Myth 30: Honey, brown sugar and agave syrup are better for you than white sugar
What Dietitians of Canada says:
“Nutritionally speaking, they are all pretty much the same. While some people consider brown sugar, honey or agave syrup to be more natural, they are still sugars. All are concentrated sources of calories with very few other nutrients. Your body can’t tell the difference between them and white sugar. In fact, your body handles naturally occurring sugar in food or processed sugars and syrups in the same way.”
What I say:
I’ve discussed sugar in a previous post: Sweetener Sabotage. What DC is saying is true, your body processes all these sugars in the same way and does not distinguish between them. From a calorie standpoint, liquid sugars (e.g. honey, maple syrup, and agave) tend to have slightly more calories than granular sugars teaspoon for teaspoon. Sugar contains few nutrients other than calories and most of us consume far too much of it. However, there has been some indication that honey and maple syrup may provide health benefits. Most of this is anecdotal, so please don’t take this as an endorsement to go run out and stock up on these sweeteners. It’s better to cut back on foods that are high in sugar and low in nutrients. If you absolutely need a little something sweet in your coffee or in your oatmeal then you might be better off going with a teaspoon of maple syrup or honey.
P.S. Happy National Dietitians Day to my fellow Canadian dietitians!