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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
granola bars

Is Honey Healthier than Sugar?

I get this question all the time: is honey any healthier than granulated sugar? The short answer is no, but there are some differences to make note of.

Both honey and sugar are carbohydrates, but each carry different characteristics. While ounce for ounce, the nutrients in honey and table sugar are generally the same, honey weighs more than sugar. Therefore, a teaspoon of honey actually has slightly more calories and carbohydrates than a teaspoon of sugar.

The argument is that honey contains disease-fighting antioxidants that sugar does not have. However, because honey is generally eaten in small quantities, the amount of antioxidants are too small for an appreciable difference. Just because it has antioxidants does not mean we should load up. Honey, like sugar, can still cause dental cavities, raise blood glucose levels, and lead to weight gain. Therefore, it should be used sparingly. The good news is that honey is sweeter than table sugar, which means you can get away with using less. If substituting honey for sugar in baked goods, reduce the liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup and add ½ teaspoon of baking soda for every one cup of honey used. Reduce the oven temperature by 25°F.

Store honey at room temperature not in the refrigerator, which speeds crystallization. After about 2 years, honey may become cloudy and crystallize, but that doesn't mean it's not safe to consume. If it does crystallize, place the jar of honey in a bucket of warm water and stir the honey until dissolved.

Whether you use honey or table sugar, it is still an "added sugar" and should be minimized for optimal health.

Soft Granola Bars Printable PDF

1 egg, beaten

? cup honey

? cup vegetable or cooking oil

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup low- or reduced-fat granola

1 cup old-fashion oats

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

½ cup raisins or other dried fruit

Grease an 8 x 8-inch pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine egg, honey, oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add granola, oats, flour, nuts, if desired, and raisins. Stir just until ingredients are moistened. Press into prepared pan and bake at 325°F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center is clean.

Yield: 24 servings

Nutrition analysis per serving (without nuts): 100 calories, 4g total fat, 10mg cholesterol, 15mg sodium, 16g carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 1g protein

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