Maple Syrup Vs Honey: A Comparison

Gunjan Sooden

October 13, 2022

Honey and maple syrup are natural sweeteners with many similarities, but they have differences too. These amber-coloured liquids are the best alternatives to table sugar. While some view maple syrup as a healthier option than honey, others think the other way. The significant differences between honey and maple syrup involve their nutritional composition. And it helps you to determine which one is better and healthy for your diet. 

The Origin of Honey and Maple Syrup

In the wild, bees produce honey to be consumed in the winter or when food is scarce. Bees collect nectar from flowers and use their enzymes to change the content of the nectar. It changes the texture and duration of storage. Honeybees return later to the hive and pass the honey into the mouth of the next bee. It continues until all of the honey has reached the honeycomb. Finally, bees use their wings to circulate air in the honeycomb, evaporate water, condense the honey, and seal the honeycomb with honey. Honey’s flavour and texture vary depending on the flower species the nectar gets extracted from.

On the other hand, maple syrup does not involve any insects. Instead, it is taken from the sap of the maple tree and boiled down to caramelise and thicken. Therefore, maple syrup, by itself, is vegan. However, it isn’t always vegan. Sometimes, adulteration issues with the manufacturing process make maple syrup unsuitable for a vegan lifestyle. One of them is the use of animal fat, like white pig fat. In addition, many bottled maple syrups mislead people who want a vegan-friendly alternative to honey.

Nutritional Profile of Honey and Maple Syrup

Even though they are both sticky, sweet fluids with a similar texture and consistency, they are nutritionally very different.

Given below are their nutritional values. 

The nutritional value for one tablespoon of honey is as follows. 

  • Calories: 63.8 kcal 
  • Water: 3.59 g 
  • Carbohydrate: 17.3 g 
  • Protein: 0.06 g 
  • Fructose: 8.59 g 
  • Calcium: 0.26 mg 
  • Potassium: 10.9 mg 
  • Fluoride: 1.47 mcg 

The nutritional value for one tablespoon of maple syrup is as follows.

  • Calories: 52 kcal 
  • Water: 6.48 g 
  • Carbohydrate: 13.4 g 
  • Protein: 0.08 g 
  • Sucrose: 11.7 g 
  • Calcium: 20.4 mg 
  • Magnesium: 4.2 mg 
  • Potassium: 42.4 mg 
  • Sodium: 2.4 mg 

Similarities Between Honey and Maple Syrup 

Contrary to popular belief, there are few similarities between honey and pure maple syrup:

  • Honey and maple syrup are liquid sweeteners.
  • Both are devoid of protein or fat, relying solely on sugar or carbs for their calorific value.
  • Micronutrients and antioxidants are also present in both. 
  • Vitamins like A, D, E, K, D, and B12 are absent. 

Differences Between Honey and Maple Syrup


Honey can change colour, texture, and crystallise depending on storage circumstances. These are, however, natural variations and do not indicate that honey is spoiled. In addition, honey has no set date of expiry. Therefore, it is suitable for consumption as long as it is in your jar. Your honey will only expire if it gets contaminated by moisture, so make sure never to get water into your honey jar. 

Maple syrup is particularly prone to mould growth due to its density. You can keep a sealed bottle of maple syrup indefinitely, but you can only use it for roughly a year after opening it. Therefore, keep sealed bottles of maple syrup in a cool, dry place. It’s best to keep it refrigerated once you open it. 

Glycemic Index

Compared to honey, maple syrup has a lower glycemic index. For example, the average glycemic index of seventeen different varieties of honey is 58, while maple syrup has a glycemic index of 54. Therefore, honey is best for low-fat diets, while maple syrup is best for low-calorie, low-carb, and low-glycemic-index diets. In addition, there is a difference in the average serving sizes of honey and maple syrup. For example, honey has a smaller serving size than maple syrup as it is thicker than maple syrup.

Vitamins and Minerals

Honey has more B3, B5, and B6 and vitamin C and folate than maple syrup. In contrast, maple syrup contains a vitamin that honey does not: vitamin B1. Minerals like iron, phosphorus, and copper are all higher in honey. On the other hand, maple syrup has higher magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium. Honey has a lower salt content. It also contains three times the amount of riboflavin than maple syrup. 


