Offering numerous health benefits – from killing superbugs to calming allergies – honey is one of the greatest natural foods in existence. But when it comes down to it, it’s a sugar. So, with all of the evidence damning sugar as of late, one has to wonder if honey is actually any better than the white stuff packed into many of the foods brought to us by food companies.
To answer that question, we turn to scientist and author Keith Kantor, Ph.D. Interviewed by Huffington Post, Dr. Kantor, author of the children’s book The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice, breaks down the differences between honey and sugar.
“Your body breaks food down into glucose in order to use it for fuel. The more complex a food — namely a carbohydrate — is, the more work it takes to break it down. Sugar is made of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, the sugar typically found in fruits, and is broken down very easily, leading to a surge of blood glucose.
What your body doesn’t use right away gets stored as fat. Honey is also made mostly of sugar, but it’s only about 30 percent glucose and less than 40 percent fructose. And there are also about 20 other sugars in the mix, many of which are much more complex, and dextrin, a type of starchy fiber. This means that your body expends more energy to break it all down to glucose. Therefore, you end up accumulating fewer calories from it.”
But wait, that’s not all. Honey has additional benefits not found in table sugar.
“Honey also has trace elements in it — stuff that bees picked up while going from plant to plant. These will depend on region, so depending on the source of your honey it could have varying small amounts of minerals like zinc and selenium, as well as some vitamins. And because honey doesn’t break down in nature, it doesn’t contain preservatives or other additives.”
In addition to all of this, honey has medicinal uses that sugar just can’t beat. It can be used to heal wounds, to combat MRSA, and to calm allergies. Further, you can typically find honey being produced across the country, making it far easier to find “local honey” than “local sugar”.
So while “sugar is sugar” and honey is just one form of the sweet stuff, if you’re choosing between the two, opt for the sticky option and choose local producers.