Maple syrup as sport nutrition
Maple syrup is 100% pure and natural, much loved and well known by Canadians, especially at breakfast time. Our understanding of its make up has increased greatly very recently as researchers characterized not just mineral and vitamin content, but also the nature of the sugars present and other compounds with significant antioxidant properties. It is well known, especially among Eastern Canadian athletes, as a great refuelling choice, particularly for endurance sports as an energy gel or, diluted, as an energy drink. In the last 12 months several companies, Brix, Rekarb and Endurance Tap in Canada and Untapped in VT, USA have started producing maple syrup in packaging developed specifically for sports.
Maple syrup differs from other sweeteners in that it is a source of minerals and antioxidants as well as carbohydrate. So how does it compare?
Source: The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers
Riboflavin (vitamin B2), zinc and manganese are required for carbohydrate breakdown and energy metabolism, as well as other vital functions.
Pure maple syrup contains many active antioxidant elements, like polyphenols and vitamins. Recent scientific research discovered that it combines many families of antioxidants, some of which are also found in berries, tea, whole wheat, flax seed and red wine, making it a great source of antioxidants, similar in strength to broccoli or bananas; the darker the maple syrup, the higher the antioxidant activity.
There are slightly fewer calories in maple syrup than equivalent volumes of other sugars, and these are absorbed slightly more slowly. This may be advantageous for the athlete especially when it’s combined (for example in a home-made energy bar) with other quickly absorbed sugars. It appears that one of Quebec’s most loved natural product, maple syrup, is set to take off as manufacturers of sport nutrition products strive to find the next best ingredient to offer their customers. Just remember, you can very easily use Canadian maple syrup at home to make your favourite natural energy gel or even sports drink.
630 ml water, 30 ml fruit juice, 60 ml maple syrup, 30 ml lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt:
Mix all ingredients until salt is dissolved. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Drink ad enjoy!
XACT will previewed a beta version of their soon-to-launch FRUIT2 maple energy fruit bar at Montreal’s salon du vélo, the Montreal Bike Show, February 2016. XACT tea-boy and chief bottle washer, Lawrence Colsell, said that XACT will make FRUIT2 maple available via your local specialty run, bike or outdoor store in May 2016.
FRUIT2 Maple will be the first Canadian brand to use maple syrup as an ingredient in an energy product for sports. Using Maple syrup instead of glucose syrup confers several advantages that are of interest for any athlete : true to XACT’s philosophy, fantastic taste, but also a source of potassium, minerals and vitamins as well as being lower glycemic index. Oh yeah, it’s vegan too, like all FRUIT2 and FRUIT3 bars.
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