Is Honey Better For You Than Sugar?

Nicknamed “Nature’s Sweetener,” humans have likely been eating honey for hundreds of thousands of years. Not only for its sweet flavor, but for its reported medicinal properties, too.

Yet when you break it down, honey is basically sugar. It’s well-established that a high sugar diet is bad for you, so does the same apply to honey?

Let’s compare the two.

Honey vs. Sugar

Nutritional value of honey varies depending on the nectar around the hive, but on average this is how it looks against sugar:

honey-vs-sugar-nutrient-tableImage source.

Honey not only contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, but a good amount of water, too. Because of its water content, it contains less sugar and fewer calories than sugar when compared gram for gram.

So in terms of nutritional value, one teaspoon of honey is better than one teaspoon of sugar.

Studies comparing health effects

Too much added sugar in our diet can cause blood sugar levels to rise.

If our sugar level remains higher than normal for long periods of time, it can become harmful to our metabolic health.

But does the body respond differently to honey than it does sugar?

Comparing two groups of participants who were given equal amounts of either regular sugar or honey, researchers found that honey actually spikes blood sugar and insulin levels greater than sugar. This seems undesirable, however, blood sugar levels in the honey group then dropped lower than the sugar group, and remained lower for the next two hours (1).

The preferable effects of honey over several hours was observed in a similar study involving type 1 diabetics as well (2). This suggests that for both diabetics and non-diabetics, honey is slightly better than regular sugar from a metabolic health aspect.

The Verdict

Compared with regular sugar, honey is much more nutritious. However, the concentration of its vitamins and minerals is so low that it likely has little impact on health.

More notable is the high water content in honey, which means that gram for gram, honey contains a lot less sugar than regular table sugar. This difference seems great enough to influence how honey impacts our blood sugar levels, with both diabetics and non-diabetics respond slightly better to honey compared with equal amounts of sugar.

Environmental aspects aside, if you have the option for regular sugar or honey, honey is the better choice.

But just remember that while eating honey is better than sugar, eating neither is best.

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177 comments

W. C
W. C17 hours ago

Thanks.

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William C
William C18 hours ago

Thank you.

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Sonia M

Love honey and honeybees.Good post thanks for sharing

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Kristen S.
Kristen S2 years ago

Even low levels of vitamins are better than no vitamins... I mean with sugar your getting nothing, at least with honey you get a little extra help!

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

Honey also has other properties. It is an anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal too. I had a spot of round worm one time, took a spoon-full of honey every day and in no time it was gone.

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer H2 years ago

Even if the vitamin and mineral levels are low it is still better than sugar. I will always choose honey over sugar when given the option. Not to mention it tastes better!

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey2 years ago

We all eat too many calories anyway. Honey is nice as a treat.

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you

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Tetyana D.
Tetyana D2 years ago

And honey tastes better!

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