Is it healthier to add honey to your cereal in the morning or sugar? Find out the which sweetener is the better choice.
Ideally, people would satisfy their sweet teeth by enjoying a piece of fruit, but in the real world most people like to splurge with a cookie, piece of cake, or a sweet coffee drink on occasion. Some of the more virtuous ones bake their own healthy treats using all natural ingredients. Instead of adding table sugar, they reach for the jar of honey for a natural touch of sweetness. Is this really better from a nutritional standpoint? When it comes to honey vs.sugar, which is really the healthier choice?
Honey vs. Sugar: The Big Debate
The issue of honey vs. sugar has always been a subject of debate with many health conscious eaters claiming that honey is the better choice because it’s natural and mostly unprocessed. This rich, golden sweetener – the product of hard-working honey bees – has earned a reputation as being a healthier source of sweet. Some people even buy raw honey that’s completely unprocessed and unheated – in the hopes of being healthier.
Honey vs. Sugar: Is Honey Better for Blood Sugar Control?
Honey and table sugar are both made up of two simple sugar molecules – glucose and fructose. Honey also has some other carbohydrates including sucrose and maltose. Honey and sugar are processed by the body in much the same way. They both have similar glycemic loads meaning they affect blood sugar and insulin levels about the same – meaning honey offers no advantage over table sugar in terms of blood sugar control.
Honey vs. Sugar: Which One is Lower in Calories?
A teaspoon of honey has around twenty-three calories, while a teaspoon of table sugar only has about sixteen; but this effect evens itself out since honey is a little sweeter than table sugar meaning you need less of it. All in all, it’s about even in terms of calories to get the same degree of sweetness, although many people prefer the richer taste of honey to that of table sugar.
Honey vs. Sugar: Nutritional Value
Honey has a little edge here since it does have small amounts of B vitamins, iron, calcium and zinc as well as low levels of antioxidants, but these are present in such minute concentration that you’d have to eat a calorie load of honey to get any real nutritional benefits. Honey may best be eaten for its taste rather than for its nutritional value.
The Bottom Line?
Honey doesn’t offer a great deal of health advantages over table sugar, so it’s best to eat both in moderation. One precaution, if you use raw honey, never give it to children under the age of two since it can contain botulism spores that can cause illness in young children due to their immature immune systems. Use whichever sweetener you enjoy – but do it in moderation.