White granulated sugar can be made from (sugar) cane or beets.
Honey is of course from bees.
Both of these types of sweeteners are "natural" in that they come from plants or insects.
• Both sugar and honey are composed of glucose and fructose.
• Honey is already pre-digested by bees (some call it "bee spit") it is slightly easier to digest and performs slightly differently as it is being digested.
• Honey has a slightly lower glycemic index (effect on your blood sugar) compared to sugar - but both will raise blood sugar. If you have diabetes, substituting honey for sugar would NOT help control or lower your blood sugar.
• Honey has 21 calories in 1 tsp; Sugar has 16 calories in 1 tsp
• Honey and white or brown sugar are both classified as added sugar, i.e. a carbohydrate, on the nutrition facts panel.
• Honey and sugar have different taste profiles and also perform differently in baking.
For a more detailed explanation: https://cals.arizona.edu/backyards/sites/cals.arizona.edu.backyards/files/b13fall_pp11-13.pdf
Bottom Line: Whether you choose to use honey or sugar as a sweetener may depend on your taste or cooking/baking preference but your body does not recognize much difference between the two. Since both are considered "added sugar"; it is best to use both mindfully and in moderation.
Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN
Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian