The glycemic index of honey is 55. This value falls into the low range of 0-55, so consuming it does not raise blood sugar levels as much as refined sugar does.
Carbohydrate content of honey
Honey is an excellent source of carbohydrates, with a carbohydrate content of 81.3%, primarily consisting of glucose (grape sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar), as well as sucrose.
Caloric content of honey
100 g of honey contains 285 kcal/1194 kJ. The calorie (cal) is a unit of energy and means that 1 calorie raises the temperature of 1 g of water by 1 degree Celsius. For every 100 g of honey, the following can be found:
- 0.3-0.4 g of protein
- 0 g of fat
- 77-84 g of carbohydrates
- 0 g of fiber
Honey contains approximately 20% water, while the remaining 80% consists of sugars, primarily glucose and fructose. Honey also contains natural antioxidants, vitamins (such as B1, B2, B6, and vitamin C), and minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc.).
The most commonly used refined sugar (sucrose) is derived from sugar beets or sugarcane: the sliced plants are soaked, pressed, purified, and then crystallized into a syrup free from impurities and organic matter. Due to the lengthy industrial process, it is not surprising that refined sugar is often regarded as an artificial substance, while honey is perceived as a natural sweetener.
Since the caloric content of honey and refined sugar is considered to be almost the same, meaning they contribute to weight gain in equal measure, honey cannot be considered healthier in this regard.
Honey or sugar
However, what may favor honey in this question is the glycemic index: while the glycemic index of refined sugar is 68, honey usually ranges around 50-55. (Carbohydrates ingested with food are converted to glucose in the body, and when absorbed, glucose raises blood sugar levels. The glycemic index (GI value), calculated on a scale of 100, indicates how quickly carbohydrates are converted to glucose. A lower value indicates slower conversion and absorption, resulting in a less significant increase in blood sugar levels.)
The advantage of honey over sugar is that it contains more vitamins and minerals, has a high antioxidant content, and when consumed in small amounts (e.g., 1-2 tablespoons in tea during a cold), it does have a positive effect on the body. However, its energy content is nearly identical to that of sugar, so it is not recommended to rely on honey in large quantities for vitamin and mineral supplementation. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are much more suitable for that purpose.
Additional beneficial properties: The natural antioxidants present in honey (flavonoids, vitamin C) protect the body from free radicals produced during metabolism and defend against bacteria.
Back to the articles in the category