Is It Healthier to Prefer Honey Instead of Sugar?



The effect of honey on healing wounds has been used by people for many years. Ancient Egyptians used the germicidal effect of honey 5,000 years ago. Aristotle used honey on abrasions, and in some tribes in Africa, honey is still used to heal wounds. In addition, a study conducted in 2008 confirmed the effect of honey against bacteria. Honey and white granulated sugar contain both glucose and fructose. In white sugar, glucose and fructose are chained to each other; In honey, fructose and glucose are separate.

This may seem like a slight difference, but this distinction affects our body’s processing of glucose and fructose. Thanks to the glucose/fructose chains in white sugar, the human body quickly converts white sugar into energy, and therefore consumption of white sugar causes a rapid increase in blood sugar. However, because the fructose in honey is separate, the honey processing process of the human body is longer than that of white sugar. We can read this as an increase in blood sugar after honey consumption is slower than the consumption of the same amount of sugar. Compared to calories there is also the difference between honey and white sugar. One teaspoon of refined white sugar is 16 calories, while the same amount of honey is 22 calories. However, since honey is sweeter than refined white sugar, less honey is used to achieve the same sweetness. Honey also contains a small number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.



Compared to sugar, honey can have positive effects on appetite and blood sugar. In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition; the effects of honey on the appetite of 14 healthy, medium-weight women were examined. Half of the women included in the study consumed 450 calories of honey as part of their daily breakfast, while the rest included sugar in their breakfast that met the same calorie value. According to the results of the study, women who consume honey, which is sweeter than sugar, get hungry later and their blood sugar is more stable. So as you can understand from what you read up to this point of the article, the answer to the question in the title is yes! So, it may be healthier to prefer honey instead of sugar.

Difference Between Honey and Sugar


Honey is often made from simple sugars such as Fructose and Glucose. It also contains other carbohydrate molecules, including maltose (made from two glucose molecules) and higher sugars (about 10 to 20 different types of high sugars depending on honey), including starch fibers. Granulated sugar is chemically sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide of fructose and glucose. Our body breaks down all carbohydrates into glucose (or other simple sugars). Since honey contains some higher carbohydrates, our bodies need the energy to convert these complex molecules to glucose.



So, technically, we burn a little bit more energy when shredding honey, and that depends on the composition of honey. As said, sucrose or granulated sugar also needs to be broken down into glucose and fructose. This occurs in the intestine (Duodenum), where an enzyme called sucrase Glycoside hydrolase is present. Since honey contains a large amount of glucose, it gives you instant energy in response to granular sugar (metabolized in the intestine).

On a slightly different note, fructose is not a large sugar molecule. Every cell can use glucose, but fructose can only break down in the liver. Fatty acids are also produced during fructose metabolism. This is partly because excessive fructose (including high fructose corn syrup) is bad. The basic chemistry between honey and sugar is well discussed here and appears to be the same for all intents and purposes. However, there is an important distinction that sugar is still sugar, unlike those who believe that sugar is another name (if you ask about refined sugar, and suppose it is not naturally occurring fructose).



Refined sugars, such as high-fructose corn sweeteners and beet sugar, have dextrorotatory molecules, while sugars from honey, maple syrup, molasses, pure cane, and pure fruits contain levorotatory molecules. In addition, it is noteworthy that in its natural state, fructose, which contains fruit, also contains left strand sugars, and that GMO fruits consist only of right strand sugars. Why is this important? It is known that sugar feed cancer is good, but it has also been shown that cancer cells can only absorb dextrorotatory molecules. In the case of refined sugar, honey is always trumped, although I agree with those who say that natural is not always equal with better (As long as there is pure honey.)

