If you’re looking to make healthier food choices, but don’t know where to start, consider this: reducing refined sugars within your diet can have incredible health benefits. This may sound daunting, but simple, small changes can have the most significant effect. Have you ever considered that there may be a healthier and even sweeter alternative to maple syrup? We’ll compare maple syrup vs date syrup and tell you two reasons why you’ll want to start using date syrup instead!
In short, the main difference between maple syrup vs date syrup is that date syrup contains nearly triple the potassium content per serving and also contains fiber — a nutrient that is absent in maple syrup.
Removing or trying to eliminate refined sugar from one’s diet can be challenging because so many different foods contain refined sugars on the market today. Many processed foods that we eat today have sugar additives that make them unhealthy choices. Today, we consume more refined sugar than our predecessors in decades before.
Refined sugar comes from cane sugar, corn, or sugar beets, which are then processed to extract the natural sugar that we find on supermarket shelves.
Within the past few years, there has been an increasing focus on the detrimental effects that sugar additives have on health. While sugar occurs naturally in many foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, etc., refined sugar is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
We’re here today: to offer another option to add to your arsenal of healthier choices — date syrup!
Whether you’re looking to start making healthier choices for weight loss or simply in order to reduce your intake of sugars, it’s time to consider date syrup for your next batch of pancakes!
This article will give an in-depth comparison of the similarities and differences of maple syrup as well as date syrup, show you why one may be preferable over the other and how to make your own!
What is Maple Syrup?
When you think of maple syrup, what do you think of? A nice fluffy stack of pancakes with a drizzle of syrup on top? Maybe some waffles topped with a little bit of fruit and whipped cream?
Did you know that there are several different classifications of maple syrup? They start by being categorized as either Group A or Group B; Group A is further categorized into Light Amber, Medium Amber, and Dark Amber. Group B is classified as the darkest syrup available.
These darker syrups are made from sap extracted from trees later in the harvest season. They have a much stronger maple flavor and are the type that is usually used for baking. The lighter syrups are usually the syrups drizzled on top of those pancakes we mentioned earlier.
There are two main steps in the maple-syrup-harvesting process:
- The first step is that a hole is drilled into a maple tree so that the sap pours out. A container or bucket is fitted underneath the hole in the tree to catch all the sap as it drips from the tree.
- The sap is then boiled until most of the water evaporates, leaving behind a thick, sugary syrup filtered down to remove impurities.
Most maple syrup is collected and produced in eastern Canada. According to healthline.com, over 80% of the world’s supply of maple syrup is made in the province of Quebec!
This tasty treat is commonly thought to be good for you as a “natural” sweetener, but don’t be fooled. Maple syrup may be the “healthier” choice than the store brand because it contains more nutrients, but it is still considered as an added sugar to the diet. It’s essential to keep your daily intake of added sugars low, regardless of which type of added sugars you’re eating!
What is Date Syrup?
Okay, so now that we all know what maple syrup is, let’s talk about date syrup vs maple syrup!
Similar in color to that of maple syrup, date syrup is a thick, caramel-colored sweetener that is made from dates. Date syrup can be drizzled over pancakes, desserts, and ice creams! Date syrup can also be used for baking.
A lesser-known sweetener, date syrup is the healthier choice compared to maple syrup as it offers a healthy natural sugar alternative.
Made with just two ingredients: dates and water, the first step to creating a delicious date syrup is allowing the dates to soak in hot water to soften them. Once softened, it’s time to mash them to extract the sweetness from the fruit!
After the dates are mashed, this substance is filtered through a cheesecloth or fine muslin to allow only the liquid to pass through. After the initial pressing, the pulp is then rehydrated, and the remaining juice is extracted.
You’ll find that the liquid you’ve collected is relatively thin and watery, so to achieve the thick syrupy consistency, it’s time to simmer the date liquid in a pan, frequently stirring to avoid burning.
After several minutes on medium heat, the syrup should begin to thicken and have a similar consistency to honey, at which point your date syrup is ready!
If you’re using date syrup (or date sugar) for cooking and baking, know that date syrup tends to be sweeter than regular or brown sugar. However, it can be substituted in a 1 for one ratio; some people use 2/3 cups of date sugar for every 1 cup to compensate for that sweet taste.
Maple Syrup VS Date Syrup
When choosing date syrup over any other sweetener, especially date syrup vs. maple syrup, you select a more nutrient-dense product rich in antioxidants, minerals, and fiber.
Date syrup has a low glycemic index. The glycemic index is how quickly sugars and food are digested and processed within the blood. The glycemic index of date syrup is 47 (+/- 2), compared to maple syrup’s glycemic index of 54, according to letsdate-usa.com.
Date syrup offers a much slower and more sustainable increase in blood sugar than refined sugars.
Let’s look at the nutrition facts for maple syrup vs date syrup…
Maple syrup nutrition facts (1 serving size, 1 tbsp):
- Calories: 52
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 2.4mg
- Potassium: 42mg
- Total Carbs: 13g
- Dietary Fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 12g
Date syrup nutrition facts (1 serving size, 1 tbsp):
- Calories: 59
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 0.4mg
- Potassium: 138mg
- Total Carbs: 16g
- Dietary Fiber: 1.7g
- Sugars: 13g
Date Syrup Has Triple the Potassium Content
A single teaspoon of date syrup contains more than triple the amount of not only potassium but also calcium, and magnesium than maple syrup or honey, with almost 10x the antioxidants. The refined sugar alternatives of maple syrup cannot compare.
Potassium is a mineral and essential electrolyte that helps regulate blood pressure, water balance, the electrical pulses in the body, and more.
Dates have a 2.5x higher potassium count than even bananas!
Date Syrup Contains Fiber
Date syrup contains a plentiful amount of fiber, especially beta-D-glucan, the soluble fiber. Beta-glucans prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol from food, and they are most commonly used to treat heart disease and high cholesterol.
Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that is tasked with removed waste from the body. Increasing fiber intake can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, lower cholesterol, help with insulin sensitivity and more.
Not only does date syrup offer a fiber that promotes healthy digestion, but it can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease! According to WebMD: beta-glucan “has shown a significant antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-hypercholesterolemia properties” Little known fact: dates are a superfood!
You’re telling us that not only are you swapping your maple syrup for sweeter-tasting date syrup, but you’re also trading up for something LOADED with nutritional properties? Sign us up!
The Bottom Line
Let’s summarize the date syrup vs maple syrup battle if you’re still not convinced that date syrup is the winner here.
As we mentioned above, date syrup does not require a tremendous amount of effort at home, but it can also be purchased in a health food store.
Date syrup has a sweeter taste than maple syrup, but it also has a plethora of antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Date syrup is FULL of potassium and provides a plentiful amount of fiber.
Compared to the glycemic index of maple syrup at 54, date syrup has an index of approximately 47.
Date syrup is perfect for desserts, pancakes, and waffles, replacing maple syrup. Therefore, it is not made with refined sugars and is a much healthier alternative to maple syrup and honey.