The difference between sugar, honey

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By Joan Martin

Is honey better for you than sugar?
Neither is considered healthy as both are sweets with no significant health benefit.
Neither is going to harm you in the sense that one is toxic or poisonous to you while the other is not.
Both honey and granulated sugar are occasional use foods.
Sweeteners are found in many foods, including some that you might not suspect such as spaghetti sauce.
The most reliable source of the nutritive value of food is USDA Home and Garden Bulletin- The Nutritive Value of Food. You can find it on-line.
I haven’t found a way to search for a specific food without looking in the table of contents for the food group and then paging down to that page. The HG72 is no longer available in print form.
The nutritive comparison for honey and sugar is listed below only for those items that have any difference.  Anything listed as a trace or 0 was not mentioned.
A tablespoon was used as the common measurement.  Honey has 64 calories per tablespoon and sugar has 48.  There are 17 carbohydrates in a tablespoon of honey and 12 in granulated sugar.
Honey has 1 mg of calcium (which is hardly noteworthy) and a just a trace in sugar. Iron is .1 mg (again not much) and sugar has a trace. Honey has 11 mg of potassium and 1 mg of sodium, again neither of these is significant.  Sugar has none.
You may prefer the taste of honey over sugar, which is the primary reason to choose honey. Honey does have different properties than sugar when using it for baking.  You may need to experiment to get a good result when substituting honey for sugar in baked goods.
Honey is twice as sweet as sugar so you can use less honey. Begin experimenting with substituting honey for sugar by following these guidelines:
Substitute honey for half the sugar in a recipe. If the recipe calls for 2 cups sugar, use 1 cup of sugar and a half-cup honey. The sugar is needed for producing the golden brown color desired for many baked goods.
Sugar also helps results in a light texture that many people prefer.
If you decide to use 100 percent honey, then you may find the product will taste and look different than what you are accustomed to.
Reduce the liquid in the recipe by a quarter-cup for each cup of honey used.
Add a half-teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used.  This will improve the texture of the baked item.
Reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over-browning.
Honey will help baked goods remain moist and stay fresher longer than those baked with sugar.
Store honey at room temperature in an airtight container.  Don’t refrigerate honey. Honey can be warmed to dissolve crystals.
It’s best to put the honey container in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve. Don’t over-heat the honey.  
Try honey raisin muffins for breakfast or an easy snack.  They are low fat and have some fiber as well as protein which make them a better choice than other muffins.

Honey Raisin Muffins
Makes 12
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups bran flake cereal with raisins
1 cup fat free milk
1/2 cup honey
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 Tablespoons canola oil
Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cereal, milk and honey; let stand for two minutes to soften. Stir in egg whites, applesauce and oil; mix well.
Add dry ingredients and stir until moistened.
Fill a greased or paper-lined muffin pan two-thirds full.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes.
Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.  
Nutrition analysis:  150 calories, 3 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrat, 2 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 4 g protein.
Recipe source: www.kentuckyhoney.com and the National Honey Board – www.honey.com.

Joan Martin is a consumer and family sciences agent with the Anderson Extension office.