Structure and Properties of Honey


Honey, which is the most important product of honeybee, is a valuable nutrient whose value is definitely accepted for many years. 15,000 years ago on the wall of one of the caves in Spain; a painter drew a picture of a neighbor who bought honey from a honeycomb. In the last 10,000 years, no one has discovered a sweeter and purer food than honey. The most important ingredient in its composition is fruit sugar; sweeter than sugar cane because of levulose. Which table sugar can carry by accumulating sunlight from past summers. Or which one can gather the pure fragrances of apple, orange, clover and linden flowers in his sine? Table sugar has a single taste like salt. Every kind of honey has its own flavor.

Definition of Honey


According to the International Food Regulation, honey is “a sweet substance that is produced by honeybees collected from nectars of flowers or from living parts of plants, processed by the help of special substances in their bodies, stored and matured in honeycomb eyes.” Honey is the purest of all food. When matured well, the sugar concentration is so high that bacteria cannot survive for more than one or two hours. In an old tomb (3300 years old) belonging to an Egyptian King family, honey was blackened and hardened, but not lost. It is impossible that the trick to honey does not appear. When diluted, it immediately deteriorates. The wax of the honeycomb and the release of the bees in their belly cannot be imitated. Even insect experts do not fully understand how nectar becomes honey.



The classification of honey can be made according to production, color, moisture content, source, and marketing method.

  • By Resources

a) Flower Honey (Nectar Honey)

Natural honey or flower honey (nectar honey) is obtained by honeybee enriching the fresh waters called nectar collected from the flowers of the plants by mixing with the substances secreted from the special glands in their bodies and ripening them in the combs. The taste of the flower where the nectar is collected is felt in the aroma of honey. Orange flower honey, linden flower honey, clover honey, etc.

b) Secretory Honey (Pine Honey)

Secretion honey is a honey produced by the collection of sweet secretions by bees which are secreted by insects living on forest trees such as pine, oak, beech, and spruce. Depending on the source from which they are obtained, they are called pine honey or leaf honey.



The source of pine honey is a sweet liquid secretion of the insect called Marcelina Hellenica, which lives on red pines on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Adult insects are in thrush, between the bark of the tree and feed their hoses by inserting them into the transmission bundles of the trees. 80% of the nectar in the transmission bundles is sugar. There is a small amount of protein. The insect must absorb nectar to meet its protein needs. Excess carbohydrates are also released. This waste, which is called honeydew, is of rose-red color and has a pleasant smell and is carried by bees to the hives.

c) Toxic Honey

Honey produced by bees from poisonous substances taken from plants such as forest roses and datura is called mad honey or poisonous honey. In humans eating poisonous honey; Disorders such as dizziness, nausea, difficulty in vision, humming, sweating, fainting, and weakness are observed.

d) Artificial Honey

Artificially smelled or dyed products, with or without the addition of starch sugar or syrup, are defined as artificial honey by more or less inversion of sucrose in the absence of natural honey.



e) Feeding honey

Some fishermen place sweet solutions such as sherbet in containers around the hives and feed the bees. The natural honey produced by bees fed in this way is called feeding honey. The taste of such honey is uninspired, the colors are clear. The amount of sucrose is high; More than 10%.

f) Express honey

In order to increase the medicinal value of honey, honey which is obtained as a result of feeding bees with sherbet containing different additives can be used for treatment purposes.

  • According to Consumption & Presentation

a) Honeycomb Honey

Located in the honeycomb and contains no foreign matter; their mouths are glazed and their honeycomb is intact.

b) Drained Honey

Honey which is rested and filtered by honeycomb eyes or by centrifugation by various methods is called filtered honey. Liquid honey is completely melted and contains no visible crystals. Crystallized honey is a fully solidified honey popularly known as candied or frozen honey.



c) Press Honey

The honey obtained by leaking the honeycomb honey at room temperature or under heating so as not to lose its enzymes under pressure is called press honey. The quality of the press honey is low.

  • According to the color of honey

Honey is white, gold, amber, and dark. In another classification according to color, there are six standards; honey is classified from light water white to black amber. Apart from the known honey colors; It is also possible to come across different colors depending on the source. In the US, North Carolina, there is “blue honey” of unknown origin.

