Mark writes:”There are a lot of articles on the internet about how real maple syrup contains has phytochemicals that help prevent diabetes. As a type 2 diabetic but also someone who considers myself well able to discount the latest “miracle cures,” I’m wondering whether there’s any research to back this up. Is there any benefit for people who are already diabetic?”
The buzz about maple syrup and diabetes does in fact have some published research to back it up. There are a series of studies, all done by the same researcher (and funded in part by the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers), which have identified a variety of antioxidants and polyphenols in maple syrup that have a variety of potential effects on human health.
It’s not really that surprising: Most plant foods contain antioxidants of one type or another. Most antioxidants have beneficial effects on some cell function or other. But it’s quite a leap to conclude that consuming maple syrup will help prevent or ameliorate diabetes in humans–especially in view of the fact that maple syrup is a concentrated source of sugar.
The presence of a few “anti-diabetic compounds” doesn’t cancel out the effect of maple syrup on your blood sugar. At most, the research suggests that maple syrup might be a better choice than refined white sugar–but neither one should be consumed in anything but small amounts.