Honey Vs. Sugar Which Is The Better Choice? Know About The Nutrition, Benefits And Downsides

Last updated on October 17th, 2023 at 01:37 pm

In our efforts to eat healthy, we often find ourselves struggling with the sugar dilemma. We always hear grim warnings about sugar’s negative impact on health – from weight gain to increasing risk of chronic diseases. We come across a sweet alternative that seems too good to be healthy- honey. Well, is honey the answer to our sugar issues or is it just another sweet myth?

Honey and sugar are both carbs made primarily of glucose and fructose, which are used as sweetening agents in several packaged foods and cuisines. Well, both sweeteners can contribute largely to weight gain if overused.

Well, honey stands out for being healthier may be partially right, but honey isn’t considered a healthy food. So which sweetener is healthier? Let’s dive into this article to know more.

Honey Basics

Honey is obtained from the nectar collected from flowers by the bees. This thick element is usually taken in liquid form and can range in colour from pale yellow to dark brown. Honey is mainly made up of water and two key sugars – fructose and glucose. It also contains a minimal amount of:

  • Enzymes
  • Amino Acids
  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Minerals
  • Antioxidants

The antioxidants found in honey are grouped as flavonoids that are credited to have anti-inflammatory traits, which offer some amazing health incentives.

However, the exact nutritional content of honey differs based on its origin. There are more than 300 varieties of honey which include:

  • Alfalfa
  • Wildflower
  • Tupelo
  • Golden blossom
  • Eucalyptus

Each variety of honey has a unique taste and colour. For instance, buckwheat honey is a dark honey known for its malty flavour, while firewood honey is a lighter version, that’s translucent in colour and has a tea-like taste.

No matter which type of honey you have, any variety can easily spike blood glucose levels.

Benefits Of Honey

The key mantra to reap its benefits without letting go of sweetness is to use a minimal amount of honey.

It comprises trace amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Raw honey may assist in easing allergies.

Honey is naturally higher in fructose than glucose, while fructose is sweeter than glucose. So, the rule of thumb is to use a smaller amount of honey in your food or drink without forgoing sweetness.

Additionally, the minimal amount of nutrients in honey may also contribute to added health incentives, however, these amounts are very scarce.

Raw, unpasteurised honey contains trace amounts of local pollen, which may aid in soothing allergic reactions.

Some of the other additional health benefits honey offers include:

  • It may combat germs owing to its antimicrobial traits
  • It may speed up the wound-healing process and cure minor wounds
  • It offers respite from cough and sore throats

Moreover, honey goes through minimal processing than sugar and needs pasteurization only to become table-ready. It can also be eaten raw.


Honey is marginally higher in calories per serving than table sugar.

It’s mainly made up of sugar.

It is not safe for infants younger than 1 year. As it contains bacterial spores that may cause botulism in infants.


Sugar is composed of a mixture of glucose and fructose, which bond together to form sucrose. It has no added vitamins or nutrients. It is a calorie-laden carbohydrate, which is obtained from sugar beet and sugar cane plants. It needs several processes before it attains the refined, granulated table sugar that we commonly use.

There are several types of sugar including white, brown, and raw sugar are the most used.

Brown sugar is a blend of white sugar and molasses and may contain a trace amount of nutrients. It’s used mainly in baking.

Raw sugar is a moderately refined type of white sugar. It’s light brown and contains larger crystals. It doesn’t differ nutritionally from white sugar.


  • It is a naturally occurring sweetener
  • It’s lower in calories per serving than honey
  • It has an extended shelf-life

Sugar is the main source of fast fuel; the brain needs 130 grams of carbohydrates to function well daily. This natural sweetener is also low in calories, with a teaspoon containing about 16 calories.

It can be easily used in baking and cooking and is typically low-cost and readily available.


Sugar can elevate your risk of certain diseases.

It can contribute greatly to weight gain.

Eating excess amounts may cause your energy to rise and drop sharply.

Consuming too much sugar can increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It is a common substance used in several processed foods, so you may eat excess of it than you realize, which can eventually lead to weight gain.

Diabetes should be even more mindful of their sugar intake, as it can cause blood sugar to surge. If taken in larger quantities than your system needs, sugar can offer a quick supply of fuel followed by a sharp drop in energy level.

Simple Tips For Cutting Down On Sweeteners.

People reach for sugar and honey out of routine habit get accustomed to the taste in beverages and food and miss out on jerks of sweetness when we forgo them. So rather, than totally avoiding either one, you may be benefitted by limiting intake.

Try adding a quarter teaspoon of honey in your tea or half a teaspoon of sugar in coffee instead of a full serving. Follow the same trick while having your breakfast cereal and yogurt. For baking reduce the sugar by one-third or go for brown sugar which may have less impact on taste than you may expect.


Sugar and honey the two preferred and largely used sweeteners have very different tastes, textures, and nutritional value. You may observe that you prefer the molasses taste and texture of brown sugar for baking yet wish to add honey to your morning toast. Experimenting with each while watching out for the amount you use can help you decide which is best for you.

Honey may have a better reputation, but both honey and sugar can have negative impacts on your health if used in excess. The rule of thumb is all added sugars should be used in moderation. Diabetic or heart patients or those worried about managing weight and maintaining their health should consult with a dietitian about their dietary needs and work with them to create a better nutritional plan tailored to meet their health needs and goals.

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