I am sure a lot of you like drinking tea, right? I know coffee is more trendy and all, but there are still a huge amount of people that love a warming cup of tea on a daily basis. I know I do! And some of these people are clearly not sweet enough as they like to add sweeteners to that tea. But if you had a choice between sweetening your tea with honey or sugar, which should you choose? What are the differences and which is healthier? Let’s find out today!
In this article I will look to compare honey and sugar to give you a better idea which would be the best sweetener for you. Of course, I may make my own conclusions, but I also encourage you to look at the facts presented and decide for yourself!
Before we start, just a little note to say that you can view any products featured in this article over at Amazon simply by clicking on the image.
Factor 1: Natural VS Processed
It is pretty simple for anyone to see that honey is a more natural form of sweetener when compared to sugar. Honey is produced by bees and, in most cases, only gets lightly processed. Sugar comes from sugarcane, and needs to be more heavily processed. Sugar ‘juice’ is stored in the leaves of the sugarcane plant. The sugarcane is cut down and harvested; then it goes to a factory. At the factory, sugarcane juice is extracted and filtered, and crystalized into the sugar you may see on your breakfast table.
The only processing that takes place with honey is to pasteurise it and, in some cases, to add extra sugars (if the honey is of particularly low quality).
It’s a simple fact that using honey means you are using a more natural and less processed sweetener. Of course, this is greatly helped if you buy more local honey, gourmet honey or raw honey, to get something as natural as possible.
Factor 2: The Makeup of Sugar VS Honey
Though honey and sugar are both carbohydrates, they differ in their makeup. Sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose, whereas honey consists of about 40% fructose and 30% glucose, with the remaining 30% being largely made up of water, pollen and minerals like magnesium and potassium. These minerals aren’t present in sugar.
In basic terms, this means that honey has a far greater nutritional value than sugar. And because sugar has a higher percentage level of fructose, it has a far greater potential to have a negative effect on your body’s blood sugar levels.
When we talk about the nutritional value of honey, there are many more potential health benefits associated with this.
A research paper was completed by Nutr Metab titled ‘Nutraceutical values of natural honey and its contribution to human health and wealth‘ A quick read of this will tell you that when they did a chemical analysis of honey, they found minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium in the honey (among others). As far as vitamins go, they also found vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C and K in the honey.
Among Nutr Metab’s conclusions, they explain that honey is a great source of antioxidants, a good slow burning carbohydrate and beneficial for digestion and absorption of food.
In comparison to this, sugar is more of an empty carbohydrate than a nutritional one.
Factor 3: Amount of Honey or Sugar needed
When sweetening tea with honey, you usually need less of it than sugar to get the same level of sweetness in your tea. So overall your sugar intake will be less when sweetening tea with honey. Of course, this could vary through personal taste, so I would test this out for yourself.
Factor 4: Taste of Honey VS Sugar
I am again venturing into the realms of personal taste here, but I reckon if you asked ten people if they preferred the taste of sugar vs honey, most would say they prefer honey 🙂 Sugar is just a pure hit of sweetness, whereas good honey has a more complex and pleasing taste to it (in my humble maybe slightly biased opinion!!).
This means that when you add honey to your tea, you are also adding something more flavorful that adds a nice additional flavor profile.
Factor 5: Price of Honey VS Sugar
When you look at the basic price of everyday honey and sugar, you will see that you would pay more for honey. A quick look at Walmart will show you that you can buy a bag of basic sugar for a couple of dollars. However, if you want to buy a basic jar of honey you are looking at at least double the price. These are both the basic versions from Walmart’s ‘Great Value’ range. Walk in your local supermarket and you will probably see similar.
This difference is price becomes less obvious if you are buying more artisan or gourmet versions of both. For example, take this box of La Perruche Pure Cane Brown Sugar Cubes from Amazon as an example below.
Compare the price to this squeezy bottle of Nature Nate’s 100% Pure Raw & Unfiltered Honey below, and you will see that the prices at this more gourmet level are pretty similar.
After all is said and done, would I put sugar or honey in my tea? I would always opt for honey. It tastes better, has more proven health benefits and actually costs less than you may’ve thought these days! Honey is a way less processed sweetener, and I personally would opt for that over more processed sugar.