Honey is a sticky, dark liquid substance made with substances collected by bees from the nectar of plants. The collected nectar undergoes changes in the bees’ pharynx and honey is formed. Molasses is obtained by concentrating the juice of fruits such as pear, mulberry, apple, apricot, carob, beet, watermelon, mainly grapes, over a fire or in daylight. So, if we compare honey versus molasses, which one should we choose?
Honey and molasses are both miracle foods that have many benefits for our health. Instead of preferring one over the other, it is best to consume both, knowing the benefits of both for body health. It is difficult to choose between honey and molasses, which have numerous benefits for the human body. It will be the healthiest choice to make a decision about foods by knowing how much to consume in which situation.
Honey or Molasses: Which One Is Better?
I am faced with questions such as “Honey or molasses?” “Which is healthier, and how much should we consume?”, frequently. I can say that no food is miraculous on its own. The amount consumed, the time consumed, and the many situations that the person is in affect the utilization of food.
Molasses is obtained by concentrating the juice of fruits using heat energy. Grapes go through many processes until molasses is obtained. During these processes, the seeds are also crushed and since the grape seeds are crushed, the phytoestrogen in the seeds is taken into the body with the consumption of molasses. It has been stated that phytoestrogens have a positive effect on conditions such as insomnia, hot flashes, irritability seen in menopause, cancers such as breast, intestine, prostate, and cardiovascular diseases.
As for honey, it is a sticky, dark liquid substance made by bees with substances collected from the nectar of plants. The collected nectar undergoes changes in the bees’ pharynx and honey is formed. When talking about food, food allergies should also be mentioned. One of the causes of childhood food allergies is honey. Honey is given to children considering that honey will be good for allergies and asthma. There are many medicinal substances in honey, but at the same time, it is very heavy food for the stomach and difficult to digest. Giving spoonfuls of honey to children with allergic asthma is not the right approach. In this way, excessive consumption triggers ulcers.
In a study on food allergy, eggs (57.8%), cow’s milk (55.9%), hazelnuts (21.9%), peanuts (11.7%), walnuts (7.6%), lentils (7%), wheat (5.7%) and meat (5.7%) were reported to be the most common food allergens in childhood. There is no data on honey allergy in this study, but honey allergy is one of the most serious food allergies. Multiple food allergies are also common in children. However, an allergy caused by molasses has not been identified. Let’s compare 100 grams of molasses with 100 grams of honey:
Comparison of Honey and Molasses
Along with the difference in grape variety, the mineral amounts in molasses also vary. While molasses is boiled, significant losses occur in vitamins. Therefore, it cannot be said that it is rich in vitamin values. However, it has an important place in nutrition in terms of minerals. There is 205 mg of calcium in 100 g of molasses, this ratio is 6 mg in 100 grams of honey.
Calcium is an important mineral that is effective in nerve conduction, muscle functioning, enzyme activities, and blood coagulation. Deficiency may result in retardation in bone development, early osteoporosis, and an increased risk of hypertension. 10-30 percent of calcium is reabsorbed from the body. The remainder is excreted in feces. Excessive protein intake increases urinary calcium excretion. If the diet is high in phosphorus, it makes insoluble compounds with calcium.
Iron is very important in transporting oxygen to tissues, that is, in respiration. Iron absorption decreases with excessive fiber intake. Considering that the daily calcium requirement of an average adult individual is 1000 mg, 20 percent of the daily requirement can be met with 100 g of molasses. +2 valent iron also contains 4.72 mg in 100 grams of molasses. Considering that the average daily iron requirement is 10 mg, approximately half of this need can be met with 100 g of molasses. This amount is 0.42 mg in 100 grams of honey.
Magnesium is used in bones and 40 percent in the blood and muscle systems. It plays an important role in strengthening muscles, protein synthesis, and enzyme system activity, growth, and regeneration of cells. Magnesium is a substance that is easily absorbed by the body, and daily magnesium needs can be easily met with a normal diet. Approximately 40-60% of the amount of magnesium in foods is easily absorbed by the body.
100 grams of molasses, which is also rich in magnesium content, meets about a quarter of the daily magnesium requirement (350 mg). While there are 82 grams of carbohydrates in 100 grams of honey, this amount is 74 grams in molasses. One tablespoon (20 g) of molasses contains 15 grams of carbohydrates. Up to two tablespoons of molasses can be consumed per day. However, the high sugar content should be taken into account.
In addition to all these, we can say that molasses is superior to honey in terms of nutrition, in line with scientific information. Therefore, the bees do not need to be exploited. When we make a price comparison, honey is more expensive than molasses. We are able to drop the arbitrariness and meet our nutritional needs by spending fewer resources and without exploiting them.
