Natural Sweeteners: Honey vs. Sugar
Table sugar and organic honey actually have a lot in common as sweeteners. Because they are made up of similar components, calorie density, and belong to the carbohydrate family-- you might be surprised to learn how different they really are. Our nutrition blog breaks down the differences and similarities between honey and sugar.
How They Are the Same
Both contain glucose and fructose
This article explains that both honey and table sugars are made up of glucose and fructose. These components clearly define these products as sweeteners. However, the glucose and fructose levels vary between honey and table sugar. The glucose and fructose in table sugar combine to make sucrose, while in honey--they remain separate.
Both are considered added sugar
The CDC puts it simply: “added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages”. While honey is a natural sweetener, it is not considered a ‘naturally occurring sugar’ like fruit or milk because it is typically added to sweeten a food or beverage.
Both are high in calories
Sweetener is as sweetener does. Both honey and table sugars (along with other sweeteners) have a high amount of calories to a teaspoon. In this case, honey actually has a little more than refined sugar, but it makes up for it in the long run.
How they are different
Honey is sweeter than sugar
Maybe it is due to its natural composition, but honey is known for being sweeter than sugar. That means you can get the sweet taste you love, with less added sugar. A little goes a long way and that’s what we call a win-win.
Honey is less processed
Table sugar starts from sugar beets or sugarcane and is then refined and processed in multiple steps to become granulated table sugar. The processing for honey strips less away from the natural product and mostly involves extraction and filtration. The natural benefits of honey remain intact.
Honey has natural health benefits
The natural composition of honey comes with health benefits, most of which are due to the antioxidants. The Mayo Clinic tells us why we need to add antioxidants to our diet, “Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.” With honey you can enjoy not only a naturally sweet taste, but natural benefits as well!
Is Honey Better Than Sugar?
While organic honey and refined sugars do have a lot in common as added sweeteners, the choice is clear. The limited amount of added sugars in your diet can still come from natural sources. Honey is the better choice for your body than sugar.
At Kate’s Real Food, we choose to sweeten our organic energy bars and bites with natural foods like fruits and honey. We never use harmful or artificial ingredients-- only real food for real energy. Our recipes are clearly enhanced not only by the natural sweetness of organic honey, but the binding consistency holds our bars together. Taste the difference and shop our sweet-and-salty organic energy bars here!