Is Maple Syrup the Next Big Athletic Drink?

By Mike Pomranz |
FWX UNTAPPED MAPLE SYRUP GEL

Courtesy of UnTapped

A Vermont-based company believes they’ve found the secret to enhanced athletic performance, and this all-natural product is what the state is most know for.

UnTapped is selling what’s billed as “sport-packaged maple syrup.” Each portable, squeezable energy-gel packet contains nothing more than “100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup (That’s It.)”

So what qualifies glorified tree sap as the perfect “athletic fuel”? The Guardian spoke with Ted King, a professional cyclist who sponsors the product: “’I like to talk about this, so bear with me," he warned, before launching into a detailed explanation of why—apart from tasting better (some find it even too sweet)—syrup’s low glycemic index, antioxidant levels and simple ingredients have made it his go-to performance booster for years, including on the Tour de France.

Scientists who spoke with The Guardian seemed to have varying opinions on the subject. Tim Perkins at the University of Vermont’s Maple Research Center agreed that the sugar in maple syrup would certainly give you a boost, and the natural mineral content may have benefits. On the other hand, nutritionist Ben Greenfield said, “I’ve seen zero studies.”

Whether maple syrup is a panacea for athletes needing a boost or anyone in search of energy, there’s probably not anything wrong with adding a little syrup to your diet. If anything, price could be an issue, with packets retailing for $1.99—reportedly more than other athletic fuels.

Still, UnTapped proclaims they want to “bring maple to the masses.” Maybe they wouldn’t mind bringing some pancakes to the masses, too?

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