At first glance, honey and maple syrup contain similar calories. Pure maple syrup contains 52 calories per tablespoon. A one-tablespoon serving of honey contains around 64 calories. Moreover, depending on the amount you use, the calories add up in your dish. The numbers are similar in small amounts, but they show a drastic rise in calories when you take bigger measurements. For example, a cup of maple syrup has 840 calories, while a cup of honey contains 1,031 calories. 


Honey does not contain fat. Therefore, it lacks saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In a tablespoon of pure maple syrup, the fat is 0.1 grams, almost negligible. It contains a minute amount of the three subcategories of fat.

Use in Cooking

Since honey is sweeter, you need to reduce the amount if you’re substituting it with maple syrup. But on the other hand, maple syrup has a strong maple flavour. Therefore, it can cause changes in the taste of your food. Nonetheless, honey and maple syrup work well for cereals, baked goods, granola, and muesli. Honey’s thicker consistency works well in marinades and salad dressings, where it can adhere to other ingredients, but maple syrup’s thinner consistency works well in baked goods.

Health Benefits of Honey

Helpful for Weight Loss

Honey burns body fat even while you sleep. Therefore, it is one of the most effective foods for weight loss. Before going to bed, doctors recommend taking a tablespoon of honey. You can also drink honey with warm water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Having it early in the morning boosts your metabolism, which helps you lose weight faster, as proven by research. Honey is also beneficial to your general health.

Boosts Immune System

Honey contains numerous therapeutic characteristics that work as a natural treatment for a sore throat. It fights against illnesses caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. According to research, buckwheat honey contains the most antioxidants. It can help increase immunity over time when eaten daily, so honey is considered one of the most refined immunity-boosting foods. You can eat honey before breakfast or even before exercise to provide an extra energy boost for the entire day. 

Nourish Your Skin and Face 

Honey’s hydrating and nourishing nature makes it an ideal moisturiser for the skin. Raw honey hydrates dry skin. It also moisturises chapped lips throughout the winter. Honey masks are trendy for skin tone correction. In addition, it treats wounds, bruises, cuts, burns, and other infections on your skin because it is a natural antiseptic. Therefore, honey is one of the most effective home remedies for beautiful skin.

Honey Improves Your Memory

Honey, the everlasting sweetener, offers several health benefits, including improving memory and attention. It also enhances memory and brain ability, making you a healthier person overall. Honey consumption reduces metabolic stress and helps calm and soothe the brain, enhancing memory over time. In addition, honey has inherent antioxidant characteristics. It aids in improving the cholinergic system, circulation, and memory loss-preventing cells in the brain.

Cough Remedy at Home

Honey is an effective home treatment for dry and wet coughs. A tablespoon of honey, according to research, can also help to relieve throat inflammation. Honey is the recommended natural cough cure, especially for children, because it relieves nocturnal cough and allows proper sleep.

Dandruff Remedy

Honey is an effective natural dandruff cure as it nourishes dry hair. It also makes your hair silky and soft. To prevent hair loss:

  • Combine honey and lavender with green tea.
  • Combine two teaspoons of honey and an equal amount of vegetable oil in a bowl and apply them to your hair.

Honey is Used to Treat Wounds

Bacteria that dwell on your skin can infect and infiltrate the wound site after any skin damage. Honey can kill these bacteria. Therefore, honey can treat wounds because of its antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant qualities. 

Assists in Sleeping

Are you having difficulties sleeping? Before going to sleep, try drinking warm milk with honey. This beverage is simple to prepare. To induce sleep, add a teaspoon of honey to a glass of hot milk or 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey to a cup of chamomile tea and enjoy. It calms your mind and stimulates relaxation to promote sleep. 

Relieve Sinus Problems 

Many people nowadays suffer from sinus problems due to increased pollution and dust. Sinuses are tiny chambers in the skull that produce mucus to protect the respiratory system from infections and allergies. However, when you have infections, the viruses obstruct our sinuses, trapping air and mucus and causing discomfort. 

