Honey Health Benefits, Raw Honey vs Sugar

Comb from a honey bee hive.
Comb from a honey bee hive.

Is Honey Healthier Than Sugar?

It may be surprising, but honey and sugar are not that much different when it comes to nutritional value. Sugar has been the preferred sweetener in our modern society for as long as most of us can remember. Honey has been around since the beginning of time, it seems.While many people make an effort to substitute some of the sugar in their diet with honey, they may not really know why.

Some of the benefits of honey are based on science, and some are based on traditions. Honey has been used in medicines and spiritual ceremonies for centuries. While all of the benefits of honey are not scientifically proven, they must still be considered. In many cases, the research simply has not been done in order to prove or disprove the benefits. This doesn't mean the benefits aren't real, they are just not yet proven by scientific research.

Raw Honey Straight From the Hive

Raw Honey
Raw Honey

Nutritional Difference of Honey vs. Sugar

The fact is, there is not much difference in the nutritional values of sugar and honey. It is important to note that between the two, honey contains a higher level of minerals and even a little vitamin C. Honey also contains some other trace vitamins along with natural antioxidants and enzymes. Aside from a higher level of minerals, honey has a nutritional value very similar to sugar.

Honey vs. Sugar

Based on 100g serving
Vitamin C

Capped Honey Comb

Comb full of capped honey straight from the hive.
Comb full of capped honey straight from the hive.

Raw Honey Poll

Do you believe raw honey is essential for a healthy diet?

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The Benefits of Raw Honey

Most commercial honey, like the kind from your grocery store, will be pasteurized. This is a heat treatment used to prevent crystallization and to kill yeast spores. Raw honey is merely honey that has not been pasteurized, only strained or filtered. Raw honey is normally available at farmer's markets and some specialty markets. I recommend finding a good local beekeeper you can trust as your source of raw honey.

Raw honey has been traditionally used to treat high blood pressure, cough, sore throat, and to boost the immune system. Having antibacterial properties, raw honey has also been used for centuries as a wound and burn dressing.

There has been tons of research involving the processes in which honey helps aid healing. Honey has a number of proven medicinal benefits and is still used for it's healing powers all over the world.

But Wait, There is More

Raw honey is rich in natural antioxidants and enzymes, which help over all health by neutralizing free radicals in the body. Some believe the antioxidants and enzymes found in raw honey may even slow the aging process. While there isn't a lot of research to support this age slowing effect, natural antioxidants are considered an important part of a healthy diet.

The natural enzymes in raw honey are said to aid digestion and boost the immune system. Honey contains some of the same natural enzymes produced by the human body during digestion. Introduction of additional enzymes through honey consumption helps improve digestion.

Honey can also be used as a sleep aid for those suffering from insomnia. Raw honey contains tryptophan, the same thing that is in turkey that makes you sleepy. There is a lot of science behind it all, but the key is that a spoonful of honey before bedtime will help you fall asleep. It is considered a healthy alternative to chemical sleep aids.

Although it makes a great sleep aid, raw honey is also an excellent energy booster. Many athletes take raw honey before a workout or performance. Honey provides a ton of carbohydrates to help feed the muscles. Honey is also the perfect post workout recovery snack. The athletes of the world have long known about the energy boosting benefits raw honey can provide.


Raw Honey Factory

Bees returning from their foraging work.
Bees returning from their foraging work.

Honey Wins Every Time

When compared side by side, honey wins all the way. Raw honey not only offers all the same nutritional value of sugar, it goes above and beyond. Providing you with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes, raw honey is a welcome addition to any healthy diet.

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sheilamyers 2 years ago

I've heard about some of the uses for honey such as for sore throats, but I didn't know it had at least a few more nutrients. I haven't bought honey in a while because I usually don't use it up fast enough, but I may start buying it again and using it more. Thanks for the interesting information.

mgeorge1050 profile image

mgeorge1050 2 years ago from West Georgia Author

You know Sheila, honey theoretically has an indefinite shelf life because of the antibacterial and anti-fungal properties it possesses. Ancient honey has been found in Egyptian tombs that was still edible. Honey may crystallize over time, but you can just sit the whole jar in a bowl of warm water and it should go back to liquid form. So you don't have to worry about using it up quickly, it should last for years with no special storage. Also remember, to get all the antioxidants and such, you should purchase raw honey. Thanks for your comment.

Torrs13 profile image

Torrs13 2 years ago from California

I have been interested in purchasing some raw honey so that I can use that instead of products that have been processed and loaded with sugar. I have heard lots of great things about raw honey, including health benefits such as easing a sore throat, like you mentioned. My only issue is that it's so expensive and it can be a pain to find in stores. You often have to go to a local bee farmer or farmer's market to find the good kind.

DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting about raw honey I often here overhear of how the local people used honey for many aliments. Voted up!

sheilamyers 2 years ago

mgeorge: Oh. I get rid of it when it crystallizes. I didn't know you could warm it up and get it back to a liquid ... but I should've figured it out. Thanks for telling me.

mgeorge1050 profile image

mgeorge1050 2 years ago from West Georgia Author

A good local beekeeper is a great place to pick up raw honey. Many farmer's markets will have a stand with honey available. Raw honey can be pricey in stores, but from a beekeeper you should only pay around $7 per pound. It is one of those weird products where an organic market may charge upwards of $12 per pound for a product that costs little to process and is usually available much cheaper at the farm level. You can look up your local beekeeper's association, and I would bet they have a list of farmers offering raw honey for sale. Thanks for your comments.

mgeorge1050 profile image

mgeorge1050 2 years ago from West Georgia Author

Yes, it is used for many medical applications all around the world. The benefits of raw honey are wonderful, thanks for your nice comments.

mgeorge1050 profile image

mgeorge1050 2 years ago from West Georgia Author

Yep, crystallized honey is actually preferred in some locations because it proves that the honey has not been watered down. Watering down honey was a common practice long ago by unscrupulous honey producers. Watered down honey won't crystallize, and will eventually ferment. This is also the reason comb honey gained popularity, because is it capped honey in the comb, and cannot be adulterated.

sheilamyers 2 years ago

mgeorge: Those are some very interesting facts. I'll definitely keep reading your hubs so I can learn more from you.

Rayne123 22 months ago

I love honey.

You have some good info here. I did not know any of this, I was just eating it because it tastes good, however I do know it is good for one to some degree.

I was told that ingesting one teaspoon is good for a sore throat.

I know it has many uses but I never did research.

I was going by tradition and word.

Thank you for the hub. Mgeorge.

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