Honey is sweet – well that’s not news is it?! But exactly HOW sweet is honey? And is it a “better” sweet than other sweet things? We’re all very health conscious and we want to reduce the sugar in our diets, so is honey ok to just munch away at?!
Honey contains around 82g of sugars per 100g. This is made up of between 28% and 41% fructose and between 22% and 35% glucose along with smaller amounts of other sugars although the exact makeup depends on a variety of factors. It could be thought that if honey only contains 82g of sugar per 100g of honey that it is therefore less sweet than sugar. However this isn’t true because some sugars are sweeter than others.
White sugar that you might have in your cup of tea is almost 100% pure sucrose…. So that’s confusing – honey is fructose / glucose, and “sugar” is sucrose… and just to confuse you even more, sucrose is actually both fructose and glucose…!!??!!
Well, sugars are categorised as either monosaccharides or disaccharides. As the term suggests, monosaccharides are made up of a single unit of sugar and disaccharides are made from two (which are broken down by the body in to the separate sugars on digestion). White sugar is a disaccharides made from one molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose. Of those 3 sugars, fructose has the sweetest taste. Therefore because sucrose is made from 50% fructose and 50% glucose, it is less sweet that fructose but more sweet than glucose. So because honey has a higher percentage of fructose than glucose then it tastes sweeter than sugar.