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A clear canning jar is open and filled with honey. Across the open jar is a honey dipper dripping honey. The image reads: "Honey: Liquid Gold Basically Sugar."

Honey versus Sugar

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In ancient Egypt, archaeologists discovered honey buried with the pharaohs in their tombs (still preserved and eatable…) The Romans used honeycombs to heal wounds after battles. The promised land in the bible was to be a land “flowing with milk and honey”. From the first rock painting of harvesting honey over 8,000 years ago to today, it has been a big part of history and our diet.  

Last week, we talked about why “real” maple syrup is essentially sugar, with the same health concerns. Well, is honey any different? Is it liquid gold worthy of being buried with the pharaohs? Or just another twin to sugar?

Is It Really Honey?

Honey can be very expensive so some companies alter the honey to contain less of the real product and instead fill the product with cheap fillers: water, artificial sweeteners, and potentially harmful chemicals. If you want to ensure that it’s the real deal, you either have to analyze the pollens in the honey under a microscope... OR the more convenient option is to purchase honey from farmers markets or health food stores. You'd be surprised how many times the honey you buy is not really honey at all! 


Honey bees collect flower nectar (sugar-rich liquids) from plants which get broken down into sugars inside the honeycomb creating a sweet honey! It’s literally just another form of sugar.

According to nutrition data and, “a typical batch of honey supplies:

  • 82% sugar, by weight.
  • Half of that sugar (40% of total weight) is fructose.
  • Only trace amounts of vitamins and minerals.
  • Various antioxidants.
  • Its relative glucose and fructose content can vary greatly and its glycemic index ranges from low to high.”

If you recall from last week’s article, one tbsp of maple syrup = 14 grams of sugar, with honey that number goes up to 1 tbsp= 17 grams of sugar! No wonder the sweet stuff is so sweet. Like maple syrup, the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants are in such small amounts, you’d have to eat pounds of honey to get to your daily requirement, which obviously is not recommended.


Bottom line: Compared to sugar, which is 100% empty calories (“harmful calories”), it may be a somewhat less bad version of sugar that’s basically sugar. 😉


Stay tuned for next time when we talk about the surprising harms of corn syrup! Do you think it's worse than sugar? Let me know below!           

 Read Next: What is the Immortal's Fruit?