Is There A Nutritional Difference Between Using Sugar Or Honey In Coffee?

For many of us, it's essential to start the day with a cup of coffee. According to the National Coffee Association, 84% of Americans have a cup of coffee with breakfast as a part of their morning routine. The flavor of coffee might not be for everyone, though. There are a ton of different coffees out there with different roasts, growing conditions, and even species of coffee beans, but if you're someone who just doesn't like the way coffee tastes, there's not a lot you can do.

Adding milk to make a latte or cappuccino can help, but many people have to go for sugar or another sweetener to help make the taste more enjoyable. The National Coffee Association reports that just over half of coffee drinkers prefer to add a sweetener to their morning brew. If you need a lot of coffee to get through your busy day, or to work the night shift, then you're adding a lot of unneeded sugar to your diet. Harvard Medical School says that added sugar intake may contribute to negative health effects such as higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease.

Many non-sugar sweeteners are also considered to be ineffective as dietary substitutes and may have undesired long-term effects. However, one possible sugar substitute with some health benefits might be honey. 

Honey has some benefits over sugar

Honey is a natural sweetener produced by honey bee colonies, and was originally thought of as a gift from the gods by early civilizations (via Food52). Honey is most often reserved as a sweetener for tea when it comes to hot drinks. For those looking for a natural sugar substitute for their coffee, though, honey just might be the best option out there.

Healthline notes that honey is higher in fructose than sugar. Fructose is a sweet flavor compound that has a stronger flavor than others like glucose. This means that you won't be adding as much honey as you would sugar to get the same sweet flavor. Honey is slightly higher in calories than sugar according to Healthline, but since you'll need less of it to get the same sweetness, you'll likely be saving calories. It also has a lower glycemic index than sugar, meaning it won't spike your blood sugar (via Homegrounds). Honey also has trace amounts of minerals and vitamins as well. 

One potential drawback to honey, according to the Perfect Daily Grind, is that it has its own flavor. Sugar works well to add sweetness without affecting the coffee's flavor much beyond masking the bitter notes. Adding honey will alter the flavor of the coffee, however, this also depends on the type of honey being used. Local Honey Finder says that acacia and alfalfa honey are both good options for neutral flavors.