New Year’s Resolution: Sweeten your Life, Locally

The holidays are here! At this time of the year we are reflecting on the year behind us and many often look to a new year’s resolution to start things off right. 

So in the spirit of the season may we suggest a realistic resolution that will help you support your local economy. 

Swap your Sugar

Now this resolution isn’t promising any dramatic weight loss – but what it’s offering is a small chance to start thinking more about the sugar you consume. 

White sugar (cane and/or beet) is almost 100% sucrose which is quickly absorbed and can cause rapid increases in blood sugar. Enough of these spikes over time can lead to metabolic issues (pre-diabetes, weight gain, etc.). Maple syrup is also mostly sucrose, but contains trace minerals that have biological/nutritional value and influence blood sugar regulation (i.e. magnesium) and how quickly our body absorbs the sugar. Thus, the rate at which it raises blood sugar is a bit slower than straight sucrose (white sugar). Honey is primarily comprised of fructose (the main sugar in fruits) which takes longer to absorb and, thus, raise blood sugar. The higher the fructose levels in the honey, the slower honey increases blood sugar. Not to mention the immune benefits of local, raw honey.

These aspects of honey and maple syrup give it a slight health “edge” over white sugar.  It is important to remember, however, that sugar is still sugar and all, regardless of source, is best consumed consciously and in moderation.

We here at Taste the Local Difference also really love the fact that satisfying your sweet cravings with local honey and syrup will directly benefit local Michigan producers, in turn helping create a more healthy community. 

We challenge you to take on this locally focused New Year’s Resolution, or create one of your own (like only eating locally purchased proteins or only getting french fries from restaurants that hand punch them from Michigan potatoes). Below are some fun ways to locally sweeten up your life! 

3 Ways to Use Maple Syrup. 

 1. In your next salad dressing! 

 2. Add it to your locally roasted coffee. 

 3. Use it as a touch of sweetness to savory dishes, like curried squash soup or polenta. 

3 Ways to Use Honey

 1. Perfect for a cup of tea on a cold Michigan snow storm day. 

 2. A drizzle on summertime Michigan fruits topped with Egyptian Dukkah. 

 3. Glaze carrots with honey for holiday get-togethers! 

How do you include Maple Syrup and Honey in your diet? You can find local honey and syrup at

Alex Palzewicz is the UP Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference. Need more of an incentive to reduce your refined sugar intake? Check out one of her favorite Ted Talks by Chef Jamie Oliver that promises to have you consuming more honey in no time. Contact her at [email protected]