Differential effects of honey, sucrose, and fructose on blood sugar levels

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Jul-Aug 1990;13(6):322-5.


It is now recognized that dietary carbohydrate components influence the prevalence and severity of common degenerative diseases such as dental problems, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Fructose and sucrose have been evaluated and compared to glucose using glucose tolerance tests, but few such comparisons have been performed for a "natural" sugar source such as honey. In this study, 33 upper trimester chiropractic students volunteered for oral glucose tolerance testing comparing sucrose, fructose and honey during successive weeks. A 75-gm carbohydrate load in 250 ml of water was ingested and blood sugar readings were taken at 0, 30, 60, 90, 120 and 240 minutes. Fructose showed minimal changes in blood sugar levels, consistent with other studies. Sucrose gave higher blood sugar readings than honey at every measurement, producing significantly (p less than .05) greater glucose intolerance. Honey provided the fewest subjective symptoms of discomfort. Given that honey has a gentler effect on blood sugar levels on a per gram basis, and tastes sweeter than sucrose so that fewer grams would be consumed, it would seem prudent to recommend honey over sucrose.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Fructose / pharmacology*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Honey*
  • Humans
  • Sucrose / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose