As we enter October, aside from Valentine’s Day, a month in which our families eat candy as part of the Halloween holiday, a reminder that not all sugar is created equal.
Honey and refined white sugar are both sweeteners and are highly calorie (energy) dense foods. However, when feeding your sweet tooth, there is no question that honey is better than refined sugar for you and your family, here are a handful of reasons why:
Honey is sweeter, so you can use less. One tablespoon of white sugar contains 49 calories, while 1 tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories. However, because honey has a sweeter taste, you can use less in your food and therefore will consume fewer calories overall.
Honey does not spike your blood sugar like white sugar does. Although honey and white sugar are both carbohydrates, and contain two primary sugars: fructose and glucose, refined white sugar is 100% sugars (50% fructose and 50% glucose), while honey is about 85% sugars (with fructose and glucose ratios that vary with each honey variety). The remaining 15% of honey is water, pollen, and trace minerals. Due to the differences in the makeup, refined white sugar is absorbed into the body and blood at a faster rate than honey, this absorption rate is measured by the glycemic index (GI). Refined white sugar has a GI of 65, while most floral varieties of raw honey have a GI that ranges from 35 to 55. This means that honey will provide less of the spike and drop in energy levels over a longer period as compared to refined white sugar. Generally, honey with a higher ratio of fructose as compared to glucose will have a lower glycemic index. This is something the parents of young children can all be grateful for!
Honey contains important nutrients. I am sure you have heard or read the words: "refined white sugar is empty calories.” This is because refined white sugar contains sugars and nothing else. However, honey, especially the Manuka variety contains additional nutrients, including amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. These phytochemicals have anti-microbial, antifungal and antioxidant properties, and prebiotics to feed our microbiome, all of which all contribute to a stronger immune system, improved gut health, and overall wellness. How sweet is that?!
Consuming honey, especially the Manuka variety, provides added health benefits. In addition to providing your cells with needed energy and boosting your immune system, honey offers several other important health benefits. Honey is a proven cough suppressant and can relieve sore throats. For many people, honey helps to moderate the sinus and throat irritation caused by pollen allergies. Honey is easier to digest as compared to white sugar and can also promote better digestion and better sleep. Sweetness and health benefits, does it get any better?!
Honey tastes better. Refined white sugar has a single dimension, sweet. Honey is so much more than a simple sweetener. The flavors and complexities of honey are multi-dimensional and wonderful. There can be light, vanilla tones, floral-fruity tones, and strong assertive flavors. The sweetness of honey is unique and wonderful. The delicious flavor honey comes from the different plant nectar sources that the bees are tapping. Turning this nectar into glorious honey requires a combination of science and magic through a process perfected by honeybees and sought after for its unique properties dating back to the time of Aristotle.
We invite you to try the ManukaGuard® Manuka honey and share your recipes on our social media platforms, @manukaguard. Remember, because honey is sweeter than sugar, you can use less. As a rule, you can substitute for every 1 cup of sugar, substitute 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey. In addition, because honey has hydroscopic properties you will also want to reduce the amount of liquid in your recipes, for every 1 cup of honey you’re using, subtract 1/4 cup of other liquids from the recipe. Because honey is naturally acidic, baking soda will help to balance this acidity to allow the baked good to rise properly. It’s a good idea to add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for every 1 cup honey used. Lastly, the higher sugar content in honey means it caramelizes and therefore burns faster than granulated sugar. To ensure that whatever you’re baking doesn’t brown too quickly, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and check your baked goods frequently.