Does Honey Have Sugar?
Honey is largely deemed a health food. However, does it actually merit that claim? What IS honey and is it actually better for you than sugar? Today, we're diving into the details of honey and whether or not it will help you achieve your weight loss and wellness goals!
Does Honey Have Sugar?
One tablespoon of honey contains around 18 grams of carbohydrates. Sugars are the most simple form of carbohydrates. Of the carbohydrates in honey, 8 grams of those come from glucose, 9 grams come from fructose and less than 1 gram comes from sucrose. This means honey is primarily made of ready to absorb simple sugars.
Is Honey Better For You Than Sugar?
When we talk about "sugar", we typically mean cane sugar. One tablespoon of cane sugar contains about 12 grams of sucrose and zero grams from the simplest forms of glucose and fructose. Sucrose is made up of both glucose and fructose bound together. In order to "gain access" to sugar's energy, your body must break the bond between glucose and fructose. This happens during normal digestion.
Honey has been noted for containing some antioxidants. However, in terms of nutrient value, it contains extremely low levels of any micronutrients. There are some studies noting that honey may possibly be "less bad" than table sugar, especially in regards to triglycerides.
Can You Replace Sugar With Honey For Weight Loss?
When we think about honey, we often think of it as a healthy option, as if in some way the sugars in honey are more wholesome than the sugars in cane sugar. However, as we can see with the sugar breakdown, honey actually contains more sugar per tablespoon than table sugar.
Researchers ran a clinical trial where the only dietary difference between the two groups was that one consumed a little over 2 Tbsp. of honey per day and the other group didn't. Here's what the study concluded:
"The present work indicated that consumption of 50 g/day honey worsened glycemic control as evidenced by significant difference in changes of HbA1c between honey and control conditions."(1)
Regardless of if you're consuming table sugar or honey, both contain fructose (honey in the free form and sugar as the other half of sucrose). Fructose has a unique way of affecting weight loss and wellness goals by significantly increasing fat storage.(2) This is largely due to the fact that fructose can not be used by cells as energy (the way glucose can) and therefore must be broken down in the liver (just like a toxin).
As noted in a review on fructose:
"The exposure of the liver to such large quantities of fructose leads to rapid stimulation of lipogenesis and TG accumulation, which in turn contributes to reduced insulin sensitivity and hepatic insulin resistance/glucose intolerance."(2)
*Lipogenesis means "the formation of fat" and TG stands for triglycerides (a type of fat associated with heart disease).
Each person's sensitivity to sugars will greatly vary. However one thing is clear, we are likely all consuming a bit too much of this simple sugar. This is why one of the main focuses in the 7 Day Intermittent Fasting Detox is to eliminate added sugars (even honey) to help reduce the toxic load on the liver and allow the body to more easily tap into fat burning mechanisms.
Does this mean you can never have honey again? Not at all. However, switching your perspective of honey as an added sugar rather than a "superfood" can help to limit the consumption of honey to treats and occasional desserts. Especially if you have a weight loss goal in mind, limiting all added sugars is extremely important to help the body more easily tap into fat burning mechanisms.