This is a question we’ve been asked many times, and there’s no way to sugarcoat the answer. Honey is, quite simply, just another form of sugar. Sure, honey is more natural than most table sugar, but it will still have the same effect on your blood sugar levels as any other form of sugar. Honey and other sugars are concentrated carbohydrates, so it doesn’t take much of them to cause a blood sugar spike if you’re not being careful.
Let’s do some fact checking so you can make an informed decision– here are the carbohydrate counts for some common sweeteners.
1 tsp sugar = 4.8 grams of carbs
1 tsp brown sugar = 4.5 grams of carbs
1 tsp corn syrup = 5.6 grams of carbs
1 tsp maple syrup = 4.5 grams of carbs
1 tsp honey = 5.8 grams of carbs
You may have seen articles that suggest that honey may actually have beneficial effects on body weight and blood sugar. There are no conclusive and valid scientific studies that support that, however, and reputable sources like the Mayo Clinic and the American Diabetes Association agree that there is no advantage to using honey instead of other sweeteners. Honey may be a more natural and less processed form of sugar, but if you have type 2 diabetes you need to be aware that sugar is sugar, no matter what the form. Count any sugar you add to your meal as part of your daily carbohydrate intake and remember that quantity is more important than quality when it comes to affecting your blood sugar levels.
If you enjoy honey instead of sugar in your tea or coffee, go ahead and use it– just be sure to count those carbohydrates and use as little as possible. Some people find that honey is sweeter tasting than sugar, so they use less of it. And remember… there is no significant nutritional value in any these sweeteners, just empty calories. For more information, read our article about the many names of sugar.