While natural honey is less processed and provides small amounts of nutrients and antioxidants that white granulated sugar lacks, it provides even more calories than sugar and has a similar carbohydrate profile. If you are going to eat sweets, honey may be a bit healthier than sugar.
Both honey and granulated sugar come from natural sources, but honey, which is sold raw or pasteurized, undergoes much less processing than white granulated sugar. Honey and sugar differ in the types and ratios of carbohydrates they contain.
Both are composed of roughly equal amounts of glucose and fructose, but in sugar, the two are bound together to make sucrose.
Honey contains a higher percentage of fructose, and the fructose and glucose aren’t bound together, so it's digested differently from sugar.
Honey also contains other carbohydrate groups called oligosaccharides, which could have beneficial effects.
CALORIES AND CARBS
One tablespoon of sugar yields 49 calories and about 15 grams of carbohydrate.
Honey, which is denser than sugar, has 68 calories and 17.2 grams of carbohydrate per tablespoon. However, honey tastes sweeter than sugar so you may use less of it.
NUTRIENTS AND ANTIOXIDANTS
Any vitamins and minerals are stripped away when white granulated sugar is processed, so sugar is empty calories. Honey does contain small amounts of antioxidants, but not enough to matter unless you eat a lot of it. Research has also shown that darker honeys, such as buckwheat honey, provide more antioxidants than lighter honeys.
EFFECTS ON BLOOD SUGAR AND LIPIDS
There’s some evidence that honey may lower blood sugar and blood lipids such as cholesterol in diabetics. According to the researchers, either honey’s fructose or its oligosaccharides could be responsible for its beneficial effects. However, the evidence is sparse, and the team recommended more well-designed studies.
Honey does pose one health safety concern that sugar doesn’t.
Honey can contain a small number of botulism spores, so you should never give it to a baby under the age of 1.
Babies' immune systems aren’t fully developed, but adults can safely eat honey.