SHOPPING

Which is healthier: honey or maple syrup?

Bottle of maple syrup and a jar of honey with a honey spoon

Honey and maple syrup can give plain yoghurt and porridge a little oomph… but is one healthier than the other? HFG compares these popular sweeteners to see how they stack up against each other.

Honey comes from bees and maple syrup from trees, so that makes them a natural product, right? The thing is, despite what food marketers would like us to think, ‘natural’ doesn’t automatically mean healthy. Both honey and maple syrup are free sugars, so they need to be limited just like any other form of sugar.

They do provide a delicious, distinctive taste so are a popular addition to foods that need a little sweetness, from baking and sweet treats to sweet and sour or sweet and savoury dishes.

Honey and maple syrup both contain some healthy minerals but the amount we use, to keep within daily sugar limits, means we’re unlikely to get many benefits from the nutrients they contain.

Here’s how honey and maple syrup compare:

Kilojoules/calories

  • Maple syrup 306kJ (73cal)
  • Honey 283kJ (68cal)

Sugars

  • Maple syrup 16g
  • Honey 17g

Glycaemic index

  • Maple syrup GI = 54
  • Honey GI = 60

The bottom line

It’s a tie! Pure maple syrup and honey provide virtually the same amount of kilojoules and sugars, and have a similar glycaemic index, so feel free to choose whichever tickles your tastebuds. However, both maple syrup and honey are classified as ‘added sugars’, so try to use them sparingly.

Did you know?

Pure maple syrup and ‘maple-flavoured’ syrup are very different products. Pure maple syrup is just that — 100 per cent maple syrup. Maple-flavoured syrup, on the other hand, contains extra sugars and additives.

First published: May 2022

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