Maple Syrup Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  12 min read
maple syrup benefits and side effects

HEALTH

Energy: maple syrup benefits include temporarily increase energy levels | maple syrup side effects include sugar crash (when consumed excessively)

Longevity: maple syrup benefits include detoxification | maple syrup side effects include heart disease, type 2 diabetes (when consumed excessively), increased blood sugar levels

Appearance: maple syrup side effects include obesity (when consumed excessively), weight gain

Maple syrup (pure) is…

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…

Where does most maple syrup come from?

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.

Is maple syrup nutritious?

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.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

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 is broken 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

maple syrup (pure) is gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

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:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

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 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!

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

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…

There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

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.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

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. 

According to Sentient Media, “more than 200 million land animals are killed for food around the world every day. Including wild-caught and farmed fishes, we get a total closer to 3 billion animals killed daily.”

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 associated with labor concerns?

At this time there have been no major concerns associated 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 be associated 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. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even be subjected to 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 has been likened to 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. 

Sources:

Maple Syrup Grades & Standards – Agricultural Marketing

UNITED STATES MAPLE SYRUP PRODUCTION – USDA NASS

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.