Call me Canadian, but I love a good organic pure maple syrup. I drizzle it on my oatmeal, use it in my baking and have been known to add it to my coffee. What can I say? I’m addicted to everything about it, from the flavour to the sweetness — it seems to hit the spot just right every time.
However, nowadays there is a lot of fear about consuming sugar. This could be because one in four adult Canadians are obese or it could be because over 2.4 million Canadians are living with diabetes. Whatever the reason for it, I think a little clarification is in order.
Maple syrup is a carbohydrate and contains about two-thirds sucrose — which you also know as table sugar. Sucrose is a disaccharide (two simple sugar molecules that are attached) that gets broken down into two monosaccharides (a single sugar molecule) — glucose and fructose.
The monosaccharide glucose is your body’s preferred source of energy, with excess glucose being stored as glycogen for later use. Excess fructose gets stored in the body as fat.
That’s the bad news, but there’s good news too! Though maple syrup is a sugar, and all sugar should be consumed in moderation, it has many benefits that encourage its use as a sugar substitute — including its level of sweetness, allowing you to use even less sugar!
Some of maple syrup’s health benefits come from its potassium, calcium, iron and zinc but it’s most well-known for its manganese (one tablespoon contains 25% of your RDA). It contains at least 24 different antioxidants, with the darker syrups being richer in minerals and antioxidants. It is also lower than white sugar on the glycemic index at 55 compared to 65.
Maple syrup can make a great sugar substitute. By swapping out white sugar one for one in a recipe, you’ll reduce the total sugar content by two thirds, but trust me — you never need as much! Plus, you’ll have the benefits of added minerals and antioxidants. You can use it in baking, salad dressings or even as a sweetener in your coffee with an added hint of maple.
My favourite way to use it is in my banana bread. So simple to make and tastes great with a hint of maple!
Maple Sweetened Banana Bread
1 ¼ cups whole grain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil, melted
¼ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1 large egg
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
¼- ½ cup goodies (blueberries, walnuts, dark chocolate chips)
Preheat your oven to 350F. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine your wet ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine. Be sure to not overmix! Gently fold in your goodies.
Cover a loaf pan with some coconut oil, pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Makes 12 slices