Honey is a natural antibacterial liquid that aids in healing infections and reducing inflammation. A study shows that these properties of honey help in treating sinus problems. Honey also calms the throat, lowers coughs, and boosts the immune system, resulting in fewer sinus problems.

Gum Disease Treatment

Honey’s antibacterial and anti-infection characteristics aid in treating and healing gum diseases. Regular usage of honey can help treat teeth and gum disorders like gingivitis, bleeding, and plaque to a large extent. In addition, the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide from honey prevents germs from growing. You can use raw honey mixed as a mouthwash. Rub honey directly on the damaged gums for immediate relief from pain, inflammation, and other periodontal disorders.

Health Benefits of Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup is Rich in Antioxidants 

According to a study, pure maple syrup contains 24 different antioxidants in the form of phenolic compounds. These antioxidants reduce free radical damage that can cause inflammation and contribute to the formation of various chronic diseases. Therefore, select darker maple syrups since these contain more beneficial antioxidants than lighter syrups.

Acids like Benzoic, gallic and cinnamic acid and different flavonols such as catechin, epicatechin, rutin, and quercetin are the primary antioxidants in maple syrup. While most are present in low concentrations, others are found in higher amounts to compensate. 

Lower Score on the Glycemic Index

The glycemic index measures how quickly a particular food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a GI score of 55 or below are low glycemic foods. For example, pure maple syrup has a glycemic index of 54, which is low. In contrast, pure honey has an index of 58 and table sugar has an index of 65.

However, remember that too much sugar is one of the major causes of most common health concerns, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, so you should take maple syrup in moderation. 

Could Protect You From Cancer

While some experts suggest that sugar can cause or contribute to cancer in certain people, maple syrup appears to be a considerably less dangerous sweetener. Maple syrup contains antioxidants that give protection from DNA damage and cancerous mutation. In addition, a study shows that darker maple syrup reduced gastrointestinal cancer cell growth. An active ingredient suppresses cancer cell proliferation, and the amount of this active ingredient increases with the darkening syrup colour. 

Maple Syrup Protects the Skin’s Health

Like raw honey, maple syrup can help reduce skin inflammation, redness, pimples, and dryness. In addition, maple syrup can hydrate skin while minimising bacteria and indications of irritation when combined with raw milk or yoghurt, rolled oats, and raw honey. Finally, maple syrup leaves the skin clean and supple and protects from toxins. 

Sugar Substitute for Better Digestion

Candida, IBS, leaky gut syndrome, and other digestive system illnesses worsen by consuming refined sugar. Reducing refined sugar intake and replacing it with moderate amounts of natural sweeteners is one of the most important measures you can take to cure leaky gut and autoimmune illnesses. The majority of artificial sweeteners produce gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating, cramping, and constipation. Maple syrup can be a far better choice in baked products, yoghurt, oatmeal, or smoothies to keep the digestive tract in better form, free of additives and the damage caused by a high-sugar diet. 

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Regarding potassium and calcium, maple syrup includes a significant amount of zinc and manganese. Manganese is essential for fat and carbohydrate digestion, calcium absorption, control of diabetes, and brain and nerve function, and zinc can help you fight disease and enhance your immunity by keeping your white blood cell count up.

Potential Concerns of Honey and Maple Syrup

Choosing between honey and maple syrup is not always about nutrition or flavour. Honey, for example, is generally avoided by vegans because it is an insect by-product. However, those who follow a vegan diet may want to sweeten their food with maple syrup, made entirely of plants.

Honey should be kept off-limits for infants as it contains minute levels of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism poisoning in newborns. Even in baked goods or packaged preparations, use maple syrup or other sweets for children under 12.


When used in moderation, honey and maple syrup can be a nutritious addition to any diet, sweetening everything from early oatmeal to traditional dinner time dishes. You may have a personal favourite based on your nutritional goals or taste preferences, but neither is necessarily better than the other. It all depends on your needs and taste preferences. For instance, those looking for lower GI foods might prefer maple syrup. Maple syrup has a glycemic index of 54, whereas honey sits at 58. 

While they both contain healthful nutrients, they are still sugars. Maple syrup is a better option if you want to reduce calorie intake or have more stable energy levels. If you’re looking to cut back on fat intake or get more vitamins in your diet, consider using honey.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is maple syrup healthier than honey?

