Honeybees pollinate 80% of over 130 fruits and vegetables consumed in the United States. People have used pollination’s byproduct (honey) for thousands of years to treat common medical conditions. Now, a recent study shows that eating raw honey could reduce a person’s blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Researchers at the University of Toronto found that honey might be good for cardiometabolic health, unlike other sweeteners. Ultimately, their study determined that replacing sugar with raw honey could lower the risk of developing high cholesterol and blood sugar-related diseases. Furthermore, these benefits were seen in studies of people whose diet contained 10% or less sugar.
“The study is a review and meta-analysis of the effects of honey in 18 controlled feeding trials involving 1,105 predominately healthy individuals,” explained Robby Berman for Medical News Today. Overall, the studies revealed that consuming honey lowered fasting blood glucose (blood sugar levels on an empty stomach). Additionally, the trials showed decreased total and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and a marker of fatty liver disease.
Moreover, scientists discovered raw and monofloral honey offers the most cardiometabolic benefit. This means switching out sugar for honey could help an individual’s body with heart disease and metabolic disorders such as diabetes.
Blood Sugar and Honey
Cardiometabolic issues are associated with many kinds of sugar, and honey is 80% sugar. But the study’s authors suggest that honey might be in a category of its own, which may be worthy of special consideration as a healthy food, Berman further explained.
The researchers concluded that the health benefits are so strong that honey’s standing as an added dietary sugar should conceivably be reconsidered, Lisa O’Mary for WebMD wrote.
Federal dietary guidelines recommend that a person’s added sugar be less than 10% of the daily caloric intake. Additionally, the American Heart Association says daily consumption of honey is not a good idea, with 64 calories per tablespoon and minimal fiber, vitamins, or protein.
Nonetheless, the study co-author Tauseef Khan. Ph.D. said they were not suggesting that people add honey to their diet if they currently avoid sugar. “The takeaway is more about replacement — if you’re using table sugar, syrup, or another sweetener, switching those sugars for honey might lower cardiometabolic risks.”
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Medical News Today: Raw honey could help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels, study finds; by Robby Berman, Fact checked by Ferdinand Lali, Ph.D.
Healthline: 8 Raw Honey Benefits for Health; by Rena Goldman and Catherine Clark, Medically reviewed by Marie Lorraine Johnson, MS, RD
Harvard Health: How good is your cardiometabolic health — and what is that, anyway? By Robert H. Shmerling, MD
WebMD: Eating Honey May Help People Manage Cholesterol, Blood Sugar; by Lisa O’Mary