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What are the Benefits of Using Honey Instead of Sugar

You might think that sugar and honey are both sweeteners, so there shouldn't be much difference between the two, right? Well, let's take a closer look and see for ourselves. Honey and sugar are both made up of fructose and glucose. However, as sugar is made by an industrial process, vitamins, enzymes, nitrogen, protein and organic acids are destroyed during processing. Honey is subject only to a short heating process which leaves these nutrients intact. It also contains antimicrobial properties and antioxidants that are not found in sugar.

Teaspoon for Teaspoon

One tablespoon of honey contains roughly 64 calories, while an equal amount of sugar contains about 46. Of course, since honey is sweeter than sugar less of it is needed to achieve the same level of sweetness, so calorically the two are probably pretty close to even.

When you consider the honey to sugar conversion, honey is more expensive than sugar (ounce for ounce), but again this tends to balance itself out as a jar of honey seems to last a lot longer than a pound of sugar. I have found that recipes that require ¼ cup of sugar or more are plenty sweet with just a teaspoon or so of honey.


The sucrose in sugar is bonded, so when we consume it the molecules must be separated by the digestive enzymes in our stomach before it can be used as energy. This is not the case with honey, as during its production the bees add an enzyme that divides the natural sucrose into fructose and glucose, which can both be easily digested on their own.

Honey also has a lower glycemic index, which means it has less of an impact on blood sugar. This makes it a healthier option, as the sugars are released into the bloodstream more slowly, making digestion easier. This is especially beneficial to diabetics or those at risk of diabetes.

Vitamins and Minerals

Processed sugar is often referred to as empty calories, as it is devoid of anything that is beneficial to the body. It contains no vitamins or minerals, so it must draw upon the body's own nutrients to be properly digested. When the body uses up these nutrients the metabolizing of certain fatty acids and dietary cholesterol is impeded, which could have negative health implications over the long term.

Excessive consumption of sugar is one of the reasons so many overweight and obese individuals actually suffer from malnutrition. Those interested in watching their weight and eating a healthier diet would benefit considerably from switching from sugar to honey.


 Opinions differ on this subject, but to me honey tastes much better than sugar, as it has its own unique flavor and consistency. I like keeping a few different kinds of honey in the pantry so I can use them for different applications. Some taste better by themselves, while others are better at sweetening certain recipes.

The Bottom Line

Given the obvious health benefits honey has over sugar it is a pretty easy choice for health conscious individuals. The delicious taste can be considered a welcome bonus.

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