Is honey healthier than table sugar?
Honey is a sweet thick liquid made from bees. It is made up of glucose and fructose, some protein and trace (not much) amount of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
It is used as a natural sweetener in tea, coffee, smoothies, baking, cereals and so much more. Sugar contains 49 calories per tablespoon, while honey has 64. But, honey is sweeter than sugar, so less may be needed to achieve the same sweetness.
The flavour of a particular type of honey will vary based on the types of flower from which the nectar was harvested.
Types of honey:
Raw honey is removed from the hive and bottled directly, and will contain trace amounts of yeast, wax, and pollen.
Pasteurized honey has been heated and processed to remove these impurities.
So, it is better to choose raw honey as some of the beneficial compounds might be reduced in the process of pasteurization.
Some studies have shown that honey has an:
Anti-inflammatory effect: Reduces inflammation, soothes and minimize scarring in wounds.
Antimicrobial effect: Inhibitory and/or killing bacteria, fungus, parasites.
Antioxidantal effect: Hunt and prevents formation of free radicals.
Immunological effect: Stimulating the body’s immune system to fight infections.
Some have shown it to even prevent gastric pain and shorten the duration of diarrhoea. It’s proven to be effective as a treatment for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria, though, a common cause of stomach ulcers. It’s also a prebiotic, meaning it nourishes the good bacteria that live in the intestines.
It is also used as a cough suppressant when mixed in tea with lemon juice. (1 or 2 teaspoons)
Are there any risks?
It can carry a harmful bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum. This is particularly dangerous for babies. Raw honey should never be given to an infant less than a year old!
How to include honey in your diet:
- Use honey to sweeten your dressings or marinades.
- Stir honey into coffee or tea.
- Drizzle honey on top of toast or pancakes.
- Mix honey into yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal for a more natural sweetener.
- Spread raw honey over whole grain toast and top with peanut butter.
As a general rule, use ¾ cup of honey for every one cup of sugar, reduce the liquid in the recipe by 2 tablespoons.
Although honey is a high carbohydrate food, its glycaemic index is 32 to 85, depending on the type of flower it is made off. I would still not recommend it to diabetics.
Many studies show that honey has lots of positive nutritional and health effects, if consumed at higher doses of 50 to 80 g per intake.
Well, that is quite a lot my friend…
You can also get those benefits from other foods without the calories.
It is up to YOU to decide.
Just be mindful when using honey, honey.
- Bogdanov S, Jurendic T, Sieber R, Gallmann P. Honey for nutrition and health: a review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 Dec;27(6):677-89. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2008.10719745. PMID: 19155427.
- Ajibola A, Chamunorwa JP, Erlwanger KH. Nutraceutical values of natural honey and its contribution to human health and wealth. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012;9:61. Published 2012 Jun 20. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-61