How Much Sugar Does Honey Have? Unveiling Sweet Facts


7 minutes
30 seconds

Essential Takeaways

Honey predominantly consists of fructose and glucose, and includes a range of trace vitamins and minerals. It provides more nutritional benefits than table sugar, despite containing a similar calorie content.

It is useful for a wide range of purposes, from sweetening foods to being used in home remedies and more. And whilst all honeys have some level of health benefits, manuka honey has a range of special properties that make it the best on the market.

Honey, a natural sweetener produced by bees, is a popular alternative to sugar and comes with its own distinctive flavour and nutritional benefits.

Often praised for its trace enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins, honey is more than just a delicious natural sweetener.

The sugar content in honey is mostly made up of fructose and glucose, accounting for about 70-80% of its weight. The remainder includes water, pollen, and valuable minerals like magnesium and potassium, which contribute to its reputation as a healthier choice than sugar with more nutritional value.

However, it's important to understand honey in the context of your entire diet because, calorie-for-calorie, honey is similar to sugar.

Let’s take a closer look.

In this guide to how much sugar honey has:

Nutritional Composition of Honey

Honey, your natural sweetener, is not just about sweetness.

It's a complex food with a unique nutritional profile. Packed with sugars like fructose and glucose, it also contains essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Caloric and sugar content

Honey is an energy-dense food with about 64 calories per tablespoon, primarily from carbohydrates (including approximately 17 grams of sugars).

It’s mostly made up of simple sugars that your body can use for energy. Unlike refined sugar, honey's release of glucose into the bloodstream is steadier, helping avoid the spikes associated with white sugar.

Vitamins and minerals

Honey also offers you small amounts of various vitamins and minerals. Although it's not a significant source of these nutrients, each serving of honey still provides trace amounts of:

  • Vitamin C: vital for your immune health.

  • Calcium: important for bone strength.

  • Potassium: necessary for heart function and muscle contractions.

  • Magnesium: supports hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body.

While the amounts are minimal, taking honey adds to your overall nutrient intake alongside other foods.

Antioxidants in honey

Rich in bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants, honey includes flavonoids and enzymes that contribute to its health benefits.

Antioxidants like vitamin C and others in honey help to protect your body's cells from damage by free radicals.

The presence of these compounds can vary greatly depending on the type of honey, with darker varieties generally possessing more antioxidants.

Health Benefits of Consuming Honey

While honey is often recognised for its sweetness, its consumption extends beyond just flavour. Manuka honey, in particular, boasts a range of health benefits due to its unique properties.

Benefits for diabetes and heart disease

Manuka honey has a lower glycaemic index than sugar, meaning it may not raise blood sugar levels as quickly, which is significant for your diabetes management.

In addition, the rich antioxidant composition of manuka honey can play a role in reducing inflammation and cholesterol levels, both of which contribute to a lower risk of heart disease.

Wound healing and anti-inflammatory effects

Honey's antibacterial properties make it an excellent choice for wound healing, including ulcers and burns.

Its anti-inflammatory effects help reduce inflammation, promoting the repair of damaged tissues.

Diabetic foot ulcers, in particular, may benefit from the application of manuka honey, aiding in the healing process.

Manuka Honey and UMF™

Manuka honey with a Unique Manuka Factor (UMF™) rating is proven to be some of the most antibacterial honey in the world.

The UMF™ rating reflects the concentration of certain compounds, like methylglyoxal (MGO), that contribute to its health effects.

Higher UMF™ ratings indicate greater antibacterial strength, which can be particularly beneficial in combating bacteria and supporting your health.

Comparing Honey and Other Sweeteners

When exploring the sweet world of sugars, you'll find that honey is a natural delight with distinct differences from processed sweeteners.

What sets honey apart is the way that it breaks down in your body, along with its nutritional composition.

Raw honey versus processed sweeteners

Raw honey is a natural product that bees make from flower nectar. It's known for its complex flavour and contains small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Processed sweeteners like table sugar are refined and stripped of most natural elements except for carbohydrates, which provide a short-term burst of energy.

While honey consists primarily of fructose and glucose, table sugar, or sucrose, is a combination of these two sugars in equal parts.

Here's a brief comparison…

Raw honey:

  • Contains trace vitamins and antioxidants.

  • Higher in fructose which may influence how your body absorbs and uses it.

