If honey not bad too, why sugar is bad for health?

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About so-called “natural sugars” like honey that are said to be more nutritious and less hazardous to your health. If honey not bad too, why sugar is bad for health? Is honey better than sugar?

By now, you probably got the memo that eating too much sugar is bad news for your health. An overly sweet diet is blamed for a whole host of health issues including diabetes, heart disease, and poor brain functioning. And taking in too many sugary calories surely won’t do your waistline any favors.

One of the biggest errors I see people make in the world of nutrition is applying general advice as rules for individuals.

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On a population level, reducing sugar intake is likely to improve health. Generally, minimising sugar consumption is good advice. But just because something will help most people doesn’t mean it’s a law of nature that can’t be broken.

Shocking to many, there doesn’t actually exist any evidence that sugar is at all bad for healthy humans. On an individual level—to you, me and the inevitable commenters telling me how wrong I am, just becuzzz—sugar isn’t necessarily harmful. It can even, in the right circumstances, be healthy.

The unhealthiness of a diet high in sugar seems to be that of an opportunity cost—by consuming lots of sugary treats we eat less of the nutrients we need to survive and thrive—and one of excessive weight gain through a caloric surplus.

So to answer your question: Sugar is bad and honey is not, not because of the nutritional content of these foods, but because of the concepts you have adopted; the lenses through which you see food and the world.

Furthermore, this idea, that sugar is the devil, has created swaths of people that think they can lose weight if only the cut sugar out of their diets. Inevitably these people end up overeating on other food sources—often “healthy” alternatives spiked with honey—because while they’ve eliminated sugar from their diets, the same behavioural and physio- and psychological causes that made them vulnerable to overeat on sugar are still there.

Obviously sugar=obesity is too simplistic an idea. So if sugar isn’t inherently unhealthy nor inherently fattening, why do we still see it has unhealthy?


A hamburger consists of a bun, vegetables, some dressing + sauce, meat and cheese. Alone, none of these items are unabashedly seen as unhealthy. Yet together they come, forming a picturesque image of unhealthiness.

Both sugar and hamburgers are delicious and precisely because of that deliciousness they tend to be the building blocks of unhealthy, nutritionally poor and calorically dense diets.

We deem them unhealthy, not because of their nutritional content, but because of the unhealthiness we associate them with. We feel sticks of guilt when buying chocolate, not because chocolate is harmful, but because of the diets and people that correlate with the consumption of it.

There is nothing inherently good or healthy about honey either. It’s just expensive shit from bees that isn’t used as a sweetener in the food we think most overweight people eat and thus lacks the stigma floating around sugar.

The truth is that the vast majority of foods aren’t unhealthy or healthy. They can’t be good or bad because they’re only stand-alone pieces. By themselves they tell us nothing about the health of the individual eating them.

Yet on a population level they do. Diets with lots of sugar tend to be unhealthier when we look at big amounts of people.[5]

Yet—and this is were most people erroneously jump the gun—that doesn’t mean sugar is bad.

It can in fact be both good and neutral to a persons health as well. To give the most boring answer possible: it all depends, on the diet as a whole and the individual in question.

And biologically speaking sugar is pretty much the same as honey.


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