honey for diabetes
Nutrition
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Honey - Good Or Bad For Diabetes

Abnormally high blood glucose levels characterise the condition of diabetes, sometimes referred to as blood sugar levels. As a result, persons with diabetes must monitor and regulate their carbohydrate consumption to control their blood sugar levels.

Sugar is a carbohydrate that many people with diabetes are told is "off-limits." However, there are other varieties of sugar, and persons with diabetes may question if some sugars, such as honey, are healthier for them than white sugar.

Natural sweetener honey is derived from honey bee nectar. It is mostly made up of water and the two sugars fructose and glucose, with between 30 and 35 per cent glucose and roughly 40 per cent fructose.

Other sugars and a trace quantity (approximately 0.5 per cent) of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants round out the remaining ingredients. Honey contains around 17 grams of carbohydrates and 60 calories per tablespoon.

White (table) sugar, or sucrose, consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose instead of ordinary white (table) sugar. There are 13 grams of carbs in each tablespoon of white sugar, containing no vitamins or minerals.

What is honey

Usually created by honeybees, honey is a thick golden-brown liquid. The bees extract nectar from flowers and store it in their stomach and release it in the hive. Nectar is a composition of sucrose which is natural sugar, water, and a few other substances. It constitutes 80 percent carbohydrates and 20 percent water. The bees continuously perform the process of regurgitating the nectar and removing water from it to produce honey. As per studies, 1 tablespoon of honey contains 60 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrates. It is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Here is a peek into honey’s nutritional value for 1 cup honey (350grams)

Calories       1030  
Total fats     0g    
Cholesterol   0mg    
Carbohydrates 280g  
Dietary fiber 1g    
Protein       1g    
Sodium         14 mg  
Vitamin C     3%    
Riboflavin     8%    
Potassium     176 mg
Calcium       20mg  
Iron           1.4mg  
Magnesium     6.8mg  
Phosphorus     13.6mg
Zinc           0.7mg  
Copper         0.1mg  
Manganese     0.3mg  
Vitamin B6     4%    
Folate         2%    

Benefits of eating honey

  • Honey for diabetes or in general everyone is a great add-on to the diet due to the immense health benefits it possesses. Here are the numerous health benefits of consuming honey. 
  • Aids weight management- Consuming honey before going to bed or consuming it with lukewarm water in the morning helps to boost metabolism and eventually burn fats. 
  • Strengthens immune system- Honey works best to fight against infections caused by bacteria, viruses, etc. It heals sore throats and the antioxidants present in honey are good for strengthening immunity. 
  • Good for skin- Honey has amazing nourishing and moisturizing properties. It heals cracked and dry skin. Being a natural antiseptic, it is also used to heal bruises, cuts, burns, etc. 
  • Boosts memory- Consuming honey prevents metabolic stress and helps you to concentrate better. It has calming and soothing effects which are good for your brain in the long run. 
  • Eases cough- Honey works best for removing controlled cough. Intake of honey can help you to get rid of dry and cold coughs and bring peace to your throat irritation. 
  • Aids healing of wounds- The antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant nature of honey helps to fight bacteria and prevent any infection from spreading. It is used as a natural antiseptic. 
  • Good for curing sinuses- Honey reduces inflammation and fights bacteria making it good for respiratory problems such as sinus. It can also prevent sinus attacks by soothing the throat.
  • Helps with gum diseases- Consistently consuming honey can help to deal with gum diseases like gingivitis, bleeding, and plaque. Rubbing honey on your gums can also bring relief from pain. 
  • Prevents and controls eczema- Eczema is a skin issue usually experienced by young children. A mixture of honey and cold-pressed olive oil when applied to the skin will have soothing effects on itchy skin. Regular usage can also prevent eczema. 
  • Enhances sleep quality- Adding honey to your bedtime beverage will enhance the quality of your sleep. You can add it to chamomile tea or simply consume a teaspoon of honey with warm milk.

Also read about how to prevent diabetes

How Does Honey Affect Blood Sugar?

Honey, being a carbohydrate, is anticipated to affect blood sugar levels when ingested. However, it may have a smaller effect when compared to other sugars. One research compared the glycemic impact of honey to glucose in adults with type 2 diabetes, monitoring blood sugar levels one and two hours after eating. Researchers discovered that blood sugar levels peaked about one hour after consuming honey, followed by a drop.

Blood sugar levels were lower two hours after honey eating than the first hour. Blood sugar levels following glucose consumption, on the other hand, were greater than with honey in the first hour and continued to climb even in the second hour.

Because honey had a smaller peak in blood sugar levels than glucose, it is possible that honey had a lesser glycemic impact. More study, however, is required to validate this assertion. Read more about how to cure diabetes.

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Insulin and Honey

Honey induces a larger insulin response than other sugars. As a result, some individuals have theorised that honey is beneficial to diabetics and may even prevent diabetes. When there isn't enough insulin, or it isn't utilised correctly by the body, glucose (sugar) lingers in the bloodstream, resulting in high blood sugar levels. Honey also increased the levels of C-peptide in the subjects. C-peptide, like insulin, is produced and released by the pancreas. A normal C-peptide level suggests that the body is manufacturing enough insulin.

