Honey Bee Honey versus Sugar Syrup

Question Emailed from Oliver March 2019

Honey vs Sugar Syrup

After last newsletter we received this question from Oliver who asked “ what nutrition does honey provide that sugar-syrup does not ? “

Hi Oliver,

Thanks for your email and what a great question.  

Honey when in a Beehive is a raw and natural pure food.

White sugar is made from cane sugars which are highly refined and the process removes fiber, it becomes fine granules and then the process can include bleaching to remove the caramel colour to make the granules pure white.

Breakdown of White Sugar:
100grams of white sugar = 387 Calories
Higher glycemic index, with higher fructose and absence of trace minerals.
Sodium 1mg
Potassium 2mg
Carbohydrate 100grams – no proteins

Breakdown of Honey:
100grams of honey ( specific honey type not defined ) = 304 Calories
Lower fructose and glucose. Becomes Sucrose.
Potassium 52mg
Sodium 4mg
Carbohydrate 82gram – composed of Fibre 0.2g – Sugar 82gr – Protein 0.3gr – 2% Iron

Most studies of sugar and honey are conducted in regard to its effects of its consumption by humans.  Reference Link to article by Jayne Leonard:-

It’s commonly understood that the nutritional composition of honey varies due to the type of nectar collected by the Honey Bee,  therefore, each variety of honey will have varying nutritional value.

Nectar is collected from plants by the Honey Bee, all nectar collected contains water.

The honey bee digests the nectar and adds enzymes in its process of its honey, then it removes the water.

Once the Bees remove the water from the nectar, it then becomes pure raw honey which contains amino acids,  trace minerals, vitamins C & B, pollens and protein, etc.

Where do we gain our understanding of honey as the best and most nutritious food for honey ?

Firstly, it appears to us as common sense that the food the Honey Bees collects and processes for themselves, is the right and best food for them.

Other source….
We were at a Kumeu Bee Community meeting 2017, where Dr Michelle Taylor from Plant and Food Research who stated that while studying her thesis, in happenstance, she found that Honey Bees which were feed on sugar-syrup did not live as long as those feeding off their own honey ( interesting side note: she also stated that hives that were opened while where there was capped brood between the ages of 14 and 18 days also had a shorter lifespan ).

Honey which the bee produces itself has minerals and proteins which they need because the proteins derived from the pollen they collect, is a crucial food fed to eggs/larvae providing essential nutrition needed in healthy bee development.  

From what we have come to understand, white refined sugar does not provide any such nutrition for healthy Honey Bee development and in fact may introduce the Honey Bee to chemicals         ( used in the processing of cane sugar to a white granule ) which may cause harm to them.

Well…. thanks for reading… more research may be required ….but in my mind the best food for Honey Bees is their own Honey. All the best guys. Regards, Margaret

One thought on “Honey Bee Honey versus Sugar Syrup

  1. Avatar photo
    Maurice says:


    Interesting but you do not refer to raw sugar or additives like”Bee Pro” thisv could be mofre useful if not so narrow don’t you think?


    Hawkes Bay

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