  • According to the moisture content of honey

There are three sections: 1st, 2nd, 3rd class honey types. 1st class honey have low moisture content; they have the highest value. This feature is considered as the most important quality criterion in honeys to be stored. The highest water content that can be included in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd class honey types are 17%, 18%, and 20% respectively.

Composition Substances:

  • Water
  • Sugars
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Sucrose
  • Maltose and reduced sugars
  • High Sugars
  • Acids
  • Raw protein
  • Ash
  • Trace elements

Detailed Information About the Ingredients of Honey Composition


  • Amount of Moisture in Honey

Fermentation does not start if the sugars, which provide the typical sweetness and usefulness of honey, are sufficiently high in concentration. Fermentation may occur when the water content is 18.5% or higher. Acetic acid and carbon dioxide formed as a result of fermentation spoil the taste and color of honey. The maximum water content in the honey was 21%. In general, mountain honey contains less moisture than plain honey. Excess moisture indicates that the honey is not ripe or that water is added from outside. This creates the danger of surface fermentation in honey.



  • Carbohydrates in Honey

Honey is a carbohydrate and 95-99.9% of its solids are sugars. Of the 15 types of sugar in honey, 9 were found to be exact, but 6 were found in some researches. Honey contains the most fructose and glucose. It is known that these two monosaccharides (simple sugars), which give the taste of honey, occur as a result of the exchange of sucrose in the plant extracts with the invertase enzyme or the separation of sucrose into fructose and glucose. The sweetness, moisture absorption, energy value and other physical properties of honey come from these two sugars.

The amount of sucrose in honey varies according to the degree of ripening of honey and the composition of nectar; very early harvested immature honey contains large amounts of sucrose.

  • Enzymes in Honey

Honey is rich in enzymes. Mainly known honey enzymes; amylase (diastase), invertase (sucrose), catalase, phosphatase as well as ascorbic acid and glucose oxidizing agent. Some of the enzymes are composed of nectar and the secretion of aphids on the leaves, and the majority of them are the salivary gland secretions of bees.

Invertase (Saccharose) enzyme is responsible for most of the chemical changes in the conversion of nectar to honey. It converts nectarisaccharose into fructose and glucose. Glycosoxidase, one of the important honey enzymes, acts on glucose and forms hydrogen peroxide and glycocholate. The antibacterial effect of honey is also due to the hydrogen peroxide formed.



In honey, the lysozyme enzyme also has an antibacterial effect. In addition to these, honey contains Chocin which the body can only produce in small amounts. Therefore, this substance should be given to the body two to three grams per day. Chocin regulates the fat metabolism of the liver and prevents this organ from binding fat.

  • Acids in Honey

The most common acid component in honey is glyconic acid, which is produced by the activity of the enzyme glycosoxidase. The source of other acids is not known. While the acidity of honey increases its stability against microorganisms; By adding formic acid to honey, bees help to ripen honey. It has been reported that the amount of acid responsible for the low pH of honey comes from the formic acid that bees inject from the needle into these eyes before the honey eyes are glazed. Honey generally show acidic reactions and pH is between 3.5-5.5.

The determination of the high acid value in honey indicates that the honey is fermented over time, that is, alcohol is converted to acetic acid by bacterial effects. Honey contains acetic, butyric, citric, formic, lactic, malic, succinic, glyconic, oxalic, capric, tannic, tartaric and valeric acids. The source of other acids in honey other than glyconic acid is not known.



  • Proteins in Honey

Nitrogenous substances are approximately 0.3% in flower honey and around 1% in secretory honey. High levels of nitrogenous substances in flower honey show that it is mixed with secretion honey. Determination of proteins in honey is important in terms of whether it is natural or artificial and in terms of nutrition.

Although honey is not a protein-rich nutrient, it has a rich source of amino acids. Proteins, amino acids, and carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms composed of molecules such as rosary beads are formed by juxtaposition. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Approximately 17 amino acids were detected in honey. Tyrosine and tryptophan were found in dark honey but not in light honey. The highest amount of proline, lysine and glutamic acid were reported in honey. These are followed by histidine, arginine, threonine, serine, glycine, valine, methionine, leucine, alanine, phenylalanine.

