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What's Best for Weight Loss & Health? Sugar vs. Honey

Updated: Apr 2, 2023

Do you have any idea how much added sugar you should have a day?

Do you know what is considered added sugar?

And is it better to use honey over table sugar when you’re trying to lose weight?

The Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation

The American Heart Association and

The World Health Organization

All recommend that women ideally consume no more than 6 teaspoons(25 grams) a day of added sugars, while men should have no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams).

6 teaspoons of “added” sugar a day

Take a minute and commit this to memory:

6 teaspoons(24 grams) of added sugars a day max

6 teaspoons(24 grams) of added sugars a day max

6 teaspoons(24 grams) of added sugars a day max

6 teaspoons(24 grams) of added sugars a day max

Close your eyes now and say it (or sing it!) out loud 6 times.

The reason I want you to commit that number to memory is that as you’re choosing a packaged food at the grocery store or adding sugar to any food or drink, this number will hopefully pop into your mind and you might be inclined to choose a packaged food with less sugar or add just a little bit less sugar to your coffee or tea.

Cutting out “added” sugar from your diet without feeling the deprivation of cutting out sugar is, in my opinion, one of the most AWESOME ways to get to, and stay, at your healthy weight when you’re the type of person who craves sweets.

What’s the difference between added sugar and naturally occurring sugars?

Foods with natural sugars are foods such as fruit, vegetables, and dairy, and foods with added sugars are ones where the sugar was added during manufacturing, processing, or preparation.

Now, when you brew a cup of tea or coffee or add a sweetener to your oatmeal or plain yogurt, should you reach for honey or sugar? Let’s quickly compare white and brown table sugar to honey.

22 calories/tsp (5 grams)Contains small amounts of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, iron, zinc and antioxidants.


What is it


Health benefits

White (table sugar)

​Almost completely sucrose, a natural sugar occurring in sugar cane, processed down to a salt-like texture.

15 calories/tsp (4 grams)

None. Trace amounts of minerals per tsp

Brown sugar

White sugar with molasses, a sugar by-product that has been boiled down into a thick, dark syrup. The darker one just has more molasses.

15 calories/tsp (4 grams)

None. Also negligible amounts of minerals per tsp


Made up of 41% fructose, and 34% glucose, it’s made by bees using the nectar of flowering plants. Raw honey comes straight from the honeycomb, filtered only to remove small bits of debris, including pollen, beeswax, and parts of dead bees. Regular, or pasteurized honey, improves the honey’s appearance, increases its shelf-life, and kills yeast cells that can affect the taste of the honey.

22 calories/tsp

(5 grams)

Contains small amounts of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, iron, zinc and antioxidants. Some people believe that pasteurization reduces the number of antioxidants and nutrients in the honey.

When it comes to added sugar, or any food for that matter, you have to think of its effect on your weight management based on its calorie content and its effect on your health based on its ingredients and how it’s made.


As far as weight loss is concerned:

  • Honey is NOT better than white or brown sugar when you take a look at the calories per teaspoon. As you can see in the table above, honey has 7 more calories than sugar, so if you do prefer to use honey, since it's slightly sweeter, make sure to use a bit less.

As far as health is concerned:

  • Honey contains vitamins including niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin B6, but it contains only traces of these minerals, like 2%, so honey alone won’t help you meet the USDA’s recommended daily standards. These trace vitamins might make honey a slightly better choice than white sugar, but it’s still not a “health” food. Choose honey as your primary sweetener if you prefer the taste. To go a step further in the most nutritious choice, choose raw honey over pasteurized honey, as it’s believed to be rich in antioxidants and has been linked to several health benefits, such as providing an immune system boost. Again, keep in mind that it’s minimal at 6 or less teaspoons a day. BUT NOTE: The NIH (The U.S. National Institute of Health) recommends that babies under one year old never be given ANY TYPE of honey, and that people of all ages should eat pasteurized honey to be safe from food poisoning.

  • Honey is indeed a natural product. But so is sugar. Most manufacturers make white sugar by refining sugar cane, making white sugar a natural product. Clearly, natural is not always synonymous with healthy.

  • “Organic” label doesn’t automatically mean the honey is healthier or better quality. Bees sometimes fly a few miles past their pesticide- and herbicide-free property to ones with flowers that aren’t. And even organic honey may be ultra-pasteurized.”


Even though honey contains slightly more nutrients than sugar, you still want to see it as an added sugar. So if you’re trying to lose weight, limit honey and sugar as much as possible and focus on getting your nutrients and antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Eating natural sugars in these healthy foods is not linked to negative health effects, since the amount of sugar tends to be modest and is packed with fibre and other healthful nutrients. On the other hand, our bodies do not need, or benefit from, eating added sugar.

Try to buy the plain version of foods and if you feel you'll only eat them if they're slightly sweet, sweeten them by using a natural sweetener - choosing sugar or honey as you prefer - so you're able to control the amount of added sugar. Some processed honey products contain high fructose corn syrup or other additives. Check the label to make sure the honey is pure.

And be sure to consume no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of added sugar per day.

But you already knew that!

If you're a mom over 40 and need accountability and think following a structured program will help you lose weight and keep it off for good, then click here to learn about my 12-Week LIKE A BOSS Weight Loss System.

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