  • Less processed, more variety in flavour and nutrients depending on the source.

Table sugar:

  • Lacks vitamins or antioxidants.

  • Contains equal parts glucose and fructose.

  • Highly processed, consistent taste.

Honey and blood sugar levels

Honey has a lower glycemic index (GI) than table sugar, meaning it does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly.

This could be partly due to the presence of oligosaccharides in honey, which have a lower GI and can help with the slow release of sugars.

Consuming foods with a lower GI may aid in avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for insulin regulation.

However, remember that both honey and table sugar are carbohydrates and therefore can contribute to obesity if consumed in large quantities.

It's important to use honey sparingly, considering that the end product your body uses for energy is the same: glucose.

Keep track of your consumption and enjoy the sweetness of honey while being mindful of its impact on your blood sugar levels and overall health.

1 ingredient. 2000 natural compounds.

Practical uses and considerations

When exploring the sugar content of honey, remember that it can be a great partner in your culinary ventures, whether as a sweetener or for its potential nutritive benefits.

Honey in cooking and baking

Using honey as a substitute for granulated sugar can enhance the flavour profile of your foods with its natural sweetness.

In cooking, its liquid form helps it blend easily into sauces and marinades.

If you’re using honey for baking, make sure to keep these things in mind:

  • Substitution ratio: Generally, you can use honey in place of sugar by a ratio of 3:4, adjusting the liquids in your recipe accordingly.

  • Flavour impact: Honey adds a distinct taste; lighter honeys are subtler, while darker honeys offer a bolder flavour. Manuka honey is usually darker and stronger in flavour.

  • Temperature adjustments: Lower your oven’s temperature by approximately 25°F (about 14°C) to prevent over-browning.

  • Added moisture: Expect a moister crumb as honey naturally contains water.

Remember, baking with honey isn’t just about swapping sweeteners; it’s a balance of ratio, moisture, and flavour, making it a versatile and nutritious addition to your culinary repertoire.

Not sure what to make with your honey? Check out our massive list of 170+ uses...

Choosing the right honey

The type of honey can dramatically influence your dishes. Natural honey (especially unprocessed or manuka honey) often comes with additional benefits, including unique flavours and potential healing properties.

Keep these things in mind when considering which honey to use for your next creation:

  • Flavour matching: Pick a honey that complements your dish. Manuka honey has a rich, full-bodied taste which is versatile for all different types of foods.

  • Consider natural state: Raw honey retains most of its nutritional value and can act as an effective natural sweetener with added health benefits.

  • Check for additives: Be vigilant about labels. Honey is one of the most faked foods in the world, so make sure that you’re getting the real deal.

Selecting the right honey will enhance your food’s taste and could contribute to your overall well-being, but be sure to consider its source to make the most out of its natural goodness.

We only deal in real. Click here to shop our range of authentic, UMF™ certified manuka honey.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we address some common questions about honey's sugar content and its comparison to regular sugar, especially focusing on health aspects and dietary considerations.

Is it healthier to substitute sugar with honey in my diet?

Substituting sugar with honey may provide you with additional trace nutrients that are not present in granulated sugar, but it's important to remember that honey still contains calories and sugar. Moderation is key, as with any sweetener.

How do the calories in honey compare to those in sugar?

One tablespoon of honey typically contains more calories than the same amount of granulated sugar. Specifically, you can expect around 64 calories from honey, whilst granulated sugar offers about 49 calories. However, you may use less honey due to its higher sweetness.

For individuals with diabetes, is honey a safer alternative to sugar?

For those managing diabetes, both honey and sugar can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Honey does have a slightly lower glycemic index than white sugar, so it may be better. Make sure to ask your doctor for advice. Click here to read more.

Can honey be incorporated into a diet that aims to minimise sugar intake?

Honey can be part of a diet aiming to minimise sugar intake, and it contains many more health benefits than refined sugar. But since honey does contain fructose and glucose, it should be used sparingly. The overall goal should be to reduce the total amount of sweeteners and ensure a balanced diet.


Get Your Raw Manuka Honey Right Here

If you’re thinking about buying honey as a substitute for sugar in your diet, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting a legitimate, quality product.

Our range of manuka honeys are UMF™ certified, glyphosate-free, and made with a high degree of ethics and transparency.

Sounds good? Get yours here.

Your wellness journey starts with a spoonful a day.


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