A. It depends on your preferences and if you are suffering from any conditions. For example, if you have diabetes, then maple syrup in limited amounts is better than table sugar and honey as it is lower in the glycemic index when compared. On the other hand, maple syrup has fewer calories if you want to maintain a particular weight. But if you’re going to lose weight, honey helps you lose weight. So as you can understand you have to choose which one is good for you according to your condition. 

Q. What is worse for you, maple syrup or honey?

A. There is nothing good, wrong, or worse regarding food items. It depends on individuals and their respective conditions, which one is more suitable for them. For example, if you have diabetes, then maple syrup in moderation is better than honey as it is lower in the glycemic index. But if you’re going to lose weight, honey helps the most. 

Q.Which is better for diabetics, honey or maple syrup?

A. Maple syrup is slightly lower in the glycemic index than honey. However, it is still a sweetener with sugar content. Therefore, the quantity of maple syrup should be limited. So it is better to consult a doctor to know the correct amount of maple syrup that you can take. 

Q. Why is maple syrup better than sugar?

A. Maple syrup has more nutritional properties than refined sugar. When it comes to offering protective antioxidants, maple syrup nutrition is impressive. Pure maple syrup contains up to 24 different antioxidants and is better than sugar. 

Q. Is 100% pure maple syrup healthy?

A. Yes, it is far better than sugar, which has empty calories. It contains nutrients. Two tablespoons provide a significant quantity of manganese and the B vitamin riboflavin and trace calcium, potassium, and zinc levels. Pure maple syrup is also high in antioxidants.

Q. Is maple syrup healthy for weight loss?

A. If you want to reduce weight or enhance your health, you should avoid sweeteners altogether and instead use maple syrup. It has lower calories than sugar and honey. However, keep the amount in moderation. If not talking about calories, honey is a better choice for losing weight as it boosts metabolism. 

Q. Is maple syrup Keto?

A. Unfortunately, maple syrup contains 100% sugar, making it impossible to utilise on a keto diet. A keto diet has foods rich in fat and protein with minimum carbs, so maple syrup being a sweetener with sugar is out of the question. 

Q. Does maple syrup need to be refrigerated?

A. Refrigerating maple syrup will slow the formation of mould. For example, if a jar of maple syrup is kept outside and not checked frequently enough, mould can grow in the syrup to spoil the flavour. So it is better to refrigerate it, especially after opening the bottle. 

Q. Can people with diabetes eat maple syrup?

A. Maple syrup is slightly lower in the glycemic index than honey. So, people with diabetes can eat it in moderation. Therefore, make informed decisions.

Q. Is honey healthier than golden syrup?

A. Golden syrup is made up of sugar and water. Therefore, it is in no comparison healthier than honey. However, honey is a natural sweetener with nutrients, whereas golden syrup is empty calories. Therefore, honey is more nutritious than golden syrup.  

Q. Can vegans use maple syrup?

For vegans, maple syrup is the finest sweetener option. The sap, which is the single ingredient in maple syrup, is extracted without harming the trees, making it a completely “green” alternative. Maple syrup is vegan because it contains just pure Maple Sap.

  • When buying maple syrup, check for the following characteristics: Golden in colour, with a delicate flavour. Make sure it’s made with pure maple syrup.
  • The first and most obvious step is to double-check the ingredients to make sure it’s made entirely of pure maple syrup, not maple “flavour” or high-fructose corn syrup. There could be a mix, but if you truly want to taste the good stuff with nutritionally adequate features, it has to be just syrup, no other ingredients.

About the Author

Gunjan Sooden graduated from Delhi University with a degree in nutrition and dietetics. She is passionate about helping people understand the value of healthy eating, cooking, and food & nutrition in their fitness journey. Eating healthy, she believes, should not be boring. With experience as an intern in the food sector, she is best at exploring and producing recipes using local, day-to-day ingredients. This generation differs from the previous one. We need to figure out quick ways to make our regular meals healthier and more delicious. Because this is our current way of life, we must balance being busy while still being able to eat healthily, right?

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