The Dangers of Honey

Like any other sweetener, honey should be used in moderation due to its tendency to raise blood sugar levels. If your diabetes is poorly controlled, it may be prudent to reduce your honey consumption. Because honey is sweeter than white sugar, you don't need as much of it to get the same sweetness. When purchasing honey, be certain that it is the only ingredient indicated on the label, with no added sugars.

While honey includes certain elements that are helpful to your health, you would need to drink more than is suggested to receive a substantial quantity from it. Consume little amounts of honey to supplement your vitamin and mineral intake since other sources of these elements will significantly impact blood sugar levels. Raw honey is normally unprocessed, whereas most honey purchased in supermarkets has been filtered and/or pasteurised.

How much Honey can you have?

Even though it is natural, honey is still regarded as an added sugar in the diet. Nonetheless, when taken in moderation as part of a healthy diet, it may be safely enjoyed by those with diabetes. A diet high in fibre, such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, will aid with blood sugar management.

When eating honey, keep the entire carbohydrate content of a meal in mind so that you don't overdo it and develop hyperglycemia. Make careful to balance any honey-containing meal or snack with other healthful, low-carbohydrate items. Some folks prefer raw honey since it contains no added sugars. Raw honey may include trace quantities of pollen, but filtered honey is free of pollen and other solids.

Being a diabetic it is essential that whatever you eat should be consumed in the right quantity. So that it does not affect your daily calorie intake badly and eventually should not cause any harm to your blood sugar levels. According to a Turkish study, it was observed that if a person with diabetes took 5-25 grams of honey for as long as 4 months, had reduced Haemoglobin A1c levels. On the other hand, increasing honey intake more than that can spike up your hemoglobin A1c levels and eventually worsen your diabetic condition.

Honey can be raw or processed

Pure and non-filtered form of honey is called raw honey. Such type of honey is directly derived from the beehive and strained to remove impurities. Whereas, processed honey undergoes several filtration processes and is pasteurized to eliminate yeast and increase its shelf life. Although processed honey is much smoother, the process tends to remove some of its essential nutrients and antioxidants. 

There are different types of honey depending on the nectar that the bees fed upon. This affects the taste and color of honey.

 Is Honey Different From Other Sweeteners?

Honey is used as a natural sweetener which is added to other food items to make them sweet. The carbohydrates in honey are simple sugars. Added to that, it also has negligible amounts of vitamins and nutrients in its constitution. 

The key point of difference between honey and other sweeteners like white sugar is that white sugar doesn’t have even negligible amounts of vitamins and nutrients. Compared to sugar honey has a low glycemic index. Honey has a GI of 58 and sugar has a GI of 60. This signifies that both honey and sugar can spike blood sugar levels however, sugar does this much faster than honey. 

Honey affects blood sugar levels almost similarly to sugar. So, if you are consuming honey make sure to intake it in the right quantity so that it does not work negatively for you.

 Benefits of eating honey with Diabetes

Often people think that honey can raise blood sugar levels in diabetics. Well, if you consume it in the right quantity it will help you to balance your sugar levels at times so you must know what quantity suits your body. Some benefits of consuming honey for diabetics include

  •  Raises insulin levels which helps to control blood sugar levels. 
  • Honey is a rich source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that helps to metabolize sugar and reduce diabetes complications. 

Treats inflammation which helps the body to prevent insulin resistance.

 Can honey prevent diabetes?

Prevention is a bigger word; however, honey is quite effective in increasing insulin levels and helping people with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels better. This makes honey good for diabetes. As per the research, it was found that there exists a link between honey and a low glycemic index. For people with type 1 diabetes, it was established that consuming honey had a lower glycemic index as compared to sugar. 

 Honey also raises C-peptide levels which is a substance that the body releases when it produces insulin. Research is still underway to establish the efficiency of honey to prevent diabetes. 

Bottomline

Honey may provide a variety of health advantages. Compared to other types of sugars, it may induce greater insulin levels and lower blood sugar levels. However, further study is needed to demonstrate that it is a safe choice for those with diabetes. It is preferable to use honey to replace other sugars rather than an added sweetener. Consume it sparingly, and if it produces a significant increase in blood sugar levels, discontinue usage.

FAQs

Is honey good for diabetes?

The answer to this question lies in how much honey a diabetic is having. Honey raises insulin levels therefore, it is good for controlling blood sugar levels. It is important to consume it in the right quantity to reap its numerous benefits. 

Does honey raise blood sugar in diabetics?

The GI of any food impacts how much it raises blood sugar levels. The glycemic index of honey is 58 which means it does raise blood sugar levels. However, the GI of sugar is 60 which means sugar raises GI must faster than honey. Therefore, both honey and sugar should be consumed optimally. 

Can a mix of apple cider vinegar and honey help diabetes?

Consuming the mix of apple cider vinegar and honey has positive impacts on diabetics as this blend boosts the immune system. This mixture is usually diluted with water and it aids weight loss and helps to manage blood sugar levels efficiently. 

What’s the best natural sugar substitute for diabetics?

Some of the best natural sugar substitutes for diabetics include Stevia, coconut palm sugar, Erythritol, etc. People often substitute sugar with honey but in fact, honey has more calories than sugar which can raise sugar levels. The only point of difference is that honey has essential vitamins and nutrients that work in favor of our health. 

References

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/honey-and-diabetes
  • https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/honey-diabetes
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/honey-and-diabetes
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317662
  • https://www.verywellhealth.com/honey-and-diabetes-5115267

Disclaimer

This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.