Maple Syrup Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 11/03/22 •  12 min read

What are maple syrup benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are maple syrup pros and cons and how buying it will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

maple syrup benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on maple syrup benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about maple syrup benefits and side effects. This will include maple syrup benefits for your health and potential risks, maple syrup water footprint and maple syrup carbon footprint, maple syrup sustainability, if maple syrup is vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if maple syrup is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about maple syrup benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Maple Syrup Benefits And Side Effects

Health

Maple syrup (consumed in moderation) health benefits may include:

If consumed excessively maple syrup side effects may include:

Maple syrup (pure) is…

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Environment

Water footprint: low, it takes 1,782 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of maple syrup / 214 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of maple syrup

Carbon footprint: likely high, processing maple syrup means hours of boiling in an evaporator, or furnace-like device, fired by oil or wood, processing 800 gallons of maple sap takes approximately 60 gallons of oil or a cord of wood to make 20 gallons of completed syrup, using non-renewable energy sources such as oil and the resulting pollution are very high, burning wood produces various harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and formaldehyde

Destruction: moderate, maple syrup production is moderately sustainable, as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy organic, as pesticides contaminate soil, water, air, etc., while processing maple syrup does cause air pollution and uses non-renewable energy sources, properly tapped, well-tended trees potentially yield sap for over 100 years, dead or diseased trees are still used as lumber or fuel for maple syrup production, environmental organizations, state agriculture and forestry departments claim that incentivizing maple can make forests financially viable for farmers and other landowners who might otherwise timber them or sell land to developers, leading to deforestation, maple trees clean air and water and provide shade, habitat and food for wildlife

Maple syrup (pure) is…

Animals

Kills: none, maple syrup production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, maple syrup production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from maple syrup production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Maple syrup (pure) is…

Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Maple syrup (pure) is…

The world’s top maple syrup exporter is Canada, followed by USA, Germany, Denmark, UK, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Sweden and Guatemala.

Canada produces over 80% of the world’s maple syrup, the  majority coming from the province of Quebec.

Yes! Pure maple syrup is high in antioxidants and nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

maple syrup is alkaline when raw and acidic when processed.

maple syrup benefits include being alkaline when raw

Is maple syrup alkaline or acidic?

Maple syrup is alkaline when raw, and acidic when processed (most common) once digested.

What is the pH level of maple syrup?

Maple syrup has a 7.5 pH level when raw and 6.0 pH level when processed.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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maple syrup (pure) is gluten free.

maple syrup benefits include being gluten free

Is maple syrup gluten free?

Yes, maple syrup is gluten free. Maple syrup does not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

maple syrup (pure) is not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is maple syrup a common food allergen?

No, maple syrup is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to maple syrup but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

maple syrup is a low-fodmap food.

fodmap friendly food

Is maple syrup FODMAP friendly?

Yes. Maple syrup is a low-FODMAP food and fits into a low-FODMAP diet. 

A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.

See this High-FODMAP and Low-FODMAP List of Food

maple syrup has a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does maple syrup have a high or low water footprint?

Maple syrup has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of maple syrup?

It takes 1,782 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of maple syrup / 214 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of maple syrup.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

maple syrup likely has a high carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does maple syrup have a high or low carbon footprint?

Maple syrup likely has a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods.

Processing maple syrup means hours of boiling in an evaporator, or furnace-like device, fired by oil or wood. Processing 800 gallons of maple sap takes approximately 60 gallons of oil or a cord of wood to make 20 gallons of completed syrup. Using non-renewable energy sources such as oil and the resulting pollution are very high. Burning wood produces various harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and formaldehyde.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

maple syrup is moderately sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is maple syrup eco friendly? Is maple syrup sustainable?

Maple syrup production is moderately sustainable. While processing maple syrup does cause air pollution and uses non-renewable energy sources, properly tapped, well-tended trees potentially yield sap for over 100 years. Dead or diseased trees are still used as lumber or fuel for maple syrup production. Environmental organizations, state agriculture and forestry departments claim that incentivizing maple can make forests financially viable for farmers and other landowners who might otherwise timber them or sell land to developers, leading to deforestation. Maple trees clean air and water and provide shade, habitat and food for wildlife.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

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maple syrup (pure) is vegan.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Is maple syrup vegan?

Yes, maple syrup is vegan when pure. Maple syrup is made from sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

maple syrup may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is maple syrup a product with laborer concerns?

At this time there are no major concerns with maple syrup production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even face harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about maple syrup benefits and side effects.

Sources:

Maple Syrup Grades & Standards – Agricultural Marketing

UNITED STATES MAPLE SYRUP PRODUCTION – USDA NASS

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.