Honey and maple syrup (natural sweeteners)

Honey and maple syrup are natural sweeteners that can provide cyclists with a healthier alternative to refined sugars. These sweeteners offer quick energy, antioxidants, and some nutrients that can support overall health and performance.

Honey is a sweet, viscous substance produced by bees from the nectar of flowering plants. It contains primarily glucose and fructose, along with trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Maple syrup is a sweetener made from the sap of maple trees, which is boiled down to concentrate the sugars. It contains primarily sucrose, along with small amounts of minerals and antioxidants.

Honey and Maple syrup

List of honey and maple syrup variants:
  • Raw honey
  • Manuka honey
  • Clover honey
  • Wildflower honey
  • Buckwheat honey
  • Grade A maple syrup (light, medium, or dark amber)
  • Grade B maple syrup (darker, more robust flavor)
  • Organic honey or maple syrup
  • Infused honey (e.g., lavender, cinnamon, or lemon-infused)
  • Flavored maple syrup (e.g., vanilla or cinnamon-infused)
Benefits for the cyclist:
  • Provide quickly absorbed carbohydrates for energy during exercise
  • Contain antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and support recovery
  • Offer a more natural alternative to refined sugars and artificial sweeteners
  • May help soothe sore throats or coughs (particularly honey)
  • Can be used as a natural energy gel or added to homemade sports drinks
  • Maple syrup contains small amounts of minerals like zinc, manganese, and potassium
Energy value:

Both honey and maple syrup are calorie-dense, providing approximately 60 calories per tablespoon (15 ml). They are primarily composed of simple sugars, which can provide quick energy for cyclists.

When to consume:
  • Before the ride: Consuming honey or maple syrup 15-30 minutes before a ride can provide a quick energy boost.
  • During the ride: Adding honey or maple syrup to water or homemade sports drinks can help maintain energy levels during longer rides.
  • After the ride: Using these sweeteners in post-ride snacks or meals can help replenish glycogen stores and support recovery.
Other tips:
  • Choose raw, unpasteurized honey for maximum health benefits, as it retains more antioxidants and enzymes.
  • Opt for pure maple syrup, rather than maple-flavored syrups, which often contain refined sugars and artificial additives.
  • Use honey and maple syrup in moderation, as they are still high in calories and sugars.
  • Experiment with using these sweeteners in homemade energy bars, granola, or baked goods for a natural energy source.
  • Be aware of the glycemic index of honey and maple syrup, as they can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels.

Honey and maple syrup are natural sweeteners that can provide cyclists with quick energy, antioxidants, and some nutrients. By using these sweeteners in moderation and strategically timing their consumption, cyclists can support their energy needs and overall health. However, it's essential to remember that these sweeteners are still high in calories and sugars, so they should be used as part of a balanced diet and not as a replacement for whole, nutrient-dense foods.