Honey vs. Sugar Healthy Substitution

If you desire to use honey instead of sugar, here is a conversion for baking goods:

  • For every 1 cup of sugar, substitute 1/2 cup honey
  • For every 1 cup of honey you are using, subtract 1/4 cup of other liquids from recipe
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for every 1 cup of honey used
  • Lastly, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit


Honey is composed primarily of water and two sugars: fructose and glucose. It also contains trace amounts of enzymes, amino acids, B vitamins, Vitamin C, minerals and antioxidants. Honey is higher in fructose than glucose. Fructose is sweeter than glucose, so you may be able to use a smaller amount of honey in your food or drink without sacrificing sweetness. The trace amounts of vitamins and minerals found in honey may also have added health benefits.

A calorie dense carbohydrate, sugar is derived from sugar beet and sugar cane plants. It requires multistep processing before it becomes the refined, granulated table sugar that we use most often. Eating too much sugar can increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Sugar is a common ingredient in many processed foods, so you may eat more of it than you realize. This can lead to weight gain and obesity.

Your body breaks food down into glucose in order to use it for fuel. The more complex a food (namely a carbohydrate) the more work it takes to break it down. Sugar is made of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, the sugar typically found in fruits, and is broken down very easily, leading to a surge of blood glucose. What your body doesn’t use right away gets stored as fat. Honey is also made mostly of sugar, but it’s only about 30 percent glucose and less than 40 percent fructose. And there are also about 20 other sugars in the mix, many of which are much more complex, also containing dextrin which is a starchy fiber. This means that your body expends more energy to break it all down to glucose. Therefore, you end up accumulating less calories from honey while processing it.

Overall, honey goes through less processing than sugar does. It requires pasteurization only to become table ready. Honey can also be eaten raw.

What is Honey Helper? We are a non-profit working to turn around the colony collapse disorder of honeybees. Click Here To Learn More


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