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Coffee is easily the most popular beverage in the world. It is what keeps you going in the throughout the day and is usually the first thing you consume after you get out of bed. And if a coffee is a necessary part of our daily lives, sugar isn’t far behind. Most people will take white sugar or brown sugar with their morning coffee. However, given the potential side-effects associated with sugar, this isn’t exactly the healthiest practice in the world. In this article, we are going to discuss the use of honey as a substitute for table sugar. We are also going to discuss the benefits of choosing honey vs sugar in coffee and the different types that you can choose from.
Before we discuss the use of honey over sugar as a sweetener, it is important to understand the differences between the two.
Refined sugar is made of two carbohydrates – glucose and fructose. The
composition of honey is more complex. It contains glucose (30%), fructose (40%), pollen, water, and other nutrients. These include amino acids, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.
Honey has a higher number of calories than sugar. You will find 16 calories in a teaspoon of white sugar. A teaspoon of honey, on the other hand, contains approximately 23 calories. There’s a catch, though. Refined sugar contains a more complex form of glucose and fructose. These take longer to process.
Honey, on the other hand, contains carbohydrates in their basic forms. These can be broken down more easily. Bees also add enzymes to honey. This helps break down the sugar present and make it easier for your body to digest them.
It is also important to remember that sugar contains empty calories. Honey contains other compounds such as vitamins and minerals that contribute to your nutrition.
Honey is sweeter than table sugar. This is important considering the calorie count of honey. You will usually need only half a teaspoon of honey to sweeten your coffee. This allows you to consume fewer calories (11.5 calories, to be precise) while enjoying the same sweet taste. This may not necessarily help with weight loss, but it can make a difference.
You can also take honey with black coffee. The flavor might be a bit different, but it’s worth a shot, right?
Besides its composition and taste, raw honey is a superior choice to white sugar because of its health benefits as well. Let’s take a look at what these are:
The Glycemic Index of honey is lower than sugar. We have already discussed the differences in the composition of refined sugar and honey. This plays an important role in the way your body processes these two compounds. Honey contains lower levels of fructose. It also contains minerals such as potassium and manganese. This helps slow down the rate of absorption of honey by the body. Due to this, the energy in honey is used more efficiently and lasts for a longer time.
On the other hand, taking sugar in your coffee for breakfast may give you that extra kick. However, refined sugar is absorbed more quickly and causes a spike in your blood sugar. Unstable blood sugar levels are responsible for headaches, mood swings, and fatigue. You also end up having false food cravings. This can derail any weight loss plans and lead to an over-consumption of food.
Raw honey is a rich source of flavonoids. These are chemical compounds that have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-allergenic properties. It is also a source of antioxidants. Thus, adding honey to your coffee will give you more than your daily dose of caffeine.
Honey has prebiotic properties. This means that it can encourage the growth of ‘good bacteria’ in your gut. This is because honey contains oligosaccharides that can help bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactobacilli to grow.
Adding sugar to your coffee daily can have a variety of side-effects. These include:
Carbohydrates such as glucose can slow down your brain. They also damage cognitive development. You may have experienced a mental fog after consuming too much sugar. This is one example of the effect of sugar on your brain. Sugar also increases the risk of tension and depression.
Consuming processed sugars can be bad for your kidneys, pancreas, heart, and liver as well. The refined fructose present in white sugar can also cause problems in your liver. Your liver needs to metabolize this compound and high sugar intake can result in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A high-sugar diet can create problems in cholesterol management. It harms your arteries as well and can cause stress to your heart, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. Finally, sugar can cause your uric acid levels to rise. This can result in kidney disease.
Given that coffee already gets a bad name for staining your teeth, choosing to add honey to your coffee can protect your teeth from something far worse: cavities. That’s right. A high-sugar diet can cause tooth problems such as the development of dental cavities. It can also result in gum disease.
Excessive sugar puts you at a higher risk of diabetes. This can be due to your body becoming resistant to insulin. Too much sugar in your diet also leads to obesity. This is a leading cause of diabetes.
It is important to remember that excessive use of honey can still be detrimental to your blood sugar levels. Consuming too much honey can have side-effects that are similar to the overuse of table sugar. These include weight gain, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Honey is also more costly than sugar. It may not be as easily available as well.
There are many different local varieties of honey that you can add to your coffee. These are sorted according to the flowers pollinated by bees. Some of the most common types include:
Buckwheat: This is dark honey. It has a strong and spicy flavor.
Alfalfa: This is a light type of honey with a mild flavor.
Acacia: This is sweeter than other types. It has a classic taste and is very light.
Chestnut: This is dark and strong. It is also slightly bitter in taste and is great for making strong coffee.
Basswood: This has a strong flavor but is light.
Fireweed: This has a complex flavor but is light.
Lavender: This has a sweet lavender flavor. It is amber in color.
Eucalyptus: This is dark in appearance. It has a hint of menthol and will add a slightly tart flavor to your coffee.
Clover: This has a mild flavor and is light.
Heather: This has a complex flavor. It is amber in color and has pungent, bitter sort of taste in the beginning. It also has a smoky yet slightly sweet finish.
Oilseed Rape: This can be milky in color. It can also be the traditional yellow. It has a fresh floral taste with a hint of fruit.
Macadamia Nut: This has a dark chocolate color. As the name suggests, it has a nutty yet sweet flavor. It also has a floral scent.
Tupelo: This is light and golden in appearance. It has a heavy texture and carries a distinctive taste.
Wildflower: This is light. It carries a rich and fruity flavor.
Palmetto: This has a mild, sweet flavor.
Sage: This is similar to Palmetto honey. It has a mild and balanced flavor.
Orange Blossom: This is a light type. It has a sweet floral taste with a hint of citrus.
Sourwood: This is very light. It carries a touch of spice and gives off a wonderful aroma.
Honey has several benefits that make it the obvious choice over sugar in your coffee. It has a low glycemic index and is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It also has antibacterial and prebiotic properties and is very healthy for your gut. There are several different types of honey to choose from as well. Using honey as a sweetener for your coffee will give you more than the mandatory sweetness.
Depending on the type, it will also add another dimension of flavor to your coffee. You can experiment with different coffee recipes containing honey. Honey also works well with black coffee and can help dispel the bitter taste without adding too many calories to your drink.
As opposed to honey, there is zero nutrition in sugar. It has a variety of harmful side-effects that can cause damage to your organs. It is also important to remember that there are so many other sources of carbohydrates present in your diet. You may not be able to cut back on all of these but things like table sugar have easy substitutes, a.k.a honey.