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I’ve read a lot online about using honey with tea. I like to drink tea once a day with a teaspoon of honey. Is that better than using a teaspoon of white granular sugar?

Glad you asked! Yes, honey is a great substitute for sugar.

Sugar vs. Honey

There are two types of sugar—natural sugar and added sugar. Natural sugar, or sucrose, is found in fruits, milk, and some whole grains. White granulated sugar is an added sugar that comes from sugar beets or sugar cane, and is often added to processed foods and drinks, such as cookies, cereals, and soda.

Pure honey contains the natural sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of plants or secretions of living parts of plants. Although both white granulated sugar and honey come from natural sources, honey is less processed. As sugar is made, any vitamins or minerals naturally occurring in the sugar cane or sugar beets are stripped away.

One teaspoon of white granulated sugar has 15 calories and one teaspoon of honey has 22 calories. Yes, honey has more calories, but because it’s more dense and sweeter than table sugar, you are more likely to use less.

Substituting Sugar for Honey

Honey contains the same basic sugar content as white granulated sugar—glucose and fructose. However, the glucose and fructose chemically interact differently in honey vs. sugar. With white granulated sugar, your body is more likely to convert it into fat, which can lead to health concerns if you consume too much. So you have the right idea—honey is a great substitute for sugar.

Consider swapping out sugar in other parts of your diet, too. You can bake your own desserts, flavor up a dish, or sweeten your drink by using any of these natural alternative sugar substitutes:

  • Applesauce (all natural, no sugar added)
  • Pure honey
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Stevia—a no-calorie sweetener
  • Agave nectar
  • 100% concentrated fruit juice (all natural, no sugar added)

Whatever sweetener you choose, remember not to overdo it! Too much sweetener of any kind can be damaging to your health and should be consumed in small amounts.

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