

Additionally, honey has more than three times as much riboflavin as maple syrup. There is no winner in this area.

Choose whichever you like since they both have advantages and disadvantages and none of the vitamins or minerals are present in considerable quantities.

Calories in Honey vs. Maple Syrup

Both have carbohydrate content, which provides calories. In comparison to the 64 calories in one tablespoon of honey, maple syrup has just 52 calories per serving.

However, a cup of maple syrup has 819 calories as opposed to 1031 calories in honey when taken in large quantities, such as when cooking or serving delicacies.

If you use the same quantity, maple syrup would be a better option for those of you trying to lose weight since it has fewer calories and less sugar.

However, you may choose honey depending on your diet as it complements low-fat diets, while maple syrup is a great option for low-calorie, low-carb, and low-glycemic index diets.

Health Benefits of Pure Maple Syrup vs Honey

Let’s go on to the article’s most important section and see which of the two has more health advantages.

Cardiovascular Health

The antioxidant activity of both honey and real maple syrup is in the middle range.

These organic sweeteners may work in preventing blood clots, heart disease, chronic diseases, cancer, and other illnesses since they have been found to protect cells from oxidative damage.

Darker maple syrup was shown to have more antioxidant effects than clear maple syrup as well as honey.

One antioxidant included in maple syrup is glucitol-core, which contains Gallotannin (GCG). These polyphenols can neutralize free radicals.

Different types of honey obtained from various flowers have variable antioxidant capacities due to their distinctive phenolic profiles.


Honey and maple syrup both have natural sugar in them.

In one trial, honey reduced triglycerides in individuals with hypertriglyceridemia and low-density lipoproteins in those with hyperlipidemia.

Artificial honey, on the other hand, has the opposite effect.

Real maple syrup has a modest advantage over sucrose as a natural sweetener since it has a lower glycemic index and is thus better for you if you have diabetes or blood sugar issues, according to studies.

Inflammatory Disease

Maple syrup may be beneficial if you have certain conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease.

According to studies, maple syrup includes the chemical quebecol, which lessens the symptoms of inflammatory diseases. Due to the sort of sugars, it contains, honey is not the best solution for this problem.

Maple Syrup vs Honey: Taste, Preparation, and Cooking

These two natural sweeteners have a unique flavor and can be used in a variety of ways. But which one is better?


It depends on your personal taste preferences. Maple syrup has a more complex flavor, with hints of caramel and vanilla.

Honey, on the other hand, is more straightforward and has a more intense sweetness.

Both these items taste great when used to sweeten granola, muesli, baked goods, salad dressings, cereal, and more.


Preparation-wise, maple syrup is the clear winner. It’s much easier to work with and can be used in a wider variety of recipes.

Honey can be difficult to work with and is often more expensive.


Both honey and unadulterated maple syrup can be used in cooking, but they have their benefits and drawbacks.

If you’re using raw honey in place of maple syrup, you may need to use less since it’s sweeter per tablespoon than sugar.

Contrarily, maple syrup often has a pronounced maple taste. It’s also a bit more acidic. Expect some alterations in the taste of your dish if you use it as corn syrup or sugar substitute.

Maple syrup also tends to hold up better under high heat, so it’s the better choice for cooking at high temperatures.

Should You Use Honey or Maple Syrup in Place of Sugar?

It depends on what you’re looking for, but both maple syrup and honey on their own are better natural sweeteners than refined white sugar or artificial sweeteners, having a lower glycemic index than ordinary sugar.

When it comes to ‘maple syrup vs honey’, it is difficult to say that one of these is better for your health than the other, and therefore is healthier.

Honey contains some vitamins and nutrients that maple syrup does not contain. But maple syrup has fewer sugar content, calories, and carbs per serving.

Also, it has a higher concentration of antioxidants and minerals which can help to protect your cells from damage.

For this, we would consider maple syrup as a better alternative to sugar, if we had to choose one over another.

However, there are many different types of honey, and some are healthier than others. Likewise, there are many varieties of maple syrup, and they vary in their health benefits as well.

Moderation Is Key

Be aware that maple syrup and honey should still be consumed in moderation before you go crazy adding them to everything you eat. In the end, sugar is sugar, and both honey and maple syrup contains a lot of it.

Strong evidence suggests that consuming more simple sugar increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, certain malignancies, and cardiovascular disease.

According to functional dietitian nutritionist Jenna Volpe, “those who need to control their blood sugar should treat honey, maple syrup, and table sugar very similarly in that they are all still sugar, and all of these sweeteners will elevate blood sugar to some level.”

And if you already don’t use any sweeteners, there’s no need to start including them in your diet. According to Rachel Fine, ” Honey and maple syrup should not be considered ‘sources of antioxidants,’ but rather as a pleasant supplement to meals once in a while.”


Can maple syrup be creamed like honey to smooth crystallization?

Can maple syrup be creamed like honey to smooth crystallization?

Can maple syrup be creamed like honey to smooth crystallization?

Yes, maple syrup is safe for bees. Beekeepers often use maple syrup as a sugar source for their bees, and it is a common ingredient in many bee-friendly products.

Can I replace maple syrup with honey?

Technically maple syrup is a good substitute for honey; however, it is not a 1:1 replacement. Because of maple syrup’s thinner consistency than honey, your recipe won’t come out exactly how you want. But you can make honey pourable like maple syrup for recipes by thickening it with apple juice. That would be reasonably close.

Relevant Reads

Table of Contents