April 3rd, 2017

First-ever Global Symposium Convenes to Review Latest Science on Natural Sweetener

SAN FRANCISCO, April 3, 2017 – The first-ever global symposium, solely dedicated to sharing the latest scientific discoveries on the potential health benefits of 100% pure maple products from Canada, took place on April 2 in San Francisco at the 253rd annual meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the largest scientific society in the world. At the symposium, entitled “Chemistry and Biological Effects of Maple Food Products,” scientists from around the world shared the results of their research that expands the science of maple’s potential impact on several areas affected by chronic inflammation. These include metabolic syndrome, brain health and liver disease, as well as maple’s emerging link to a healthy gut microbiome.

The global symposium was organized by Dr. Navindra Seeram, who currently serves as chairman of the Division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Seeram has extensive experience examining the impact of phytonutrients in foods such as berries and pomegranates. In collaboration with the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, Dr. Seeram has been studying the unique properties of maple in his laboratory at the University of Rhode Island since 2009. The results of his research stimulated the interest of the global scientific community, which has uncovered additional health benefits of pure maple products.

A new University of Rhode Island study, highlighted at the symposium, revealed the presence of inulin, a type of carbohydrate recently discovered for the first time in maple syrup. Inulin is a complex carbohydrate (natural dietary fiber) that acts as a prebiotic and works to encourage the growth of “good” or beneficial bacteria in the gut. Inulin joins the other beneficial polyphenols, vitamins and minerals already identified in pure maple syrup. This latest discovery could allow maple to be classified as a functional food.

In addition, a new study conducted on animals, also revealed at the symposium, focused on the beneficial effect of a symbiotic (prebiotic and probiotic) maple sap drink in recovering gut flora balance, which can be lost for several reasons, including treatment with antibiotics.

“A healthy gut, with a balance of beneficial bacteria, helps to stimulate and support a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system, then, can help protect the body against chronic inflammation,” said Dr. Seeram. “Chronic inflammation has been shown to have a potential link to brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. As such, this research provides additional information linking pure maple syrup, a unique natural sweetener, to brain health. However, additional animal studies, along with eventual human studies, would be required to confirm these initial findings.”

This year, two newly discovered additional compounds with antioxidant properties and potential health benefits have been identified in the lignan family, bringing the total count of known phytonutrients in maple products to 65. This may help support discoveries made over the past few years on the inherent properties of maple syrup from Canada that comes directly from the sap of the maple tree, making it an all-natural product with unique health benefits. Discovered in 2011, a unique, polyphenolic molecule in maple syrup, Quebecol1, and one of its analogues (isoquebecol, recently synthesized), have demonstrated that it significantly decreases the production of inflammation mediators.

“The 7,500 Quebec-based maple producers are committed to pursuing funding of new research to help further identify the positive health impacts of pure maple,” said Serge Beaulieu, President of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. “This is why we have chosen to work with Dr. Seeram along with other researchers. Dr. Seeram’s tremendous experience studying the impact of phytonutrients in plants and fruits has propelled maple research since he began studying the natural sweetener in 2009. There is still much to discover about maple’s health benefits, and the scientific community has only uncovered the tip of the iceberg. We will continue to allocate resources to research on maple products to discover its impacts on the human body.”

Inflammation is a normal part of a healthy immune response, and is a biological process that helps heal injury and fight infection. When inflammation becomes uncontrolled or chronic, it plays a role in exacerbating a variety of health-related issues. There are several ways to help prevent and combat chronic inflammation. A diet rich in foods that contain polyphenols, such as green tea, red wine, fruits and vegetables – and potentially pure maple syrup from Canada – may be beneficial for supporting a healthy immune system.

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers does not promote an increase of sugar consumption. When choosing a sweetener for moderate use, it appears that 100% pure maple syrup from Canada has more healthful compounds compared to some other sources of sugar.

About the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers and Maple from Canada

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ) was founded in 1966. Its mission is to defend and promote the economic, social and moral interests of some 7,500 Quebec maple businesses, as well as to develop initiatives that collectively market the products that flow from Quebec’s 44 million taps. The quality work of these maple producers has made Quebec the source, on average, of 72 percent of the world’s maple syrup production and 90 percent of Canada’s maple syrup output. Together, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia contribute the other 10 percent of Canadian production.

