The Sweet Truth: Is Honey Better Than Sugar?
Made by honey bees using the nectar of flowers, honey is a gorgeous amber fluid that has been used as a natural sweetener for countless centuries. Although honey is considered superior to sugar in terms of its nutritional value, the latter is still consumed over 40 times more.
What’s spectacular about honey is that not only is it sweeter to sugar, it also comprises many trace elements and antioxidants required for the proper functioning of the body. Therefore, it’s more than just a flavoring for your honey cakes and breakfast cereals. Unlike in the case of raw honey, sugarcane undergoes a series of vigorous processing, which eliminates its vitamins, minerals, proteins and organic acids, which is why sugar, the end product, possesses no nutritional value – it’s just a mass of energy in the form of sucrose.
Honey, particularly the raw, unpasteurized kind offers a set of unique benefits that may be enough to make you replace sugar with honey in your diet for good.
1. Rapid energy source
Following a nutrient-dense, wholefood diet is vital for increased energy levels, improved metabolism and overall health and wellness. If you’re looking for a quick energy boost, for example, before starting work or a workout, honey may do a much better job than a sugar-laden drink. Firstly, it’s because it contains more calories, with one teaspoon of honey containing 22 calories versus 16 calories per teaspoon sugar. This shouldn’t be worrying for weight-watchers because even though honey has more calories, you’ll actually consume less of it because it’s sweeter and denser than table sugar.
In addition, table sugar is essentially just sucrose – a product of one fructose and one glucose molecule bonded together. Therefore, your body has to use its own enzymes to split the two. In the case of honey, fructose and glucose are already kept separated by an enzyme added by honeybees. Honey is beneficial because it releases fructose gradually into the bloodstream, thus providing sustained energy that lasts for hours.
2. Low glycemic index
Honey has a lower glycemic index (GI) than sugar, which means it is absorbed at a much slower rate than table sugar. Sugar’s high GI indicates that it increase blood sugar levels rapidly, causing sharp insulin spikes. This may contribute to weight gain, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease.
3. A great cough remedy
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), honey is a demulcent – a substance that relieves irritation and soothes the throat and mouth by creating a protecting film.
Research also shows that honey functions similar to dextromethorphan, which is commonly found in over the counter cough medicines to improve cough and related sleep problems in children.
4. Prevents allergy symptoms
Consuming locally produced honey introduces pollen spores carried by the bees from local plants into your system. The allergen in honey activates your immune system and helps the body build immunity against it naturally. Having a tablespoon of honey per day before pollen season can help your body be prepared for allergy season. However, it’s important here that you get locally produced raw honey.
Some researchers state that honey has potent antibacterial properties that may be handy in fighting different types of bacteria in the body. Furthermore, some may choose to treat burns and wounds with honey because it prevents infections and promotes healing.
Apart from being incredibly sweet and delicious, honey can have a remarkable impact on our overall health. The key is to remember that not all honey is going to be the same. While certain honeys may have antibacterial properties and a nutritional value that are a hundred times more pronounced, others may just be clear, sparkling fluids that are just visually pleasing but not strong competitors against sugar due to their lack of nutritional importance. To get the most out of your honey, stick to purchasing the least processed, raw types.
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