Health nuts are constantly looking for ways to supplement ingredients with healthier alternatives, and sugar is one of the most subbed ingredients. Some say that honey is a healthier option than sugar because it's all natural and has more nutritional benefits, while others believe that honey is the least healthy choice because of its higher calorie amount. Here are a couple ways honey and table sugar differ.
1. Calories: The number of calories in both honey and sugar is similar; one tablespoon of sugar has 46 calories and one tablespoon of honey has 64 calories. And even though honey has more calories, you don’t need to use as much of it since it’s sweeter than table sugar. If you plan on using large amounts of a sweetener, honey will certainly rank up the calorie and carbohydrate load. (via Benefits of Honey)
2. Glycemic Index (GI): Sugar is made up of molecules bonded together. When consumed, our stomach needs to use its own enzymes to separate the molecules before it's able to get energy from the sugar. Honey, on the other hand, doesn't require this because bees add a special enzyme to the nectar that divides the sucrose into glucose and fructose — simple sugars that our bodies can absorb directly. Therefore, honey has a healthier glycemic index, which measures the negative impact of a given food on the blood-glucose level. Overall, the lower the GI rating, the slower the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream and the healthier the digestion process.
3. Natural factor: Over-processed, factory-made table sugar and artificial sweeteners don’t have any vitamins whatsoever; honey, on the other hand, contains vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and certain amino acids and minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc.
4. Powerful properties: Honey contains natural antioxidant properties that can destroy chemical agents linked to serious diseases. Not only do those antioxidants help eliminate free radicals in the body, but they are part of the nutrient supply for growth of new issue.
5. Energy supply: Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates, which provide strength and energy for our bodies. Athletes who are looking for a “time-released fuel” over a long period of time use honey as a sweetener because it can help to boost performance, endurance and reduce muscle fatigue during exercise.
Although there is no definite answer as to what is the healthier option, it is important to remember the concept of moderation. Both sugar and honey are forms of sugar, so over-consuming either one will not lead to positive health benefits.