Sugar and Health
- Sugar is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose
- Sugar is higher on the glycemic index (GI) than honey, meaning it raises blood sugar levels more quickly
- Sugar can spike blood glucose levels faster than honey. This leads to a quick spurt of energy, followed by a sharp decline characterized by tiredness, headaches, and difficulty concentrating.
- Weight gain and obesity are associated with high sugar consumption, increasing the risk of illness.
- Dental caries or cavities develop faster and in more teeth with a high sugar diet.
- A high sugar diet is associated with less healthy and gut bacteria diversity. It may also increase the risk of chronic diseases.
- Sugar does not contain the enzymes that honey does, so is more difficult to digest
Sugar is addictive – it causes dopamine to be released in the reward center of the brain, which is the same response activated by addictive drugs. This leads to cravings and can drive overeating.
Honey and Health
- Honey contains 40 percent fructose and 30 percent glucose. The remainder of honey consists of: water, pollen, minerals, including magnesium and potassium
- Because honey is lower in fructose and contains other trace minerals, it’s processed and absorbed more slowly by the body than refined sugar. This means longer-lasting energy and a slightly less of a spike in blood sugar, which is easier on your body and digestive system
- A serving of honey contains small amounts of Vitamin C, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Folate and Vitamin B5, as well as calcium, potassium, zinc, selenium, iron, and manganese. Sugar offers nothing when it comes to extra nutrients
- Bees themselves have a serious array of beneficial bacteria within their own guts, and these probiotic bacteria can also be found in honey
- Studies have shown honey can fight a number of strains of bacteria and it also helps draw water out of tissue which can reduce swelling and discomfort if you have a sore throat. Refined sugar, on the other hand, is associated with increased inflammation which can cause infections to proliferate and last longer.
While both honey and sugar need to be consumed in moderation, if you’re looking for a way to sweeten up a treat or drink, honey is a clear winner when it comes to a less refined option with added health benefits. Honey contains antioxidants and small amounts of vitamins and minerals. It may offer some health benefits, but at the end of the day, it still should not be consumed excessively.