Honey has long been used to sweeten foods and beverages, including tea and coffee. In fact, many people prefer this sweet, thick liquid as an alternative to sugar or zero-calorie sweeteners.
However, while honey may offer several health benefits, it has some drawbacks to consider.
This article reviews whether you should add honey to your coffee.
Unlike granulated sugar and artificial sweeteners — both of which offer little in terms of 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 (
That said, the small amounts of honey typically added to hot coffee are unlikely to offer significant benefits.
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.
Though honey contains some nutrients, it is mostly sugar.
For optimal health, you should limit your intake of added sugars, including honey, to no more than 10% of your daily calorie intake. That’s no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men and 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women per day (
Adding 2 teaspoons (14 grams) of honey, which provides 43 calories and 12 grams of sugar, to your coffee would take up 48% of the daily sugar allotment for women and 33% of the daily sugar allotment for men, according to the American Heart Association (
If you’re trying to reduce your daily calorie intake, you may want to skip sweetening your coffee altogether or choose a natural, zero-calorie sweetener like stevia or monk fruit.
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 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 but do not want it to alter the flavor too much, start with only a small amount of a mildly-flavored honey. Then, adjust how much you add until you find your sweet spot.
Honey may change the flavor of your coffee. To limit this effect, only use a small amount of a mild-tasting honey like clover.
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, whether you choose to add honey to your coffee depends on your preferences and dietary goals.