Honey Vs Sugar: Is Honey Healthier?
09-02-2018 | Posted By: Shagun Parasher | 2485 View(s)
What do you reach out for when you brew a cup of hot tea, sugar or honey? Both are food sweeteners but differ in their nutritional benefits. Honey and sugar are carbohydrates that contain glucose and fructose. However, in sugar, in the manufacturing process, the organic acids, nitrogen elements, enzymes, vitamins and proteins in the sugar cane are destroyed. In case of honey, just minimal heating is required. Honey also has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which are not present in table sugar. Here are some key myths and facts which we discuss in this post; Honey vs Sugar
Basics: Honey Vs Sugar
It is essential to know the basics of anything before forming notions about it. We all have heard about honey being the “The nectar of Gods”. Sugar is considered bad for the health, but is it only the sugar? Let us first start with the basics of both, Honey and Sugar and find out.
Basics of Honey
Honey is obtained as a result of the nectar collected by the bees from flowers. It is found in liquid form which has a thick consistency. It can range in colours from being pale yellow to dark brown.
It’s composition: honey is composed primarily of water and two major sugars: Glucose and Fructose. It also consists of various enzymes, amino acids, B vitamins, Vitamin C, Minerals and antioxidants. The antioxidants found in honey are classified under flavonoids that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Nutritional Makeup: Honey is an excellent source of simple carbohydrates which can instantly provide energy. It consists of 75-80% sugar. Due to the presence of extraordinary levels of fructose, honey is sweeter than sugar. It has 18%-25% of water content. It is often said the lesser the water content of honey; better is its quality. Honey consists of 2% of minerals and vitamins which can help in metabolising undesirable cholesterol and fatty acids in the body and thus preventing obesity.It consists of 64 calories in one tablespoon. This makes honey energy dense.
Pros of Consuming Honey
Honey has more levels of fructose than glucose, which leads to more sweetness. This indicates you can use a smaller amount of honey as compared to sugar in your foods and drinks without sacrificing the sweetness. The little amounts of vitamins and minerals present in honey can benefit you more than sugar. It can also help in desentisizing allergic reactions. It is anti-microbial in nature. When used as a salve in gel form, it can assist in healing the wounds and minor burns.It may also help deal with coughing and sore throats.
Also Read : Top 10 Ways to Use Honey For Weight Loss!
Downsides of Honey
Honey consists of 64 calories per tablespoon, and that is high. It only includes sugar primarily. Therefore it must be used sparingly. People who have diabetes, heart diseases and obesity should keep a check on the amount of honey they can consume by checking it out with a doctor.
Warning for the Babies
Honey can be dangerous to the infants. This is because of the bacteria spores present in honey that can cause botulism in infants. This can make the infants ill. Therefore, it is advised not to give honey to the infants. In some cultures, Honey is given to a baby when he or she is born. It is not advisable at all. Even the smaller quantity of honey has the capacity of making the infant suffer from botulism.
This was about the basics of Honey. To move further in this post of Honey vs Sugar, we need to talk about the Sugar basics as well. Here are they.
Basics of Sugar
Sugar is formed by a combination of glucose and fructose which bind together to form sucrose. Since its manufacturing involves a lot of processing, sugar lacks in vitamins and nutrients, unlike honey.
Its Derviation- Sugar is derived from sugar cane and sugar beet plants. It requires multi-step processing before it reaches our tables. Now while talking about sugar, one may ask about its different types. Sugar has three common forms, brown sugar, raw sugar and the white sugar we usually eat. Brown sugar is comprised of white sugar and molasses. This type of sugar may have some traces of nutrients. It is primarily used for baking.Raw sugar is a less refined form of white sugar. It is light brown in appearance and has larger crystals. Raw and white sugar doesn’t vary in their nutritional content.
Nutritional Makeup of Sugar
Sugar is just 100% Sugar. No vitamins and minerals are present in sugar like honey. This makes honey a better option.Here are the Pros and cons of eating Sugar
Pros of Sugar
The recommended dietary allowance for carbohydrates per person (adults) is 130 grams. That is what our brain requires to function. Sugar is an excellent source of fast fuel a.k.a carbohydrates to the body. It is also low in calories. One spoon of sugar contains 16 calories approximately. It has a long shelf life, easily accessible and low cost.
Cons of Sugar
It can increase the risk of certain diseases- eating a lot of sugar can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. It can also cause weight gain and obesity.
It can be harder to digest- while being very energy dense; it might be difficult for some people to digest it because it doesn’t contain any enzymes, unlike honey.
So these were the benefits and downsides of sugar.
Benefits of Honey over Sugar: Is it Really Better?
• A lesser amount of honey is required- Honey has more calories than sugar, but we need it in a smaller quantity as compared to sugar, since it is sweeter. In the long run, honey is more expensive but can be used for a longer time if used economically.
• Honey is slowly absorbed- sugar is made up of sucrose which is bonded together by two molecules. When we take sugar, our stomach has to use its enzymes to digest it before we finally use its energy. Whereas in honey, fructose and glucose are two sugars present separately because of the presence of a specific enzyme that divides the nectar into these two sugars. The stomach does not have to use its enzymes to break it anymore since they are absorbed directly into the body. Hence, Honey vs Sugar, the glycemic index or GI of honey is lower than sugar. This indicates that it is absorbed at much faster rates in the body. The smaller the Glycemic Index rating, the slower is its absorption in the bloodstream. This gradual uptake also indicates a healthier digestion process.
• Honey is nutritious- Table sugar undergoes a lot of processing before it becomes suitable for consumption. This, therefore, leads to sugar lacking in minerals and vitamins that honey already possesses. Hence, sugar is often called as ”empty calories”. In Honey vs Sugar, we recommend you to take honey and not sugar if you are planning to shed some kilos since honey will be a smarter choice.
Also, taste-wise honey has a better flavour over sugar. It can prove to be a better sweetener in preparing certain dishes and beverages.
Sugar and Honey are two very widely used sweeteners that have very different tastes, textures and health benefits. You may find that some people may enjoy the taste of sugar more than honey. It depends on the personal preferences and the dish that’s on your table. Therefore, taking both of Honey and Sugar in limited quantities does not harm the health.
Honey has a better reputation in the eyes of many but sugar and honey both used in excess can pose some health risks to a person, and therefore, none of both is BETTER over another.
This was about the Honey vs Sugar; Is Honey Better? We hope you enjoyed reading the post. Do share the post if you like it. Take Care and Stay Healthy and Happy.