Let’s Get Sappy: Maple Syrup over Sugar

By: Daniel Csete

Dan The Baking Man’s cookies are a paleo-friendly sweet-treat, and so they are not sweetened like your average cookie that is full of added refined sugar. Instead, DTMB uses a light touch of maple syrup and vanilla extract as a sweetener. Dan The Baking Man cookies have a small amount of added sugar (1g) compared to your typical cookie that has about 8g of sugar which means that DTBM has about ⅛ of the sugar of a regular cookie!  

The paleo diet is a diet based on the foods humans ate during the paleolithic era and consists mostly of nuts, fish, eggs, meat, fruit, and healthy fats. It does not allow processed foods, refined grains and sugars,  legumes, most dairy, artificial sweeteners, and trans fats. Most ‘healthy’ desserts claim to have no sugar, but instead contain artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners may be calorie free but the effects of consuming them regularly are not worth it. Most artificial sweeteners are made in labs, contain no calories or sugar, but also have no added minerals, fiber, or antioxidants. Sugar alcohols are also created synthetically and also have been known to cause bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort in some people. The primary sweetener in Dan’s cookies is maple syrup – which is cultivated by tapping into the bark of a maple tree, collecting the sap and concentrating it. Maple syrup, unlike most other sugars, does have some nutritional value – and has solid amounts of manganese, iron, calcium, and potassium. Since maple syrup is a plant-based product, it is also rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants. Animal studies on mice showed that it could lower cholesterol and inflammation in the liver. The research on maple syrup and its effect on the brain is just beginning, but it appears that it may be vital in preventing the tangling of certain proteins in the brain that lead to Alzheimer's and also neurodegenerative diseases. 

Vanilla extract, which is one of the most popular flavoring agents in the world, is also used as a sweetener in DTBM products. Vanilla extract is extracted from the pods of certain matured orchids and in addition to its versatility in the culinary arts, there is also evidence that it may be good for your health. The most researched compound in vanilla is vanillin and research has shown this compound has several beneficial properties: it is an antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory. While the concentration of many of these properties is low in vanilla extract, and only small amounts are used in cooking, it still yields an overall positive effect as it adds flavor, is completely natural, and can help reduce your added sugar intake – it has only 0.5g per teaspoon. 

The DTBM team has found a way to create a satisfying treat that is sweetened with ingredients that do not spike blood sugar levels and that add vital vitamins and minerals into your diet.