Is honey better for you than sugar?

Do you prefer honey or sugar when you brew a cup of hot tea? Although both may provide sweetness to your beverage, their nutritional health benefits differ. 

Honey has been consumed by us humans for thousands of years, and it is still one of the most popular sweeteners in modern society.

Many people say that honey is better than white sugar because you can get more antioxidants from it. Others say that honey isn’t any healthier than other sugars because all types of sugar have similar amounts of calories.

Honey and sugar are both carbohydrates that are primarily composed of glucose and fructose. They’re frequently employed in prepackaged meals and recipes. If consumed excessively, honey and sugar can cause weight gain. So what’s the truth about whether honey is better for you than white sugar?

honey sugar snippet image

Table of Contents

The basics of honey

Honey is produced by honeybees that collect nectar from flowers. The bees then take the plant-based liquid back to their hive, where they process it with enzymes in order to make it thicker and more concentrated.

Honey is essentially water and two sugars: fructose and glucose. It also contains traces of the following:

  • antioxidants
  • amino acids
  • B vitamins
  • vitamin C
  • minerals
  • enzymes

Honey, like other plant foods, contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants. Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory effects and may therefore provide some health advantages.

Honey has a diverse nutritional profile, depending on the location of production. There are more than 300 types of honey, here are a few of them:

  • wildflower
  • eucalyptus
  • tupelo
  • alfalfa
  • golden blossom

Honey comes in a variety of hues and flavours. Buckwheat honey, for example, is well-known for its malty flavour and is frequently seen as dark honey. Fireweed honey is a light type with a tea-like taste that’s almost transparent in colour.

No matter which type you prefer, any kind of honey can spike blood sugar levels.

eat honey

What Are The Benefits Of Consuming Honey?


  1. You may use a lesser quantity of honey without reducing the sweetness.
  2. Vitamins and minerals are present in it.
  3. Honey from local bees could be beneficial to allergy sufferers.

Honey is rich in antioxidants. Its antioxidant content is greater than that of white sugar or brown rice syrup, but not quite as high as agave nectar. Since honey has a low-glycemic index (GI), it doesn’t cause large fluctuations in blood glucose levels like high GI foods do.

This may make it suitable for people with diabetes and insulin resistance who want to reduce their carbohydrate intake without necessarily restricting calories or losing important nutrients from their diet. Raw honey with no additives or pasteurization has tiny amounts of local pollen, which might help reduce allergy reactions.

Honey has additional health advantages, including anti-oxidant activity and antibacterial effects:

  • It has antibacterial qualities, which may help to destroy germs.
  • It can assist with wound and minor burn repair when applied as a salve in gel form.
  • It is also good for treating coughs and sore throats.

Honey is less processed than white sugar. It just needs to be heated and then cooled before being eaten. Honey may also be consumed raw.

honey tastes sweeter

Can eating honey be bad for you?


  1. Honey is a high-calorie food.
  2. Sugar is the main ingredient.
  3. It’s not recommended for babies younger than a year.

If honey is commonly added to foods, then the overall calorie content of that food will increase. So eating too much could lead to weight gain and obesity over time if your daily intake exceeds your body’s energy needs.

This makes honey a high-calorie food like other sugars but with minimal nutritional benefits besides antioxidants. It may raise blood sugar levels more than white or brown sugar would so diabetics should monitor their glucose carefully after consuming it.

honey not suitable for infants

The basics of sugar

Sugar comes from either sugar cane or beets. Sugar cane is pressed down in order to extract its juice, which contains sucrose crystals. Beetroot plants are grown specifically for the purpose of making table sugar out of them. They’re chopped up into smaller pieces before being soaked in water so that the sugary solution can seep out over time.

Brown sugar is a mixture of white sugar and molasses, with the potential for trace nutrients. It’s primarily used in baking.

Raw sugar is a less refined form of white sugar. It’s a medium brown colour and has bigger crystals than white sugar. Raw sugar isn’t healthier in terms of nutrients than white sugar.

sugar beet

What Are The Benefits Of Consuming Sugar?


  1. Sugar is a natural component of many plants.
  2. It’s low in calories.
  3. It has a lengthy shelf-life.

Sugar is a source of calories. Consuming it can help you to feel full and therefore reduce your desire for other food.

It’s simple to find sugar in large supermarkets or health stores, whereas honey may require some research to locate the exact type you want (e.g., raw).

Consumption of small quantities of sugar won’t affect blood glucose levels dramatically since its GI index value is relatively low compared to most foods with concentrated carbohydrates. In contrast, consuming too much honey could spike blood sugar quickly unless you’re using it as part of mixed dishes containing nutrients from vegetables and proteins that slow down digestion rate which also stabilizes insulin secretion over time by slowing absorption into the bloodstream.

sweet tooth

Can eating sugar be bad for you?


  1. Sugars may raise your risk of a variety of illnesses.
  2. It might cause you to put on weight.
  3. It is more difficult to digest than honey.

Sugar has no nutritional value other than calories.

People who use too much sugar in their diet can develop obesity and related health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.

It’s been shown that people who eat a lot of added sugars tend to have poorer quality diets overall since they’ll be less likely to consume important micronutrients like vitamins and minerals which support the immune system and protect against diseases over time if consumed in insufficient quantities.

Consuming large amounts of added sugars may also increase your risk for tooth decay due to acid-producing bacteria on teeth when you sleep. So keep this point in mind especially if you don’t brush or floss regularly after eating sweets throughout the day.

high fructose corn syrup

How to cut down on sweeteners

Sugar and honey are frequently used as a result of habit. We become accustomed to the flavour in beverages and meals, and we miss that burst of sweetness when we don’t consume them. Instead of eliminating one completely, reducing your intake may be more effective.

Reduce your sugar intake by using half a teaspoon of honey in tea or coffee, instead of a full serving. You might also try the same technique with breakfast cereal and yoghurt. If you use sugar while baking, reducing the amount by one-third may not have as great an impact on flavour as you may think.

sugar in coffee

Something to think about

Brown sugar and molasses are two distinct sweeteners that have very different tastes and textures. You may discover that brown sugar’s molasses flavour and moisture appeal to you, but honey’s gentleness on your morning toast is more to your liking. Experiment with each while maintaining an eye on the quantity used to help you choose which is best for you.

Honey and sugar, on the other hand, might have detrimental health effects when taken in excess. If you have diabetes, heart disease, or are trying to maintain a healthy weight, consult with your doctor and dietitian to discuss your nutritional requirements. They can collaboratively develop a nutritious eating plan that is tailored to your specific needs.

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Oliver Wright

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