Honey Is Just as Bad for You as High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Honey, the sticky-sweet golden nectar that comes out of bears (little plastic ones), isn't as good for you as you may have thought. Just don't tell Jessica Alba.

For years, the health police have told us that high-fructose corn syrup will turn us into diabetic blimps, but is honey any better? A new study from the US Department of Agriculture -- sponsored in part by the honey industry -- compared the health effects of honey, cane sugar, and high-fructose corn sweetener and found that all three sugary substances are basically the same, according to a report by The Washington Post

In the study, researchers gave 55 people daily doses of the three sweeteners for 14 days at a time, then analyzed the impact on their insulin, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and body weight. The result: all three substances had the same effect on the subjects; specifically, all three led to increases in blood fat, which is associated with heart disease, according to the report. 

“We wanted to find out if they were different," Susan K. Raatz, author of the study and a research nutritionist at the USDA. told WaPo. "But chemically, they are very, very similar, and that’s what it seems to break down to.”

This is all to say that new evidence suggests honey is just as bad for you as high-fructose corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup isn't any worse for you than honey. As Raatz explained via email, "sugar is sugar." 

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and recently reawakened his love for honey in tea. Mmm. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.