Imagine a tea or baked food items such as cake without sugar? Doesn’t taste good right! But, people suffering with diabetes, obesity or certain other health problems find it helpless to use at least very little quantity of sugar in their diet. If you are one among them, then honey, the natural sweetener has come to rescue you. Honey serves as a best substitute for table sugar. Here is a short discussion of honey Vs sugar and few supporting reasons why honey is considered best over sugar.
Honey Vs Sugar
Honey which tastes superior to sugar differs greatly in composition. Honey contains simple sugars such as glucose and fructose while sugar contains the oligosaccharide sucrose. Hence, our body should definitely put some effort in digesting sugar whereas honey can be absorbed directly. Then, why is honey considered better?
Low glycemic Index : Honey gets absorbed gradually in to the blood stream and hence, does not exert any negative impact on the body. This low glycemic index makes honey a best substitute to sugar especially for diabetics.
Sweeter than sugar : Being sweeter than sugar only little amount of honey is required to obtain the desired sweetness. Hence, the number of calories contributed by honey will also be less. One tablespoon of honey offers 64 calories of energy while sugar provides only 46 calories. As we are consuming less, the number of calories will also be less. Hence, even people with obesity can take it without the fear of unwanted calories. Being rich in simple sugars such as fructose and glucose honey serves as an immediate energy booster for players.
Rich in minerals and vitamins : Sugar does not contain any nutrients. But, honey contains vitamins and minerals that support metabolism of cholesterol and fatty acids. On the other hand consumption of sugar uses up vitamins and minerals for its metabolism and depletion of these nutrients impedes metabolism of cholesterol and fatty acids and get accumulated in the body contributing to obesity. Hence, consumption of honey is in fact good for obese people.
Contains antioxidants and enzymes : Unlike sugar honey is rich source of antioxidants and enzymes responsible for secretion of compounds showing antibacterial properties. Hence, honey promotes free radical elimination and treatment of bacterial infections such as sore throat and wound infection. Hence, honey is used as a home remedy in treatment of many ailments.
Honey Vs Sugar For diabetes
Promotes insulin secretion : Propolis, the bee pollen present in honey promotes secretion of insulin which in turn lowers the blood sugar levels. People allergic to bee pollen should not take raw honey with propolis.
Helps in wound healing : Antibacterial action of honey helps in treatment of even hard to heal wounds that are very common in diabetics.
Lowers cholesterol levels : Disturbed carbohydrate metabolism observed in diabetics promotes cholesterol production contributing to obesity and cardiac disorders. However, honey that promotes insulin secretion brings back carbohydrate metabolism to normal and reduces cholesterol production. Vitamins and minerals present in honey also promote metabolism of unwanted fatty acids and cholesterol.
Treats diabetic sores and ulcers : Honey has the ability to retain moisture. Hence, application of honey mixed with almonds helps in preventing dry skin and thus prevents diabetic sores and ulcers.
Honey Vs sugar other benefits
- Helps in treatment of hypoglycemia : Presence of low blood glucose levels results in nervousness, excessive sweating, confusion, fatigue, anxiety and weakness. This can be relieved immediately by taking one teaspoon of honey. Simple sugars present in honey bring back the blood sugar levels back to normal in a very short time period.
- Promotes weight loss: A major requisite for losing weight is consumption of low calorie foods and those with low glycemic index. Honey with low glycemic index gets absorbed gradually in to the body. Thus, unlike sugar honey contributes few calories at any given point of time. Its increased sweetness also reduces the amount of honey consumed.
- Gives softness to baked products: High moisture content of honey gives a soft texture to baked products. Unlike refined sugar it becomes brown faster reducing the baking time. Being sweet you require less amount compared to sugar.
- Treats wide varieties of illness: Combination of honey with compounds such as cinnamon, lemon juice, almonds etc is found to cure many illness. The combination of honey and cinnamon is used to promote the health of arteries and veins that become weak with ageing. The high moisture content of honey makes it a best skin cleansing agent when mixed with almonds. These benefits cannot be enjoyed with table sugar. Few honey varieties have specific ingredients and offer unique benefits. For example chestnut honey promotes blood circulation, Sunflower honey that is rich in polyphenols helps in free radical elimination and Thyme honey serves as a strong antiseptic agent.
Substituting honey for sugar
Honey being beneficial compared to regular sugar many people are considering substituting honey for sugar. You can use it in tea, baking and also as a spread on toast. If you are using honey for sugar follow these simple tips.
- If the recipe calls for using one cup of sugar then use only ¾ cup of honey as honey is sweeter than sugar.
- Honey contains little amount of water in it. Hence, reduce the amount of liquids used by about ¼. You can reduce the amount of any liquid water, oil, milk or eggs.
- Honey fastens the baking process. Hence, reduce the oven temperature by about 25 degrees than the required temperature.
- Do not leave foods baked with honey at room temperature as the moisture content of honey promotes growth of molds in baked foods. Hence, consume them on the same day or preserve in freezer.
Follow these tips for any variety of honey you use. For delicious baked products choose honey variety with flavor and aroma that best suits your taste.
Honey Vs sugar discussion reveals that honey is nutritious, delicious and beneficial compared to sugar. However, it should not be consumed in large quantities with the desire to get more benefited as it is a rich source of calories. Diabetics should not consume more than a teaspoon of honey in a day. Even non-diabetics should also restrict honey intake to two or three spoons. To avail the benefits of honey take raw honey than processed commercial honey which is harmful. Commercial honey available in supermarkets does not contain the beneficial components such as the antioxidants and other chemicals. They are removed to increase the shelf life, color and flavor of honey. Hence, read the labels of honey bottle carefully before purchasing.