Think sweet, and the first thing that comes to your mind is sugar. We often relate sweetness to table sugar, but we tend to overlook the fact that multiple other types of natural sweeteners can replace it. The most common and naturally available substitute for sugar is honey. The two sweeteners are quite different from each other in terms of texture, taste, composition, and nutritional content, even as both honey and table sugar feature natural sugars like glucose and fructose that are responsible for their sweetness. However, the composition of each of these carbohydrates differs, leading to differences in nutritional values. Let’s have a look at some of the major reasons why you need to choose honey over sugar.
Sugar vs. Honey
Sugar or sucrose contains the two monosaccharides – glucose and fructose. Every sucrose molecule has one molecule each of these two simple carbohydrates, making sugar 50% fructose and 50% glucose. As for honey, it roughly has around 38% fructose, 31% glucose, 17% water, and 7% maltose, along with some other carbohydrates, sucrose, minerals, enzymes, vitamins, etc., in smaller quantities. The composition may vary for the different flavors of honey. Though both honey and sugar majorly contain glucose and fructose, the differences in their sweetness and textures are due to the varying quantities of sucrose.
As mentioned above, table sugar is pure sucrose, containing empty calories with no nutritional value. Honey has several essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and nutrients that are mainly responsible for its various health benefits. Pure, unprocessed honey contains riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, and more in small quantities.
A tablespoon of sugar contains 48 calories, while a tablespoon of honey has 64 calories. Although honey has more calories, it is sweeter than sugar due to a higher quantity of fructose that exists freely and is not bound to glucose, as in the case of table sugar. The high-calorie content of honey is the reason why it needs to be eaten in moderation. Moreover, when replacing sugar with honey, you need not use the same quantity as sugar, considering that a relatively small amount of honey can bring the same sweetness to your dishes, desserts, or beverages.
4. Glycemic Index
The Glycemic Index or GI indicates how quickly a certain food item causes your blood sugar level to rise. The GI of honey is 58, but it varies as it is available in several flavors. The GI of some of the flavors of honey may be less if that flavor has less fructose compared to the others. Table sugar, on the other hand, can have a GI of anywhere between 58 and 65. Compared to honey, sugar can increase blood sugar levels faster due to high fructose content and a lack of minerals.
5. Health Benefits
The benefits of honey far surpass the benefits of sugar. This natural sweetener has long been used as a medicine for its healing properties. It can suppress cough, heal wounds, treat diarrhea, provide nutrition, help with weight loss, and boost immunity, among other things. Its natural antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties help you resist and fight infections, skin diseases, respiratory conditions, and digestive problems. On the contrary, excessive use of sugar should be avoided as it can lead to multiple health problems in the long run.
6. Flavors and Types
Sugar comes in various forms such as white, brown, powdered, muscovado, turbinado, and raw among others. The major difference between them is the degree of processing, size of the crystals, and quantity of molasses. Honey is available in various natural flavors like clove, ajwain, litchi, mustard, acacia, neem, sidr, eucalyptus, multiflora, and many more. Each of these flavors has unique health benefits, making it a great addition to your daily diet.
Why Should You Avoid Sugar?
When consumed excessively, sugar can be harmful to health. Besides causing weight gain, it increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression, and heart problems. Constant excessive intake of sugar can also cause fatty liver and frequent fluctuations in energy levels. It speeds up the skin aging process and leads to acne development. Sugar also causes kidney problems, cavities, cellular aging, gout, and cognitive decline, among other things. Additionally, as mentioned above, sugar has no health benefits, and therefore should be avoided as much as possible.
Choose the Healthier Alternative
Going by the comparison above, it is quite clear that excessive use of sugar in your diet can cause serious health issues in the long run. While excessive use of honey is also not advisable, it is recommended that you include it in your diet in small quantities every day. Coming to the important question, should you replace sugar with honey? The simple answer is yes. Honey may have higher calorie content, but it is sweeter than sugar and can be added in a lesser amount for achieving the same sweetness. The presence of minerals, vitamins, and other vital nutrients is an added advantage. It is especially recommended during the ongoing pandemic for its immunity-boosting properties.
Additionally, it is vital to choose raw honey, which is unprocessed and unpasteurized to get all the health benefits. Wholesale honey suppliers like BeeHively refrain from adding artificial sweeteners like sugar or corn syrup and deliver honey in its purest form. So, if you are looking to buy honey in bulk, go for our unprocessed raw honey extracted sustainably from well-kept hives.