Here is a picture showing the relationship between insulin and glucagon. Both are hormones that are responsible for regulating our blood sugar. Insulin is secreted in higher amounts based on high blood sugar levels, and glucagon is secreted in high amounts in response to low blood sugar. Check out this website for more details on how the pancreas and liver play a role in keeping our blood sugar within a normal range.
When I think about the intricacy of my body and its many functions I feel the need to treat it properly. But how often am I thinking about my pancreas? Almost never.
It's easy to ignore my body and react to food situations on autopilot. This morning I had to have French toast. When I wandered sleepily into the pantry and noticed a brand new loaf of sprouted wheat bread, French toast was the first thing that came to mind. I eat French toast very seldom, so when I do, it's a special treat. I put my uber-expensive jar of pure maple syrup in a glass of hot water to heat it up. To the eggy, milky mix I always add black pepper and cinnamon. It's an old habit. This morning I devoured three perfectly crisp (I don't do soggy French toast!) pieces smothered in Earth Balance and syrup.
Okay, so it's eight hours later and I'm actually thinking about my pancreas. Why? Probably because shortly after my delicious breakfast I went back to bed and slept another two hours. Blood sugar crash? It's possible, but perhaps I was still just tired from waking up. I did a little research and found that maple sugar is generally considered to have a low GI.
According to GI News, maple syrup has a glycemic index of 54. According to the Maple Syrup Federation, the GI can vary quite a bit, but averages lower than agave and corn syrup.
According to the Official Glycemic Index Database, high GI is considered 70+, medium 56-69 and low GI is 55 and under. This site also lists pure Canadian maple syrup to have a GI of 54.
To add my own two bits about maple syrup in general, I love the pure stuff because it is sweet and subtle, but it baffles me how the pure syrup tastes less maple-y than artificially-flavored syrups that I used to eat when I was a kid. May Mrs. Butterworth's rest in peace!