Skip to main content
Back to BlueNews

Is Honey a Healthy Alternative to Sugar?

You might not think of honey as a potential replacement for sugar. After all, honey does contain sugar. But there's more to it. To understand it, we’ll break down how each is made and what’s inside.


How they’re made

Chemically, there are many types of sugars. The two most common types are glucose and fructose. These two compounds make up a lot of different types of sugars found in food, including table sugar, corn syrup and honey.

For this comparison, we’ll focus on table sugar, which is a common ingredient for cooking and baking. Table sugar comes from sugar cane and sugar beets, which are refined to extract glucose and fructose.

Now, let’s look at honey. First, a honey bee collects nectar from a flower and stores it in its hive. Enzymes in the hive process the nectar and turn it into simple sugars.

Bees then move it into honeycombs, where it is dried and eventually becomes honey. It takes a whopping two million visits to flowers for bees to make a pound of honey.


Honey vs. table sugar

Generally, the different types of sugars we eat have the same amount of calories. But honey does have some unique advantages over table sugar. It contains important antioxidants, amino acids and vitamins. Antioxidants help reduce cell damage which, in turn, reduces your risk for conditions like premature aging, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Some studies have shown more potential health benefits to consuming honey. One study found that women who ate honey moderately had a lower risk of high blood pressure. In another study, researchers found that it may also reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar levels.

Keep in mind that despite all of its potential health benefits, honey is still mostly pure sugar. It should still be eaten in moderation. Eating too much can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.


Bottom line

Honey can be a great substitute for table sugar in teas, baked goods and other meals. It offers some potential health benefits that raw table sugar does not. But it is mostly sugar, so it should be used in moderation.

If you need help finding ways to improve your diet, don’t forget you can connect with a registered dietician with telehealth services from Teladoc®. You’ll receive a personalized diet plan, shopping guides and more. Plus, these visits are covered in full.



Published on: August 01, 2023