Honey may contain heath benefits, but does that mean we should eat it? The answer to this question is not necessarily clear cut. The benefits have been documented in literature for many years, but are the benefits worth the added calories and increased amount of glucose?
In the age of keto diets and fasting, sugars have been deemed the enemy. Minimizing your intake of sugar is aways good advice, especially highly processed sugars. But what abut natural sugars?
Honey is a natural sweetener that may actually have more calories than sugar. It contains 17 grams of carbs and 64 calories per tablespoon, whereas sugar only has 13 grams of carbs and 48 calories per tablespoon.
Although honey may have heath benefits, adding it to your diet is not for everyone. It should not be consumed by children under 12 months of age, as this could cause botulism. Honey should also be carefully considered by anyone with diabetes. Although using it in lieu of sugar may decrease your triglycerides, it will still yield higher calories. Those who are prone to allergies should also be careful with honey, as the pollen used by the bees to make it could cause an allergic reaction. Some medicines may counteract with honey also, so ask your doctor if you are uncertain.
Benefits of Honey
Although honey does have trace amounts of iron, zinc, potassium, and vitamin C, the amounts are very small and you would need large quantities to make it worthwhile. Unfortunately, large quantities are not a good idea.
Several studies have proven that honey is good for wound and burn healing. Its antibacterial properties may be the main reason for this. In fact, one study showed it may be better than antiseptics when treating burns.
Mixing honey with water and drinking it has a beneficial impact on red blood cells (RBC). RBCs help carry oxygen to all parts of your body.
Honey’s most powerful benefit comes in the form of improved gut heath. It may reduce the toxic effects in the gut of mycotoxins produced by fungi. Some studies show it has prebiotic and probiotic benefits, which will improve overall heath.
I would not necessarily recommend adding honey to your current diet, unless you are looking to add some extra calories. Otherwise, look to substituting honey for an added sugar you are already consuming. Just be sure you are not allergic and that it won’t interfere with your medications. If you notice any negative effects then stop consuming it immediately. If you notice some heath benefits to having honey, then experiment with amounts that work best for you. I would recommended keeping your serving sizes to under 2 Tbsp per day. Good luck.
Dr Spencer Charlet
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