It’s no secret that white sugar is a food you should consume sparingly, but is honey a healthier sweet option? Honey may be less refined and more natural than white sugar, but it is still high in calories. Overall, it is perhaps only slightly healthier than white sugar.
Most nutritionists recommend only part of your diet be made up of foods that are high in sugar. Sugar packs many calories and lacks the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function normally. The big problem with honey is that it contains roughly 55% fructose, a type of sugar found mainly in fruits. Studies suggest high consumption of fructose could lead to several health problems, including obesity, heart disease and liver disease. Some studies have even shown that fructose actually drains minerals from your body.
How many calories?
Honey contains sugar and calories just like every other sweetener, with one teaspoon of containing 22 calories. Honey actually contains more calories than sugar, as one teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories. However, it isn’t truly more fattening than sugar, considering the fact that it is sweeter than sugar. Overall, it contains about the same amount of calories as white sugar.
Although honey is a fattening food, it does provide some nutritional benefits lacking in white sugar. Honey does contain vitamins including niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin B6. But honey contains only traces of these minerals, and honey alone won’t help you meet the USDA’s recommended daily standards. These trace vitamins might make honey a slightly better choice than white sugar, but it’s still not a health food. Although numerous websites claim honey to be some kind of miracle food, most of these claims are mythical and unfounded. Remember, honey only contains 2% vitamins.
Honey’s Medicinal Purposes
Honey might help you deal with a few common health ailments. For example, it might alleviate cold symptoms, especially sore throats. When swallowed, it coats the surface of your throat and soothes throat pain. It might also suppress a cough. In addition, if you suffer form chronic sinus infections you may find honey to be more effective than prescription medicines at combating their symptoms. Honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties give it a leg up over white sugar, which scientists haven’t found to treat any illnesses.
Natural Does Not Mean Healthy
Honey is indeed a natural product. But so is sugar. Most manufacturers make white sugar by refining sugar beets and sugar cane, making white sugar a natural product. Clearly, natural is not always synonymous with healthy.
Your stomach doesn’t care whether you ingest white sugar or honey once it enters your bloodstream. To your body, sugar is sugar. All types of sugar should be consumed sparingly, even if it’s honey. At the same time, honey contains a few trace vitamins and minerals and helps alleviate some health problems. While it might not be smart to consume too much honey, it is not a food you must completely avoid either.
This article was featured on www.FitDay.com which is a website that offers a free diet and weight loss journal. We recommend all of our patients keep track of what they eat while on one of our medically supervised weight loss plans.