Although both jelly and honey are primarily sugar, they each offer some health benefits. Both contain trace amounts of minerals and vitamins that can be a part of a healthy diet. The nutritional differences between honey and jelly are minimal and depend on the type of jelly you are considering.
Honey is a natural sweetener that contains the same basic sugar units, fructose and glucose, that table sugar does. A study published in 2002 in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” concluded that honey contains low to moderate levels of antioxidants. The darker the honey color, the more antioxidants it contains. Antioxidants help to protect your body from free radicals, which contribute to the breakdown of cells and may contribute to disease.
Jelly is a fruit spread that combines fruit juice with sugar. A jelly should be able to maintain its shape when it is out of the container but vibrate when moved. Homemade jellies and all-fruit jellies are often healthier than commercially prepared jellies because they contain less sugar. Commercial jellies may also contain other unhealthy ingredients, such as chemicals to preserve the product.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nutrient database, 1 tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories and has no fat. The same serving size of a typical commercial jelly has 56 calories and no grams of fat. A serving size of honey has 17.3 grams of carbohydrates and jelly has 14.69 grams of carbohydrates. Both honey and jelly have 11 milligrams of potassium. Both also have trace amounts of other minerals and vitamins.
Because both honey and jelly have similar nutritional information, one is not healthier than the other. However, you can choose types of jelly and honey that are more beneficial. Raw honey, a form of honey that is unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed, has the most nutritional value of any form of honey. All-fruit jelly is a form of jelly that does not contain any added sugars or preservatives. It is also higher in fiber than typical jelly.
- Columbia University Go Ask Alice: Honey vs. Sugar - Which One Is Healthier?
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Types of Jellied Products
- USDA Nutrient Database: Nutrient Data for 19296, Honey
- USDA Nutrient Database: Nutrient Data for 19300, Jellies
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Antioxidant Capacity of Honeys From Various Floral Sources Based on the Determination of Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and Inhibition of In Vitro Lipoprotein Oxidation in Human Serum Samples
- National Honey Board: Natural Energy
- Food Network: Make Your Own Jam
- Gourmet Food Clubs: The Amazing Health Benefits of Fruit Jam, Jelly & Preserves
- Benefits of Honey: What is so Special About Raw Honey
- Polaner: Nutritional Information