Honey and maple syrup may both be sweeteners sold as more natural alternatives to refined sugar, but their similarities practically end there. For starters, maple syrup is man-made, produced from heating the sap of the maple tree, while honey is a natural product produced by bees from pollen as a food source. Nutritionally, honey and maple syrup are both made primarily of carbohydrates, though of very different types. Furthermore, their composition of fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and other components also differs vastly.
Of the 216 g of carbohydrates in a cup of maple syrup, 192 g are from sugars. Of the 279 g of carbohydrates in a cup of honey, 278 g are from sugars, with .7 g coming in the form of dietary fiber, of which maple syrup has none. The sugars in maple syrup are primarily in the form of the sucrose, with some glucose and fructose. In honey, the sugars are primarily in the form of fructose and glucose with some sucrose. Sucrose is a complex sugar that breaks down into the simple sugars fructose and glucose.
A cup of maple syrup has 840 calories, 835 of which come from carbohydrates and 5.4 of which come from fats. Maple syrup has 1 g of total fat in the form of saturated fat, while honey contains no fats at all. Both honey and maple syrup have no cholesterol. A cup of honey contains 1,031 calories, 1,027 of which come from carbohydrates and 3.4 of which come from proteins. A cup of honey has 1 g of protein while maple syrup has none.
Honey contains more vitamins than maple syrup. Honey is a significant source of vitamin C, of which maple syrup has none. Honey also has vitamin B6, niacin and folate, while maple syrup does not, and contains four times more riboflavin. Maple syrup does, however, contain thiamin, which honey does not. They both contain pantothenic acid, although honey contains twice as much.
Maple syrup contains more minerals than honey. Maple syrup has considerably more calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper per serving than honey. Maple syrup is also a significant source of the mineral manganese. Both honey and maple syrup contain equivalent proportions of phosphorus, sodium and selenium. Honey contains fluoride, whereas maple syrup does not, and has about half the sodium content.
Other Nutritional Components
Honey contains amino acids, whereas maple syrup does not. Maple syrup contains twice as much water as honey. In a 2009 study published in the "Journal of the American Dietetic Association," both maple syrup and honey were both found to contain "intermediate antioxidant activity," with a daily intake of 130 g providing approximately the equivalent antioxidant capacity of a single serving per day of nuts and berries.
- "Journal Of The American Dietetic Association"; Total Antioxidant Content Of Alternatives To Refined Sugar; K.M. Phillips, et al.; Jan. 2009
- Chemistry For Everyone: "The Chemical Composition Of Honey"; David W. Ball; Oct. 2007
- University Of Vermont Libraries and The Agriculture Network Information Center: Maple Syrup - Nutrition And Recipes