While honey is sweeter than sugar and contains more nutrients, it also has more calories. In general, honey has more health benefits but both sugar and honey are harmful in excess.

Comparison chart

Honey versus Sugar comparison chart
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Source Bees Sugarcane, beets
Types of included sugars Glucose, fructose and sucrose Sucrose (50% fructose, 50% glucose)
Glycemic index 58 (pure honey) 60
Sugars 82.12 g (per 100 g) 99.91 g
Carbohydrates 82.4 g (per 100 g) 99.98 g
Dietary fiber 0.2 g (per 100 g) 0 g
Fat 0 g (per 100 g) 0 g
Protein 0.3 g (per 100 g) 0 g
Calories 22 calories (1 tsp) 387 (100 gm)
Calcium 6 mg (1%) 1 mg (0%)
Iron 0.42 mg (3%) 0.01 mg (0%)
Vitamin C 0.5 mg (1%) None
Sodium 4 mg (0%) None
Energy 1,272 kJ (304 kcal) (per 100 g) 1,619 kJ (387 kcal)
Water 17.10 g (per 100 g) 0.03 g
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.038 mg (3%) 0.019 mg (1%)
Potassium 52 mg (1%) 2 mg (0%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 0.121 mg (1%) None
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.068 mg (1%) None
Vitamin B6 0.024 mg (2%) None
Folate (vit. B9) 2 μg (1%) None
Magnesium 2 mg (1%) None
Phosphorus 4 mg (1%) None
Zinc 0.22 mg (2%) None
Bears are known to love honey.
Bears are known to love honey.


100 grams of honey contains 82g of carbohydrate, all of which are sugar. Sugar is 100% carbohydrate.

Health benefits of honey

Honey contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin B6. It can also aid digestion. Sugar does not have these benefits. Honey is also typically less processed than table sugar.

A scientific study to measure the effectiveness of honey on children's health with acute cough found that honey was effective in reducing frequency of cough, reducing bothersome cough and improving the sleep quality of the child but had no significant benefit in resolving severity of cough. The effects of honey were equivalent to the medication Dextromethorphan, which is available under brand names like Robitussin Pediatric Cough Suppressant, Tylenol Simply Cough and Vicks 44 Cough Relief.[1] [2]

Health risks

Sugar is linked to tooth decay, diabetes and obesity. Honey should not be given to children under 1 year of age, and may also cause these problems in excessive amounts.

This video explains the harmful health effects of sugar on human body and some health alternatives:

Sugar Content

Both honey and table sugar contain glucose and fructose. In honey, these elements are separate. In sugar, they are chemically combined to make sucrose.

Calorie content

Honey contains 22 calories per teaspoon, but it is sweeter than sugar, and so less may be used.

Sugar contains 16 calories per teaspoon.

Glycemic index

A product’s glycemic index (GI) shows how quickly its energy (from carbohydrates) is released in the body. If it is released too quickly, it can disturb blood sugar levels. GIs under 55 mean that energy is released slowly.

Pure honey has a GI of 58, while sugar has a GI of 60.

Social impact

In a recent op-ed piece, Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, cites “Sugar Rush,” a recent report released by Oxfam International, and writes that

...our use of sugar implicates us in land grabs that violate the rights of some of the world’s poorest communities. Better-informed and more ethical consumers could change this. CommentsView/Create comment on this paragraphWe are genetically programmed to like sweet things, and when people become more affluent, they consume more sugar. The resulting increase in sugar prices has led producers to seek more land on which to grow sugarcane.

With the increasing consumption of sugar worldwide, environmentally- and socially-conscious consumers are paying attention to where sugar is being sourced from.


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