Honey-and-diabetes

Is honey bad for diabetics? Diabetics are advised a low-sugar diet. It’s simple science, the less sugar you put in your body, the more stable your blood sugar levels. And since honey is nature’s sweetener, by default, many diabetics avoid it.

But is raw, organic, all-natural honey actually bad for diabetics? Can diabetics eat honey, if they take extreme care to purchase only the highest quality raw honey? Let’s find out.

Is Honey Bad For Diabetics?

It depends. The kind of honey you eat makes all the difference. If it’s organic and all-natural or not, and how much of it you add to your diet.

Honey differs from sugar. 100 grams of honey contains about 82% sugar by weight, while 100gm of sugar contains 99.9% sugar. Pure honey has a glycemic index of 58, sugar’s glycemic index is 60. But where honey trumps over sugar is in its vitamin and mineral content. It contains nearly 200 different substances, especially antioxidants, which may protect against several diseases.

Additionally, honey and sugar have different impacts on blood sugar levels. A study conducted at Dubai Specialized Medical Center and Medical Research Laboratories proved that natural honey lowers plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects. Researchers found that while 75g of honey did raise blood sugar and insulin levels in the first two hours, 75g of pure glucose raised them both significantly more. The initial blood sugar spike measured at 30 minutes was greater from honey than from glucose. However, blood sugar levels in the honey group then dropped lower than sugar, and remained lower for the next two hours. Pure, raw honey causes a greater rise in insulin compared to sugar.

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Can Diabetics Eat Honey?

Cautious consumption of natural unprocessed honey, when factored into your total caloric requirement, will not raise your blood sugar levels. It also has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which highly benefit diabetics.

However, it’s crucial to understand that the main sweetener in honey is fructose, and it’s important to limit daily fructose intake under 50gm to keep both blood sugar levels and lipid profile stable. It’s also important to know that one tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories, 8.1 grams of fructose and 17gm of carbohydrates. We recommend that you keep a closer eye on your carb intake, instead of sugar intake, and make sure that these carbs you ingest via pure honey are counted towards your diabetic LCHF diet. The good news – because honey is sweeter than sugar, you need very little of it to add the desired sweetness.

Which Honey is Better for Diabetics?

If your blood sugar levels and HbA1C levels are not yet under control, we recommend you don’t eat any honey and work closely with your doctor and a trained nutritionist to get your numbers under control.

If your blood sugar levels and HbA1C levels are under control, and you don’t want to take all sweetness out of life, we recommend pure, organic, raw, all-natural honey is a way better choice that artificial sweeteners of any kind. The key is to find PURE, ORGANIC honey with no added sugars and other additives.

Also, in Ayurveda, honey is considered as a medium to carry the medicines into the body. If you are a keen practitioner of alternative medicine and are using cinnamon for stabilizing blood sugar levels, honey can be a great medium. Work with an herbalist to ascertain quantities ingested every day though.

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The Difference in Natural And Organic Honey

The best honey for diabetics is pure, raw, organic honey that comes from the natural source – the bee hive, and has no added sugars or other additives to increase its shelf life. Organic honey follows USDA standards wherein it may be pasteurized or heated to temperatures hot enough to kill any naturally present bacteria (honey may contain botulism causing spores in its untreated form) but not affect the nutritional benefits of the raw honey.

On the other hand, if a bottle says ‘natural honey’ – it is also manufactured by bees at a bee-farm but can undergo more processing by the company or farmer after it has been collected, which is why it doesn’t have the USDA stamp stating to certify it as ‘organic’.

Your best option is to source locally produced honey that is organic and sold in its raw form.

How to Choose the Right Honey

It’s important to know how to choose the right honey. Make sure you are picking the best quality you can afford with these simple tips.

  • Pure, raw, organic honey is thick and never separates into layers
  • When a spoonful of pure honey is dropped into a glass of water, it settles at the bottom and doesn’t dissolve instantly.
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Hannah Verret
Hannah Verret is a Content Developer at Diabetic Nation in Memphis, TN. Hannah has been working in content creation throughout her entire adult career. When Hannah isn't writing or organizing social media posts, she's spending her time reading and loving on her many pets.