Described as ‘nectar of the gods’ – honey is often considered a natural, healthier sweetener than sugar but nutritionally the advantages are small. It really is just another form of ‘sugar’ like other syrups, agave, molasses and maple syrup. For anyone on a weight-loss diet or with diabetes, it still raises blood sugar levels and also like sugar, can contribute to weight issues and tooth decay.
Glucose, fructose and other sugars in honey
While sugar is 100 per cent sucrose, honey is made up of around 75 per cent sugars, of which roughly half is glucose and half is fructose (these proportions may vary depending on the source of the nectar). The remaining 20 to 25 per cent is water with a trace of protein, a trace of fat and a trace of fibre, which explains why honey has fewer ‘sugars’ or kilojoules/calories than sugar when you compare them weight for weight.
Compare: 100g white sugar has 1700kJ/406Cals whereas 100g of honey has 1400kJ/334Cals.
However few of us eat honey by weight. We’re much more likely to use a teaspoon or tablespoon here and there, so measure for measure, honey has more kilojoules/Calories than sugar. That’s because honey is denser and 1 tablespoon weighs 28g, whereas a tablespoon of sugar weighs only 16g. So, if you’re substituting a tablespoon of honey for sugar, you’re consuming more calories, not less.
Floral honey does have a lower GI rating, meaning that it may have less effect on blood sugar levels, but only in very small amounts. There really hasn’t been enough research on this to advocate anyone with a health issue to indulge.
Creamed honey is just honey that has been whipped or beaten to slow the natural crystallization process. Soft and creamy, it is thick and easy to spread if kept out of the fridge, same as peanut butter. People may prefer this style, as it is less messy to use. Nutritionally, though, it has the same profile as ordinary honey.
Honey warning for babies
As natural as it is, don’t give honey to babies under one year* because of the small chance of them ingesting botulism spores and getting very ill. Honey can sometimes contain inactive spores of Clostridium botulinum, the tiny bacterium responsible for botulism food poisoning. Healthy adults don’t get sick from them but infants can as the spores multiply in their immature guts and can begin producing botulinum toxin. After 12 months, honey is fine to offer.
The bottom line
Despite being natural with minimal refining, honey is NOT vastly superior to sugar.
Overall, honey is still a form of sugar and needs to be regarded as that. I prefer Perfect Sweet™ xylitol or SlimSweet™ Monk Fruit Sweetener as a natural sweetener in my diet because it has minimal effect on blood sugar levels, promotes good intestinal flora, controls sugar cravings and helps with weight loss.
This is an excerpt from an article: https://foodwatch.com.au/blog/carbs-sugars-and-fibres/item/honey-is-it-healthier-than-sugar.htmlIs honey healthier than sugar?