FPAQ proudly promotes the reference brand Maple from Canada in addition to coordinating the international promotion and value creation of Canadian maple products on behalf of Canada’s maple industry. In this capacity, the FPAQ leads and directs the research efforts of the Réseau international d’innovation des produits d’érable du Canada

April 1st, 2011

Maple Syrup May Pack Similar Health Benefits to Those Found in Berries, Tea, Red Wine and Flax Seed

New York – April 1, 2011 – There’s more good news about pure maple syrup from the University of Rhode Island (URI). Researchers there have now identified 54 compounds in maple syrup from Canada, double the amount previously reported, and many with antioxidant activity and potential health benefits. In laboratory studies, they acted as anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agents. Initial studies also suggest that maple compounds may inhibit enzymes relevant in Type 2 diabetes management.

These new findings were presented on March 30th at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, CA, during a day-long session exclusively examining the bioactive compounds found in natural sweeteners. The session was organized and chaired by Dr. Navindra Seeram, assistant pharmacy professor at URI and a lead scientist on the maple syrup research team.

According to the URI research team, maple syrup contains a cocktail of polyphenol compounds, several with antioxidant properties and many with well-documented health benefits. “We found a wide variety of polyphenols in maple syrup,” said Seeram. “It is a one-stop shop for these beneficial compounds, several of which are also found in berries, tea, red wine and flaxseed, just to name a few,” Seeram continued. “Not all sweeteners are created equal. When choosing a sweetener, pure maple syrup may be a better choice because of the range of antioxidant compounds not found in other sweeteners.”

Maple syrup may prove to be relevant in Type 2 diabetes management, although the findings must be verified in clinical trials. “We discovered that the polyphenols in maple syrup inhibit enzymes that are involved in the conversion of carbohydrate to sugar,” said Seeram. “In fact, in preliminary studies maple syrup had a greater enzyme-inhibiting effect compared to several other healthy plant foods such as berries, when tested on a dry-weight basis. By 2050, one in three people will be afflicted with Type 2 diabetes and more and more people are looking for healthier diets, so finding a potential anti-diabetic compound in maple syrup is interesting for the scientific community and the consumer,” said Seeram.

Five of the 54 antioxidants in maple syrup were identified for the first time in nature, and are unique to the natural sweetener. Among the five new compounds never before identified, one polyphenol is of particular interest. Given the common name of Quebecol, in honor of the province of Quebec, this compound is created during the process of boiling down maple sap into maple syrup. “We don’t know yet whether the new compounds contribute to the healthy profile of maple syrup, but we do know that the sheer quantity and variety of identified compounds with documented health benefits qualifies maple syrup as a champion food,” commented Seeram, whose findings have recently been published in the Journal of Functional Foods. Dr. Seeram’s work at URI is supported by a grant funded by The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, in conjunction with the Conseil pour le développement de l’agriculture du Québec (CDAQ) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) on behalf of the Canadian Maple Syrup Industry.

Attendees at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting also heard promising results from other Canadian researchers who are studying the health benefits of maple syrup. “Part of our New Generation of Maple 2020 strategy is to work with talented scientists to discover and share more knowledge about maple syrup. We are excited that this line of research receives interest from all over the world,” says Serge Beaulieu, President of the Federation and member of the Canadian Maple Industry Advisory Committee. Geneviève Béland, Marketing Director for the Federation, adds “Maple is the most important food derived from the pure sap of trees, and given its amazing potential for human health and great nutritional value, it is a natural choice for a healthy lifestyle.” The Federation’s members produce about 80 percent of the worldwide supply of the natural sweetener.

About the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers was founded in 1966 with the mission of defending and promoting the economic, social and moral interests of its 7,400 maple family farms and businesses. These men and women are working together to collectively create quality standards, knowledge and market their products. Quebec is responsible for 93 percent of the Canadian production and close to 80 percent of today’s global maple syrup output. The Federation is proud to lead the Canadian Maple Innovation Network in the name of the entire Canadian maple syrup industry. Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia contribute 7 percent of the total Canadian production.

The University of Rhode Island’s research grant was co-founded by the Federation, CDAQ and AAFC. Funding of CDAQ is provided through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) program. AAFC has been able to provide financial support for maple syrup research through the program “Growing Canadian Agri-Innovations.”