Raw honey could help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels, study finds

I think it is fair to say that most of us like something sweet to eat. Many of us also are concerned about eating too much sugar. But what if I told you that there may be something that can satisfy your sweet tooth and give you cardio metabolic benefits at the same time?

A new study1 found that for people on a healthy diet in which no more than 10% of daily calories come from sugar, honey, unlike other sweeteners may be able to do just that.

Honey lowered blood sugar levels on an empty stomach and lowered total and “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Some of you may find that surprising as there is much research to show that sugar is bad for us on many health levels. So, what makes honey different?

To start, unlike most sweeteners, honey’s sweetening power does not come exclusively from common sugars, such as fructose and glucose. Honey is also made of dozens of rare sugars such as, isomaltulose, kojibiose, trehalose, melezitose, and other more complicated names.

Many of these have been shown to have health benefits including improving glucose response, reducing insulin resistance, and promoting growth of bacteria associated with a healthy gut.

These rare sugars are from the honeybees themselves. They are produced when the bees process the nectar from the flowers with special enzymes. Nature is pretty remarkable - producing something sweet that still has health benefits - an all-natural processing technique.

There is more to honey than just sugar. There are many other bioactive components such as polyphenols and organic acids. These compounds have a host of other properties such as anti-cancer, antibiotic, anti-obesity, as well as helping to protect you from free radical damage and to reduce inflammation.

If we look at this a little further, raw honey is where all the nutrients and antioxidants are found. Most honey is sadly pasteurized not for safety but for convenience and shelf life, so always look for raw honey. It may be harder to measure in a spoon or to pour but you will be getting more of the health components.

Another important thing to note is that the study found that raw, monofloral honey produced the best health effects. We have already discussed what makes some honey raw. What is monofloral?

A monofloral honey is one that comes exclusively from the bee-collected nectar of a single type of plant, or even a single plant.

Most honey is poly-floral, meaning that the bees that produce it collect nectar from any nectar-producing plants within a 2-to-4-mile range from their hive.

The researchers found that raw honey and monofloral honey provide the most cardio-metabolic benefit. So, when you go to buy honey, make sure that is what you are getting.

At the end of the day, I am simply suggesting that you replace some of the sugar you now eat with some raw, monofloral honey as part of your entire health and wellness strategy.

1 Amna Ahmed, Zujaja Tul-Noor, Danielle Lee, Shamaila Bajwah, Zara Ahmed, Shanza Zafar, Maliha Syeda, Fakeha Jamil, Faizaan Qureshi, Fatima Zia, Rumsha Baig, Saniya Ahmed, Mobushra Tayyiba, Suleman Ahmad, Dan Ramdath, Rong Tsao, Steve Cui, Cyril W C Kendall, Russell J de Souza, Tauseef A Khan, John L Sievenpiper, Effect of honey on cardiometabolic risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Nutrition Reviews, 2022; nuac086, https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuac086