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Are Wholesome Sweeteners Right For You? What You Should Know About Maple

Sometimes beverages need a little sweetening. What to sweeten them with is the question. Upon filling our cup, we’re presented with an abundance of options from cane sugar to maple syrup and honey to a slew of zero-calorie and low-calorie packets. But a recent study published by Natural Medicine (2023) has consumers questioning the consequences of alternative sugars and wondering – are wholesome sweeteners better?

The study that was conducted linked erythritol, a common sugar substitute, to increased risk of cardiovascular events and stroke. Researchers analyzed blood samples and while multiple compounds linking to cardiovascular risk were found, erythritol had strong ties to cardiovascular events. Further study via blood tests revealed plasma levels of erythritol to be higher in research participants with cardiovascular disease.

Medical News Today reported, “the researchers examined the effects of consuming a snack or drink containing 30 grams (g) of erythritol in eight participants. While erythritol levels were low at baseline, they remained 1,000-fold higher for hours after ingestion.” Though these initial studies are revelatory, more research needs to be performed to further prove these findings. But despite the need for further research, for many who add sugar substitutes to their morning brew, these initial findings can be alarming.

On the heels of this study’s publication, Butternut Mountain Farm received an inquiry. Would using maple syrup instead of low-calorie or no-calorie sugar substitutes to sweeten matcha work? Our response, of course, was yes!

The allure of wholesome sweeteners like maple syrup is the simplicity. Maple comes from trees. There’s one ingredient in maple syrup: maple syrup. Every spring sugarmakers head to the woods to harvest the sap from sugar maple trees that are native to the Northeastern forests. After the sap is collected it then goes through reverse osmosis which concentrates the sap to a certain sugar level. From there, the sap is boiled to the amber hued syrup we’re so fond of. There are never any artificial flavorings added to pure maple syrup. The sweetness in every bottle is 100% real. 

Using maple is an easy switch that will enrich your morning beverages. Any classification of Grade A maple syrup will do the trick. Butternut Mountain Farm’s Digital Media Coordinator prefers Grade A Dark, Robust in her morning chai. It does its duty as a sweetener while not overwhelming the beverage with maple flavor. If you prefer a granulated spoonful of sugar, maple sugar will satisfy just as well.

Whether you’re whipping up a carafe of lemonade, brewing morning coffee or stirring yourself a cocktail, maple makes an excellent choice that you can feel good about.

If you’re concerned about the latest research in low-calorie artifical sweeteners, real maple syrup may be the right choice for you. It’s a naturally derived, nutritive ingredient with vitamins and minerals found in it – including manganese and zinc. Though nutritious, maple does contain sugar and is a caloric sweetener. Dependent upon personal diet, or medical conditions, it’s always recommended to speak with your doctor about what sweetener is right for you.