Health Benefits of Honey and Molasses
Generally, there are no alternatives that can replace honey and molasses. Each functional food reflects its own bioavailability differently. Therefore, both honey and molasses should be consumed. In terms of consumption amounts, it is necessary not to overdo it. In order to protect against diseases, strengthen the immune system and achieve similar effects, especially in winter, it is recommended to consume honey and molasses instead of sucrose (tea sugar) consumption with different consumption forms.
Use a spoonful of honey in your tea instead of sugar. Honey, the oldest natural sweetener in our history, has been meeting our body’s natural sugar needs in a healthy way for centuries. Honey is very beneficial for our health compared to sugar, which is purely empty calories. Honey has been shown to have positive effects in the treatment of nearly 500 diseases such as ulcers and other stomach diseases, heart failure, palpitations, bone diseases, cough, allergies, bronchitis, anemia, sore throat, nervous diseases, some skin, and nervous system diseases.
It is also claimed that it relieves constipation, expands blood vessels, facilitates blood circulation, strengthens the heart, facilitates fat digestion, and heals wounds and burns. The obtained data suggest that honey activates the immune system and that eating honey may provide advantages against cancer and its spread. Thanks to its antibacterial effect, honey can prevent the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Eating a spoonful of honey every morning increases our body’s energy. Honey, which contains 17 grams of carbohydrates in a teaspoon, will also support a significant part of the glucose supply necessary for the brain. In addition, honey allows your muscles to work more efficiently without getting tired. We can protect our bodies by eating a spoonful of honey every morning. One teaspoon of honey is 21 calories.
After establishing our daily calorie balance, we can easily consume honey. Considering all the health effects we have mentioned, it can be said that the consumption of honey instead of sugar should be expanded, there may be alternative consumption forms, especially in infants younger than 12 months of age.
Molasses provides fast (about 30 minutes) energy to the human body. It is especially useful for children with intense activity, athletes, etc., to quickly provide energy. If we keep molasses on our tables, 20% of our daily vitamin needs can be met. There are sufficient amounts of thiamine and pyridoxine (B6) vitamins in molasses. B6 is responsible for the production of blood cells, the health of the nervous system and skin, and the control of the amount of fat and cholesterol in the body.
Grape and molasses meet most of the daily calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium needs. The benefits of molasses consumption are not limited to this, but it is also a helpful food in cases of iron deficiency. By consuming two tablespoons (20 g) of molasses, 35% of the daily iron requirement can be met. Molasses, which is also rich in potassium, which plays a role in the regulation of heartbeat, can also be used for removing toxic substances in the body and maintaining alkaline-acid balance.
Molasses is an important calcium store. In order to prevent bone fractures due to osteoporosis, which has become an increasingly important public health problem in the world, the habit of consuming molasses should be expanded. Calcium plays an important role in healthy growth and development, circulatory and nervous system, blood clotting, and normal functioning of heart muscles. If around 50 grams of molasses is consumed daily, the calcium needed by the body is met. In addition to its blood-forming feature, it is good for rheumatic pains, regulates the heart system, and relieves physical and mental fatigue. There can be alternative consumption forms of molasses.
For example, molasses can be added to yogurt and consumed with pleasure. It can be consumed by putting it on cheese. Molasses can also be taken by mixing it with cold water and making sherbet, especially in summer. In addition, tahini molasses can be consumed for breakfast in the winter months, and molasses can also be considered for products such as cake to replace sugar. However, it is necessary to warn those with weight problems and diabetes in terms of calorie and sugar intake.
One point that we should pay attention to in molasses consumption is the formation of undesirable compounds at excessively high temperatures unconsciously in traditionally produced molasses and the high health risk. Because the free radicals formed can trigger the emergence of many diseases.
Is Molasses a Kind of Honey?
Although both contain sugar, honey and molasses are of course not the same thing. Molasses is obtained from the ripened forms of fruits such as grapes and mulberries. Although the process applied is similar to making marmalade, molasses is the condensation of the fruit’s pulp with its own sugar. For this reason, the product is very powerful in terms of being an energy source, but it is not the sugar content that gives molasses its main value, but the concentration of other elements in the composition of the fruit.
These elements are especially concentrated in the crust and core. For example, grape contains a compound called resveratrol, which is known to be associated with longevity, and it also passes into molasses during this squeezing phase. However, molasses has hardly been studied from this point of view until now. Making molasses is a traditional method. The ripe fruit is crushed to extract the juice, traditionally this is done by chewing, but today presses are also used.
Then this water is boiled for a short time, the soil is added at this stage. However, the soil used here is a special clay, probably the main purpose is to remove the protein-like compounds in the content. As a matter of fact, clay is also used for skin and even bowel cleansing with the same logic. This process is actually the step that makes the molasses reach crystal clear. The liquid is then left to rest for a while and then boiled again in a single phase.
The purpose of boiling is to thicken, so that excess water is evaporated. On the other hand, molasses can be stored for a long time as the sugar density increases. While this application is done in a single step, the sugar turns into caramel, so this process carries a ceremonial vibe under the management of someone who knows.
