Potassium, Manganese, Calcium, Magnesium...oh my!


To what do we owe the sweetness of maple syrup? 

Maple syrup is:

  • 50 to 75 % sucrose (table sugar)
  • up to 10 % glucose
  • up to 4 % fructose


Why does maple syrup have so much more flavor than sugar (i.e. sucrose)? Although maple syrup is mostly sucrose, it is still a complex mixture of other chemicals, including but not limited to:

  • minerals: manganese, potassium, magnesium and calcium
  • vitamins: such as riboflavin (or vitamin B2), niacin and vitamin A
  • organic acids: mostly malic acid and trace amounts of citric acid, fumaric acid and succinic acid

Let’s not forget that maple syrup also contains high amounts of another chemical, dihydrogen monoxide, aka water!

If you’re interested in learning more about synthetic sweeteners, you should check out Hasan Khan’s posts on aspartame and sucralose, neotame, saccharin with special natural guest, stevia.

 Want to learn more about the nutritional content and how maple syrup is made? Check out these resources:

Maple syrup nutritional facts by the New Brunswick Maple Syrup Association Inc.

Chemistry of Maple Syrup by Stephen Childs for the Cornell Maple Bulletin 202 (2007) and adapted from C.O. Willits and C.H. Hill 1976. Maple Syrup Producers Manual. USDA Agriculture Handbook No. 134 and North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual, 2nd ed, 2006.

The chemical composition of 80 maple syrup samples produced in North America by Jackie G. Stuckel & Nicholas H. Low, Food Research International, Vol. 29, Nos 34, pp. 313-319, 1996. 

Image Credits:

Canada/Canadian flag via Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of:  http://chemicalsareyourfriends.com/sliders/maple-syrup-eh/

Dori Ross


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