Honey Might be the Sweet Spot to Control Blood Sugar and Cholesterol
High intake of added or free sugars has been shown to contribute to the rise in obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (
Health and nutrition guidelines call for a reduction in consumption of added sugars, with health agencies recommending an intake of no more than 5% to 10% of total energy intake per day (
). Most regulatory agencies include honey within their definition of free or added sugars (
). In contrast, honey is often regarded by the public as a healthier alternative to sugar.
Honey is a complex composition of sugars, organic acids, enzymes, proteins, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and bioactive substances made by honeybees from the nectar of flowers (4✔ ✔Trusted Source
Proper Labeling of Honey and Honey
Products: Guidance for Industry
Go to source
It has shown many benefits for cardiometabolic health in in vitro, animal, and clinical trials. Among these benefits are improvements in body weight, inflammation, lipid profile, and glycemic control. However, the evidence for this effect in human studies has not been systematically evaluated and quantified (5✔ ✔Trusted Source
Contribution of honey in nutrition and human health: A review
Go to source). Furthermore, it is unclear whether the effect of honey differs by the type of honey, such as floral source, and whether honey is raw or processed.
The current study’s researchers investigated the effects of the oral intake of honey for at least seven days or more. These studies determined how honey consumption impacted adiposity, glycaemic control, lipids, blood pressure, uric acid, inflammatory markers, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease markers (6✔ ✔Trusted Source
Effect of honey on cardiometabolic risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Go to source).
Importantly, the studies analysed by the researchers in this review involved otherwise healthy patients who did not consume excessive amounts of sugar on a daily basis.
The study consisted of 1,105 participants in total. In these trials, the daily dose of honey was 40 grams, with a length of eight weeks.
The different trial comparisons that were involved in these studies included the impact of honey on body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), fasting glucose, fasting insulin, glycated hemoglobin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), fasting triglycerides, apolipoprotein, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), uric acid, and alanine aminotransferase (ALT).
Honey and Its Impact on Cardiometabolic Health
Honey was found to improve lipid outcomes by reducing total cholesterol, LDL-C, and fasting triglyceride levels and increasing HDL-C levels. Furthermore, the oral consumption of honey increased IL-6 and TNF- α levels.
Notably, the researchers found that the floral source and processing method of honey had an impact on its health effects. For example, Robinia honey, clover honey, and raw honey were all associated with reduced fasting glucose and total cholesterol levels.
The health benefits of raw honey, which are not subjected to the harsh effects of pasteurization may be attributed to the presence of probiotic bacteria in this product, such as lactobacilli. In previous studies, lactobacilli have been shown to improve the regulation of the immune system, reduce serum lipid levels, exert anti-oxidant effects, and maintain short-chain fatty acid levels in the intestines.
Despite the high sugar concentration of honey which is about 80%, the majority of which is fructose and glucose, the current study found that the various other bioactive substances that comprise this natural sweetener likely provide cardiometabolic health benefits to consumers.
In addition to the conventional sugars found in honey, rare sugars, which have been shown to alter both short- and long-term glycaemic outcomes, comprise about 14% of the sugar content of honey. Therefore, the presence of these sugars may also contribute to the observed health benefits of honey.
- Controversies about sugars: results from systematic reviews and meta-analyses on obesity, cardiometabolic disease and diabetes
- WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children
- Reduce sugar
- Proper Labeling of Honey and Honey
Products: Guidance for Industry – (https://www.fda.gov/files/food/published/PDF—Guidance-for-Industry–Proper-Labeling-of-Honey-and-Honey-Products.pdf)
- Contribution of honey in nutrition and human health: A review
- Effect of honey on cardiometabolic risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis
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