Is Honey Healthier Than Sugar?

honey-41I get a lot of emails asking about honey and whether or not it’s nutritionally superior to table sugar. So, let’s take a look.

First things first, honey is natural. Table sugar, on the other hand, is heavily refined. But just because something is natural doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for you. Lard is natural. Dog poop is natural. Snake venom is natural. I wouldn’t recommend eating any of them. Natural isn’t a synonym for healthy.

Honey is sweeter than table sugar, so less is needed to achieve the same level of sweetness. However, honey also contains more calories - so when it comes to sweetness per calorie, honey and table sugar are pretty similar. It is worth noting that, unlike table sugar, honey does contain some nutrients like vitamin B2, vitamin c, calcium, zinc, potassium, etc. But these vitamins and minerals occur at just trace levels and won’t do much to help meet government guidelines.

There’s also some science on the subject. One study found that honey may be beneficial in reducing glucose intolerance. In a separate study, researchers found that honey can help lower the body’s glucose levels when compared to dextrose and sucrose. On the flip side, honey is 40% fructose - and there are numerous studies linking fructose to various ailments and diseases.

Before your head starts to spin, let’s keep things simple. Table sugar isn’t good for you. And even though honey might be slightly better, it’s still a very unhealthy food choice. It’s like asking which is better: A head-on collision at 55 mph or 50 mph? While 50 mph is slightly better, neither collisions is advisable. And so is the case with sugar and honey.

If you really want to eat something healthy, go munch on some broccoli.

P.S. Keeping in mind that honey is calorie dense and packed with carbohydrates, it can be a good source of energy if you’re engaged in some sort of endurance activity - like a long kayak ride or hike. In that case, go for it! But in everyday life, most of us are getting way too much sugar and far too many calories.

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  1. Whoa, I read that whole diatribe, but I don’t think you answered your own question~! YES OR NO perhaps? Content is lacking, at best.

  2. Tom Flanagan says:

    So what should I put on my pancakes?

  3. Nora if you read it again he actually makes the point that in everyday life you should avoid both.

  4. @Tom Flanagan: on you pancakes you could put: strawberries; sliced banana with some cocoa powder; almond milk; unsweetened home made peanut butter

  5. To simplify things, when looking at a sweetener then raw Cain sugar is a better start then bleached sugar (“normal” sugar)
    Honey is better then sugar (for tea and as a condiment)
    If you can agave is even better then honey, but as a sweetener only, as far as baking you want raw sugar.

    You should never use bleached sugar or flower.
    And never, never, never use artificial sweetener.

  6. christopher says:

    sugar is by far a very big no no.honey in moderation.

  7. I use honey a lot instead of sugar, thinking it is fairly healthy. But it is not? This is quite the dissappointment.

  8. This is kind of shocking, I believed as Kayleight did that honey was a healthier alternative. Guess I should do my homework next time.

  9. Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Spending some time and actual effort to generate a
    really good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate
    a whole lot and never seem to get anything done.

  10. I have switched from black tea to green tea and from white sugar in my tea to honey, I can not drink it without some kind of sweetener in it, so what should I put in my green tea?


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