Honey VS Sugar: Is There a Difference?

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Sugar and honey are often compared because both sweeteners are similar in so many ways. For one thing, sugar and honey contain glucose and fructose. That’s why the taste is extremely similar between these sweeteners. But beyond the taste, everything about honey is different from your average table sugar. And in today’s post, we are listing down the difference between these popular sweeteners:

Calorie Content

One of the most glaring differences between honey and sugar is their caloric content. A tablespoon of table sugar yields about 46 calories whereas the same serving of honey yields 64 calories. However, honey is sweeter than sugar. This means, to sweeten your food, you will use more sugar than honey and this can quickly increase your caloric consumption. A can of coke contains 10 teaspoons of sugar and a regular chocolate bar contains 7 teaspoons of sugar!

You will also save more money on honey compared to sugar. Sure, a small pot of honey is more expensive than a large bag of sugar but you will end up saving more money on honey because you will use less of the product.

Glycemic Index

The chemical compositions of these sweeteners are different too! Table sugar is made up of sucrose while honey is made up sucrose that’s transformed into glucose and fructose. Sucrose is made up of two molecules that are bonded together. But honey’s sucrose is divided into glucose and fructose thanks to a special enzyme produced by bees. This makes honey easier to absorb by the body compared to sugar.

In addition, honey has a healthier Glycemic Index or GI than sugar because it does not cause the blood sugar level to spike and plummet. Sugar causes the blood sugar level to increase and decrease rapidly. In the long term, unstable blood sugar level can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some forms of cancers, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases.

Nutrient Content

Sugar does not have any nutritional value. That’s why sugar-laden foods contain what is referred to as “empty calories.” When empty calories are burned, the body is unable to metabolize cholesterol and fatty acids. This leads to obesity, tissue damage and fatty deposits in the organs. This is the reason why obese and overweight individuals are addicted to sugar and develop fatty liver.

On the other hand, honey is comprised of 2% minerals, vitamins, pollen and protein. It has a modest amount of vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and certain amino acids. Honey also contains iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. Between sugar and honey, the latter is clearly more nutritious.

Manufacturing Processes

Sugar is often made from sugar cane or sugar beets. But these extracts are processed to a point that all nutritional value is removed. During the processing, protein, vitamins, minerals, organic acids, and nitrogen elements are removed from the sugar cane or beet extract. The end product is white crystals with zero nutritional value. On the other hand, raw honey is not processed so the nutritional value of the sweetener is retained.


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