By Amenyah Seth (Registered Dietician)
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Sugar comes from sugarcane or sugar beet. Although it is derived from natural substances, obtaining sugar needs a lot of processing before it becomes the final product, unlike honey. Honey and sugar are both high sources of sugars. They both contain fructose and glucose though in different proportions. Honey is chiefly made up of 40% fructose but 30% glucose. The remaining proportion of honey is mostly water, pollen, some minerals, and antioxidants. Meanwhile, “sugar” whose actual name is sucrose contains 50% fructose and 50% glucose.
As a result, with an equal amount of honey and “sugar”, sugar may cause an increased blood sugar than honey. On a second thought, honey is energy-dense and can make you put on weight than “sugar”. A tablespoon of sugar which is about 12.6 grams by weight contains 50 calories. Meanwhile, a tablespoon of honey which is about 21 grams by weight has 64 calories in it.
Although honey does have some health benefits, they are mostly observed when used in response to certain conditions only, such as a cough or allergies, or when used topically, which does not affect blood sugar levels. Whiles honey comes with some antioxidants and minerals unlike “sugar”, there are better sources of these antioxidants and minerals than honey.
In conclusion, there is no medical research suggesting that honey is a better alternative to sugar yet. The health implications in their excess consumption are of the same gravity. Honey and Sugar, when overconsumed in the diet, may affect health negatively such as
- Weight gain
- High blood triacylglycerides and increased risk of a heart disease
- High blood sugar especially in persons with diabetes or insulin resistance
- Increased risk of tooth decay or dental caries
Therefore, it is important to adhere to the safe dose for sugars from the diet. Women should consume no more than 100 calories a day from sugar (approximately 6 teaspoons) and men have no more than 150 calories per day or 9 teaspoons. Read more about how much sugar is safe for you in a day from here.
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