There is a lot of debate about sweeteners and the Paleo diet. My opinion is just that; my opinion: I consider maple syrup to be Paleo, and I am a fan of real maple syrup as a sweetener… in moderation.
Maple Syrup versus White Sugar
Maple tree sap is a natural unrefined sugar. The water in the sap is boiled away to create a concentrated syrup. What remains are naturally occurring trace minerals and antioxidants. That is all there is to the refining process.
White table sugar is highly processed with chemicals and machinery. Little beneficial minerals or antioxidants remain. Is that good or bad? I will leave that for you to decide and I encourage you to do your own research.
Is it Paleo?
I personally do not doubt that ancient North Americans saw the thin sticky sap running out of maple trees in the spring, stuck their finger in it, tasted it, and enjoyed that bit of sweetness. They probably didn’t boil it down to concentrate the sugars like we do today, but I find it hard to believe that they didn’t utilize the sweet, thin, and watery raw sap in some way.
For a comparison of other natural sweeteners, go to Natural Sweeteners and Paleo Cookies