The truth about Honey

  • Honey

    Can Honey be WORSE for you than sugar

    Believe it or not I am no fan of sugar. Years ago, I used to put down no less than a six pack of Dr. Pepper every day. Obviously, I was hooked not only on the caffeine but also the sugar. My wife said it was her or the Dr. Pepper. About six weeks after the divorce I finally decided that the Dr. Pepper had to go too. It was amazing how much better I started to feel after my body got over the sugar and caffeine withdrawals. It didn't take long before I became that person everyone hates because they continually tell you why you shouldn't drink sodas or smoke or eat at every fast food restaurant in town.

    As I became more of an advocate of not drinking sodas I also learned about the downside of one of its primary ingredients, sugar. A diet rich in sugar wrecks your teeth, increases our waistlines and ruins our skin, it also alters our moods and even our sleep patterns. OK, I know I'm a real party pooper here and I'm that person again with more stuff you shouldn't do.

    So now that I was a model health freak I decided that I needed something healthier with my heart healthy oats and nut cereal and I figured honey was the healthy alternative. I mean it's right from nature and not something formulated in a lab or bleached and processed till it's molecular structure is like that of plastic. Well maybe not that bad but let's all agree that it isn't good for you.

    It's commonly accepted that honey is better for us, but is that really the case? Ok here comes that guy again… The short answer is because it is made of 55 per cent fructose (fruit sugar), eating honey is more beneficial for our bodies than eating granulated sugar, right? Well here are the facts mam.

    Sugar is sugar. And honey is (mostly) sugar. But if you're choosing between the two from a health perspective, err on the side of the sticky stuff.

    Now let's take a look at it from a scientific view. Don't get me wrong I don't have a bunch of letters behind my name but the following comes from my intensive scientific evaluation and research. I read some articles on the subject. Ok not so scientific but here is what I learned.

    Your body breaks food down into glucose in order to use it for fuel. The more complex a food — namely a carbohydrate — is, the more work it takes to break it down. Sugar is made of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, the sugar typically found in fruits, and is broken down very easily, leading to a surge of blood glucose. What your body doesn't use right away gets stored as fat. Honey is also made mostly of sugar, but it's only about 30 percent glucose and less than 40 percent fructose. And there are also about 20 other sugars in the mix, many of which are much more complex, and dextrin, a type of starchy fiber. This means that your body expends more energy to break it all down to glucose. Therefore, you end up accumulating fewer calories from it.

    Honey also has trace elements in it — stuff that bees picked up while going from plant to plant. These will depend on region, so depending on the source of your honey it could have varying small amounts of minerals like zinc and selenium, as well as some vitamins. OH boy more vitamins. I knew this stuff was good for you. And because honey doesn't break down in nature, it doesn't contain preservatives or other additives.

    There's an idea that sugar is a pantomime villain and honey is the pantomime hero,' says nutritional therapist Ian Marber. He is the guy that wrote the intensive research that I did. And then the shocker. 'It's not accurate. Loading honey onto a bowl of oatmeal or breakfast cereal isn't much better for our bodies than layering that cereal up with granulated sugar.

    'Honey is slightly lower on the glycaemic index (GI) than sugar (so it is absorbed into the body at a slightly slower rate), but it's all about how you interpret the data, (sounds scientific ehhh) - when you think of honey you think of nature, bees, a farmer spooning honey from his hives into a jar that goes on the shelf in the local shop.

    'When you think of sugar, images of plantations are conjured up; factories, processing, churning out of white granules. But most honey is far from bucolically produced and both are forms of sugar. (you will want to look bucolically up, I did). Honey is not benign, it has a knock-on effect on the body like refined sugar. We want foods to be 'good' for you - but that may not be the case when you think honey is good for you.


    Honey is also high in calories - more than table sugar. A teaspoon of commercial natural honey contains about 22 calories, a teaspoon of sugar around 16 calories. Many people who swapped honey for sugar found they liberally poured it into yoghurts, herbal teas and the like imagining honey to be superior to other sugars. When people think something is low fat, they tend to eat more.


    Companies use the word 'honey' instead of saying something is 'sweet' because they know it has an implied health benefit.

    While raw, unrefined varieties of honey - from farms and health food stores - do contain trace vitamins and minerals; niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and vitamin B6, they only make up about two per cent of honey's total content.

    Many big-brand honeys and other 'natural' sweeteners in supermarkets have been processed - heated and filtered - to rid them of pollen and naturally-occurring bacteria in raw, varieties. But it also removes these vitamins and minerals. The key word here is processed.

    Buzzy lives

    An average worker bee will make one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. A whole lot of work for such a small amount.


    O so here is why my cheeks are beginning to rest on my chest. Dr Mica Engel, aesthetic doctor at London's Waterhouse Young Clinic says glucose, fructose and carbs in honey will cause collagen damage - just like sugar. 'Benefits from the few extra vitamins some honey contains won't help to repair damage done to your collagen.'


    Added sugar (refined white sugar or honey) has no nutritional benefit. The NHS says added sugar can safely make up 10 per cent of a daily calorie intake (50g or 12½ tsp a day for women, and 70g or 17½ tsp a day for men).

    What it all boils down to is that while we all crave sweetness in our foods it is apparent that sugar or honey can have numerous health consequences. I have learned, again through my extensive research from the same article, that there is so much sugar used in our foods today that adding more with honey is not a wise choice if you truly want to be healthy.

    If you do nothing about the sodas you drink or the sugar you add to your coffee, think about this short article whenever you open that soda or tear open one more packet of sugar for your coffee.

    And for my last comment I must say this is a pretty sweet blog post if I do say so myself. OH OK, I hear the sighs from here.


1 comment
  • Bob Kimsey likes this
  • Bob Kimsey
    Bob Kimsey I use honey in my coffee because I thought it was better than sugar but now I think I'll be drinking it black.
    April 7