Global Food Myths #17: Is honey healthier than sugar?
LSG Group experts clarify food myths from around the world – Episode 17 is about honey and sugar.
Table sugar, also called white sugar, cane sugar or refined sugar, has a bad reputation. In large quantities it leads to obesity, diabetes, cavities and other health problems. The natural product honey on the other hand enjoys a positive image in the eyes of many consumers. Sebastian Huber, Senior Executive Chef at LSG Group, clarifies the validity of that reputation.
“The fact is that honey does offer more nutrients than white sugar, but not significantly so. An overconsumption of honey also leads to similar health issues as regular sugar,” says Huber. At 304 calories per 100 grams, its calorie content is lower than that of household sugar (387 calories). This is down to the fact that honey is about 20 percent water.
The rest is almost pure sugar, a mixture of glucose and fructose, like table sugar. As a result, the sweetening power of honey is only slightly higher than sugar, which is why its use hardly saves any calories. While honey provides essential nutrients like sodium, potassium and calcium, among others, the quantity is negligible.
“Like white sugar, honey causes tooth decay. Unlike sugar, its sticky consistency makes it more prone to getting stuck between the teeth,” adds Sebastian Huber. While honey offers a minimal anti-inflammatory effect, it only works when it is not warmed – so the often recommended warm milk and honey is unlikely to help.