Boiling is carried out by mixing in the form of aeration. Those who know the truth of the matter say that this stage must be done in a wood fire, it is clear that wood fire has a completely different effect on the process. The mastery is in the correct determination of the transition to the caramel stage and the termination of the boiling immediately after it. In this way, the highest quality product is obtained.
The ripe fruit has all the necessary components for the development of the new creature. Molasses is the condensed form of these ingredients. However, in order to preserve all the properties, the boiling process has to be done in a slow fire, that is, when techniques such as boiling at high temperatures or evaporating the water under vacuum are used, the content cannot be claimed to be the same. In the meantime, sugar is separated into its components and creates a pure energy source, and it is faster for it to pass into the blood and give the energy effect.
Therefore, pregnant women, growing children, and especially patients benefit greatly from molasses. It is the common observation of everyone that breakfast with molasses is especially reflected in school success. As a matter of fact, the articles in the content confirm this observation. Sources say that molasses is especially rich in zinc, which is essential for many molecules, from the construction of connective tissue to the regulation of immune function. Think about it, zinc is needed even for healthy hair growth.
On the other hand, B vitamins, magnesium, and other minerals are also abundant in molasses. All this proves how valuable molasses is in terms of both energy and nutrition. It should not be forgotten that the effects of molasses vary depending on which fruit it is made from. For example, grape and mulberry molasses are extremely beneficial for nutrition and staying healthy, but carob molasses makes it easier to control allergies.
Toxic Side and Alternatives of Honey and Molasses
Hydroxymethyl Furfural (HMF) is an intermediate produced by the Maillard reaction or by the decomposition of hexose in an acidic environment. Studies have shown that this substance has a toxic effect. HMF, which is the result of high-temperature treatment of foods such as honey and molasses with high sugar content, is also a quality criterion in honey and molasses.
In studies on HMF, high doses of this substance have risky side effects such as irritation in the upper respiratory tract, eyes, skin, and mucous membranes, genotoxic effects, and triggering tumor formation. This component, which has a genotoxic effect, causes damage by causing lesions such as base and sugar modification on DNA, single double-strand breaks, DNA protein cross-linking.
As a result of laboratory tests, it has been seen that the increase of HMF with temperature is linear up to a point, while it increases logarithmically after a point of the reaction. The fact that HMF is formed as a result of the treatment of honey and molasses used in cakes and cookies under the name of a healthy recipe with high temperature and time turns that recipe from being healthy into a product with toxic effects.
So what can we use instead of refined sugar? Instead of using honey and molasses, the amount of sugar consumption can be reduced and sweetening methods can be used after cooking. HMF risk can be reduced by sweetening recipes with fruits with lower sugar and higher fiber content. Sugars with a lower glycemic index may be preferred. So, what can we consume as an alternative to refined sugar in cooked recipes, and what is the amount of alternative products we will use versus refined sugar?
There are 5 healthy alternatives that we can use instead of refined sugar. Coconut sugar, stevia, maple syrup, dates, and mashed banana. So, which alternatives to refined sugar in cooking and how much should we use? The amount of coconut sugar corresponding to 1 glass of refined sugar is also 1 glass of water. It leaves a caramel-like taste to products similar to brown sugar. Coconut sugar gives products a darker color and adds a slightly burnt and caramel-like taste. Goes better with brownies, cookies, muffins, and sauces.
Stevia has been used for years as a natural sweetener in South American countries such as Paraguay and Brazil. The amount corresponding to 1 glass of refined sugar is 1 teaspoon. Stevia leaves a bitter aftertaste in the products you use. It does not contribute to the structure and color. It is more suitable to be used in making mousse, pudding, and brownies.
Maple syrup is a sweetener that is growing in popularity, especially today, and it often looks like honey. The amount corresponding to 1 cup of refined sugar is 3/4 cup. It adds a lightly roasted, caramelized flavor to the products. Maple syrup provides a more moist texture, rich flavor. Due to its liquid nature, other materials should be reduced by 1/4. Goes well with fudge, pudding, ice cream, and marinades.
As a natural sweetener, the amount of date puree corresponding to 1 glass of refined sugar is 2/3 glass of date puree. (About 10-12 medium dates). It leaves a fruity taste to the products. Date puree imparts a more moist, gummy texture and fruity rich flavor. It goes well with cookies, brownies, some syrups, barbecue sauce, and snack bars.
Finally, like dates, mashed banana is one of the best flavors you can use instead of refined sugar. The amount corresponding to 1 cup of refined sugar is 1/2 cup. It is approximately equal to 2 medium ripe bananas mashed. Ripe mashed bananas can give the product a fruity taste, while very ripe ones can give a rotten taste. A mashed ripe banana gives the product a denser texture and adds moisture. It is also recommended to use brownies, bread types, cakes, and muffins.