Both sugar and honey add sweetness to foods and food products but they differ in tastes and nutritional values.
Honey is produced mainly from bees and other related insects like aphids through extraction, settling or straining without any form of heating.
The honeybee (Apis mellifera) collects nectars from flowers and converts it into honey through some enzymatic reactions. Honey produced is then stored in wax structures called honeycomb.
On the other hand, sugar is extracted from of the stalks of sugarcane (Saccharum offinarum) or roots of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) through boiling. The juice gotten then undergoes some processes like filtration, purification, crystallization, centrifuging, drying and packaging.
COMPOSITION OF HONEY AND SUGAR.
It may interest you that both honey and sugar are carbohydrates which contains both fructose and glucose. However, sugar is 100% carbohydrates from sucrose (50% fructose and 50% glucose) while Honey, on the other hand, is made up of approximately 40% fructose and 30% glucose, with the remainder being made up from water, pollen, and other nutrients and vitamins that refined sugar lacks.
Also, studies have shown that both honey and sugar are relatively high in calories and carbs. In fact, honey has more calories per gram. However, since honey is sweeter than sugar, one only needs to add less quantity to get a sweet taste.
Also, unlike refined sugar, honey contains beneficial vitamins and
minerals as well. And to digest sugar, fat and cholesterol, vitamins and minerals are needed.
The vitamins and minerals help break down the calories in honey faster, therefore, making honey not a source of weight gain.
Honey also contains small amounts of plant acids, waxes, gums, pigments and volatile oils which have antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
WHAT EXACTLY MAKES HONEY OF MORE BENEFITS TO HEALTH?
Below are some of the benefits of honey:
1) Lower Glycemic Index: Honey is absorbed more slowly by the body than refined sugar because it is lower in fructose and contains other trace minerals. On the other hand, sugar has higher fructose content which makes it have high glycemic index. Having high glycemic index means it raise blood sugar level.
2) Honey For Wound Treatment: Studies have shown that honey can fight a number of strains of bacteria. Also, bees secretes an enzyme called glucose oxidase into the nectar. Honey gotten from such nectar releases low level of hydrogen peroxide when the honey makes contact with wound.
3) Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics: Honey contains a lot of probiotic bacteria which works with the lactic acid bacteria and other bacteria found in human gut to aid digestions. The probiotic bacteria found in honey are as a result of the bacteria within the guts of the bees.
Nutrients: Honey also contains some phytochemicals like flavonoids and nutrients like riboflavin, niacin and thiamine which are essential nutrients needed in the body.
4) Honey For Hair: Honey is a great humectant which means it absorbs moisture. This, therefore, makes it a good ingredient in moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners.
4) Honey for Weight Loss: You can either use honey with cinnamon, lime or lukewarm as a therapy for weight loss.
Also, consuming a spoonful of honey before going to bed will continue to stimulate the liver function and ease a number of stress hormones which are in the system.
5) Antimicrobial property: This antimicrobial property of honey makes it effective in reducing discomfort and swelling when one has a sore throat while sugar has been known to cause swelling inflammation. This is one of the reasons why too much consumption of carbonated drinks causes having belly fat and weight gain.
Honey is also effective in soothing cough.
6) Honey For Skin: Regular application of raw honey on the face can treat various skin problems including acne, eczema, spots, etc as a result of its antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
7) Honey is very high in a chemical called methylglyoxal, which is the source of honey’s antibacterial properties which helps fight germs and bad bacteria in the digestive tract.
In short, honey has a lot of health benefits. It is widely used as ingredients in making cosmetic products.
It is also used very well in adding flavour to foods, drinks, bakes, etc
ADULTERATION OF HONEY.
It may interest you that honey can be adulterated. Adulteration is the addition of any other form of sugar, syrups, or even sorghum into honey to change its flavor or viscosity.
Some even heat brown sugar for a very long time and turn it into honey.
So, one has to be careful in buying the original honey.
It is widely believed that pure honey does not dissolve immediately in water while adulterated honey dissolves immediately. It will take a bit of stirring of pure honey in water to dissolve the lumpy bits.
However, the best way of identifying pure honey is by taste.
Let’s briefly look at some side effects of consuming too much sugar:
1) Sugar increases the risk of obesity and diabetes.
2) Sugar causes cardiovascular diseases .
3) It causes tooth decay.
4) Too much of sugar causes high blood pressure.
5) It increases aging.
Someone might think that brown sugar is better than white sugar. Well, I’ll tell you there’s no much difference between the two. The main difference between raw (brown) sugar and white sugar is that brown sugar hasn’t been refined completely.
Raw sugar is 96% pure, the rest is molasses (still containing about 4% minerals while white sugar is 100%.
In addition, remember that sugar is refined while honey is not.
Sugar passes through heat while honey doesn’t. Honey is not heated or pasteurised in any way.
Stop the intake of too much of sugar today and rather go for honey in a little quantity.
Please Note: Do not give honey to infants. Honey can sometimes contain inactive spores of Clostridium botulinum , the tiny bacterium responsible for botulism food poisoning.
Healthy adults don’t get sick from them because they’ve built defenses in their intestines to keep the spores from taking root except in some rare cases though.
But infants get sick as the spores multiply in their immature guts and can begin producing botulinum toxin.
And without early treatment, botulism can cause paralysis.
Be conscious of your health.