Asked by Tim, Minnesota
I was wondering if substituting sugar for honey is a healthy trade-off? Are the types of sugar and antioxidants in honey worth the 70 calories per serving, or if I'm trying to lose weight, should I cut out sugar altogether, including honey?
Diet and Fitness Expert
Dr. Melina Jampolis
Physician Nutrition Specialist
Hi Tim. This is a great question as Americans are eating too much sugar. Our sugar consumption has increased approximately 30 percent in the past few decades. Recent data suggest that the average American consumes approximately 22.2 teaspoons of sugar per day, or 355 calories worth. Excess sugar consumption has been linked to a number of medical problems including obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and inflammation, which can lead to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Recently released guidelines from the American Heart Association suggest limiting added sugar intake to six teaspoons per day for women and nine teaspoons per day for men. Since there are three teaspoons in one tablespoon of honey, this would be one third of your daily allotted intake of added sugar. Even though honey contains slightly more nutrients than sugar, the extra 70 calories per day, whether from sugar or honey, could prevent you from losing 7.3 pounds per year! So if you are trying to lose weight, I would limit honey and sugar as much as possible and focus on getting your nutrients and antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
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