  • Vitamins in Honey

While the idea that there was little or no vitamins in honey was dominant in the past, as a result of chemical and biological researches made in recent years; honey has been found to contain various vitamins. While there is no vitamin A in honey, there are B group vitamins (B1, B4) and vitamins C, E, and K. Thiamine, riboflavin, ascorbic acid, pyridoxine (B6) pantothenic acid (B5) nicotinic acid (B3) niacin, biotin, and folic acid were determined in honey in various amounts. Watt and Merril in their study of honey in vitamin B1 trace amounts, B2 vitamin 0.4 mg, and vitamin C 10 reported the level. Honey may lose the majority of these vitamins during the filtration process. Therefore, filtration must be performed with extreme caution.



  • Mineral Materials in Honey

The amount of mineral matter in honey varies between 0.02% and 1.0%. Honey contains the most potassium, calcium, phosphorus and lesser amounts of sodium, chlorine, sulfur, magnesium, silica, manganese, copper, iodine, iron and zinc. The minerals in honey, which is a rich mineral source, are potassium (K), sodium (Na), calcium oxide (CaO), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), chlorine (Cl), phosphorus. (P) is sulfur (S), silica (SiO2) and crude silica. Trace minerals include chromium (Cr), lithium (Li), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb) tin (Sn), zinc (Zn), osmium (Os), beryllium (Be), vanadium (V), zirconium (Zr), silver (Ag), barium (Ba), gallium (Ga), bismuth (Bi), gold (Au), germanium (Ge) and strontium (Sr).

What is Sugar?


Glucose is the basic sugar of our body, the blood sugar. Fructose is the simple sugar that the body uses to meet its energy needs. It is naturally found in vegetables and fruits. Sucrose occurs when glucose and fructose are juxtaposed. So this is the sugar in sugar beet or sugar cane, which is the sugar put into the tea. Sugar additions from sugar cane or sugar beet contain equal amounts of glucose and fructose. On the other hand, starch-based syrups, which are used in many foods that go through industrial processes and are produced in the laboratory, contain much-processed fructose compared to glucose and when consumed continuously, these toxic molecules cause serious harm to the body.

What Are the Harms of Sugar?


Sugar is one of the most important nutrients of our lives, but contrary to popular belief, there is no benefit for the body. The harm of sugar, which is seen as an addiction, affects many parts of the body. According to researches, sugar consumption is between 10 and 30 teaspoons per person. According to the World Health Organization, these percentages, which meet a large number of daily caloric requirements, are very dangerous. The body can not tolerate the sugar taken over a certain amount of sugar accumulates, making it harmful to the body. Here are the damages of sugar:



  • Causes blood sugar to fall

According to research, even if the immediate intake of sugar helps to meet instant needs, hunger problems return after a few hours. The consumption of sugar, which has become addictive, can lead to sudden changes in blood sugar and problems such as headache and fatigue if the sugar need is not met.

  • Increases risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease

Diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are among the health problems caused by sugar consumption. If you do not limit the consumption of sugar, you are more likely to experience such serious health problems later in life.

  • Causes skin problems

The damages of sugar include skin problems. Sugar foods suddenly increase blood sugar and insulin levels can cause acne development.



  • Can cause cancer

Sugary foods that cause obesity also have an important role in cancer risk. According to a study of 430,000 people, higher than normal sugar consumption has a risk-increasing effect on the esophagus, small intestine, and pleural cancer. According to another study, women who eat donuts and sweet cookies 3 times a week are more likely to develop intrauterine cancer than other women.

Savaş Ateş

I like eating honey a lot. We have a huge interest in bees and how they make honey. I have visited honey farms. I have talked to a lot of honey sellers. I read a lot of books about them. I want to share my knowledge with you.

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