Honey vs. Sugar: Which Sweetener Should I Use in Daily Life?

Honey vs. Sugar: Which Sweetener Should I Use in Daily Life?

When you start making  a cup of hot tea, do you reach for honey or sugar?

Although both may add sweetness to your drink but their nutritional benefits vary.

Honey and sugar both are carbohydrates composed primarily of glucose and fructose. They’re used as ingredients in many  prepackaged foods and recipes used in daily life. 

Please note, Both can result in weight gain if overused.

Honey’s reputation for being healthier may have some basis, but honey isn’t considered to be a health food. So which is healthier? Here’s what you need to know.

Honey vs. Sugar: Which Sweetener Should I Use in Daily Life?

Honey Basics

Bees use the nectar of the flowers to create honey. This thick substance is typically consumed in liquid form and it can range in color from pale yellowish to dark brown.

Honey is primarily composed of water and two sugars: fructose and glucose. 

It also contains trace amounts of:


amino acids

B vitamins

vitamin C



Many of the antioxidants present in honey are classified as flavonoids. Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties, which may also provide you some health benefits.

The exact nutritional makeup of honey varies which is based on its origin. 

There are more than 300 varieties of honey, including:




golden blossom


Each variety of honey has a different color and flavor. For example, buckwheat honey is a popular dark honey which is known for its malty taste. 

Fireweed honey is a light variety that’s nearly translucent in colour and has a tea-like flavor.

No matter which type you prefer, any variety of honey can spike blood sugar levels.

What are the benefits of honey?

* Pros 

You can use smaller amount of honey without sacrificing sweetness.

It also contains traces of vitamins and minerals.

Raw honey may help to alleviate your allergies.

Honey contains higher fructose than glucose. Fructose is sweeter than glucose, so you you can use a smaller amount of honey in your food or drink without sacrificing sweetness. The trace amounts of vitamins and minerals found in honey may also have many added health benefits.

Honey also provides additional health benefits:

It may help to kill off germs due to its antimicrobial properties.

When used as a salve in form of gel, it may help to promote healing in wounds and minor burns.

It may also help to ease coughing and even sore throats.

Overall, honey goes through less processing as compared with sugar. Honey can also be eaten raw.

Are there downsides to honey?

* Cons

Honey is high in calories.

It’s primarily made up of sugar.

Honey may not be safe for infants younger than a year. This is because it contains bacterial spores that can cause botulism in infants younger than a year.

At around 22-25 calories per teaspoon, honey is high in calories. This is especially true to use it with care if you have health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, or obesity.

Honey vs. Sugar: Which Sweetener Should I Use in Daily Life?

 Sugar Basics

Sugar is made up of a combination of glucose and fructose, which combines or bond together to form sucrose. 

It has no additional vitamins or nutrients.

A calorie-dense carbohydrate, sugar is derived from sugar cane and sugar beet plants. It requires various steps for processing before it becomes the refined, granulated table sugar that we use most often.

Out of the different types of sugar, white, brown, and raw sugar are the most commonly used.

Brown sugar, it is a combination of white sugar and molasses, and may contain some trace nutrients. It’s primarily used in baking.

Raw sugar, it is a less-refined version of white sugar. It’s light brown in color and contains larger crystals and it doesn’t vary nutritionally from white sugar.

Other types of sugar form includes powdered, turbinado, and muscovado sugar.

What are the benefits of sugar?

* Pros

Sugar is a naturally occurring substance.

It’s low in calories.

It has a long shelf life.

As a carbohydrate, sugar has a potential source of fast fuel. Your brain needs around 132 grams of carbohydrate daily to function. This naturally occurring substance is also low in calories, with a teaspoon containing about 15-18 calories.

White sugar has a long shelf life and it is also easy to use in baking and cooking. Sugar is basically low cost and easily accessible.

Are there downsides to sugar?

* Cons

Sugar can increase your risk of certain diseases also.

It can cause weight gain.

It may be harder to digest as compared to honey.

Eating too much sugar can also increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Sugar is the most common ingredient in many processed foods, so you may eat more of it than you realize. This can lead to weight gain and obesity too.

People with diabetes should watch their sugar consumption, as it can cause blood sugar level to spike.

If consumed in amount greater than your body needs, sugar can provide a quick burst of fuel followed by a sharp drop in energy. Your body may find it harder to digest sugar than honey, because it doesn’t contain enzymes.

Also Read : How Applying Honey to Your Face Can Help Your Skin  || Benefits of using honey for the face 

Tips for cutting down on sweeteners

Try using about half a teaspoon of honey in tea or half a packet of sugar in coffee, instead of serving a full teaspoon. 

You can try the same trick with breakfast cereal and yogurt as well. 

If you use sugar when baking, reduce the amount by one-third.

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