Honey has long been used to sweeten foods and beverages, including tea and coffee.
Many prefer this sweet, thick liquid as a healthier alternative to sugar or zero-calorie sweeteners.
However, while honey may offer several health benefits, it has some drawbacks.
This article reviews whether you should add honey to your coffee.
Honey may provide trace amounts of nutrients
Unlike sugar and artificial sweeteners, which offer little nutrition, honey provides some vitamins, minerals, and other health-boosting compounds that may give your coffee a slight nutritional boost.
It also contains antioxidants, which have been shown to help prevent cellular damage caused by harmful compounds called free radicals.
Furthermore, raw honey contains pollen, which has been shown to help reduce allergies and boost your immune system.
The small amounts of honey typically added to hot coffee are unlikely to offer significant benefits.
Summary: Unlike sugar and artificial sweeteners, honey contains nutrients and other healthy compounds. However, the small amount of honey typically added to hot coffee will only provide minimal health benefits.
Honey adds empty calories
Though honey contains some nutrients, it comprises mainly sugar.
For optimal health, you should limit your intake of added sugars, including honey, to no more than 5% of your daily calorie intake.
Adding two teaspoons (14 grams) of honey, which provide 40 calories and 12 grams of sugar, to your coffee could easily cause you to surpass this limit, especially if you drink several cups per day.
High added sugar intake has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
If you’re trying to reduce your daily calories, you may want to skip sweetening your coffee altogether or choose a natural, zero-calorie sweetener like stevia or monk fruit.
Summary: Adding honey to your coffee adds sugar and calories to the beverage. Depending on your health goals, you may want to choose a zero-calorie sweetener instead.
Honey alters the flavor
Honey may also change the flavor of your coffee.
The flavor of honey depends on the type of pollen from which it’s made. For example, clover honey — the most common type in the United States — has a very mild flavor, while other varieties like buckwheat or manuka have a much stronger taste.
Still, even mild clover honey will alter the taste of your coffee compared with neutral-tasting table sugar or other sweeteners.
If you choose to add honey to your coffee, start with only a tiny amount of mild honey like clover to limit how much the taste is altered and adjust how much you add until you have found your sweet spot.
Summary: Honey may change the flavor of your coffee. Only use a small amount of mild-tasting honey like clover to limit this effect.
Unlike sugar and zero-calorie sweeteners, honey can provide trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
However, adding it to your coffee also adds sugar and calories and changes the flavor of your drink.
Ultimately, choosing to add honey to your coffee depends on your preferences and dietary goals.