Honey and Diabetes: Can You Eat Honey If You Have Diabetes?
Can honey be used as a tool in managing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
On the face of it, the answer seems no, as honey comprises majorly of sugar. But recent research proves otherwise. Researchers found that in the group of people with diabetes, honey caused an initial increase in blood sugar 30 minutes after consumption. However, the participant’s blood sugar levels later decreased and remained at lower levels for two hours.
This leads researchers to believe that honey, unlike table sugar, may cause an increase in insulin, which is an important hormone for controlling blood sugar.
People living with diabetes have to control and manage their carbohydrate and sugar intake. This doesn’t mean they have to avoid sweets altogether. In moderation, honey isn’t only safe, but it has anti-inflammatory properties that might also reduce diabetes complications.
If your diabetes is well-controlled and you want to add honey to your diet, choose pure, organic, or raw natural honey. These types are safer for people with diabetes because all-natural honey doesn’t have any added sugar.
A review published in 2017 also explored the connection between honey and blood glucose in people with diabetes. The authors found that honey had the following effects:
- Honey decreased fasting serum glucose, which a doctor measures after a person has fasted for at least 8 hours.
- It increased levels of fasting C-peptide, which helps the pancreas know how much insulin to secrete and plays a crucial role in keeping blood sugar levels stable in a healthy range.
- It increased 2-hour postprandial C-peptide levels, which indicate the amount of peptide after a person eats.
Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties
Other studies have suggested that honey may have additional benefits because it contains antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
A review published in 2017 looked at the potential roles of honey in healing. The authors noted that, in people with type 2 diabetes, doctors may one day use honey to lower blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of complications related to diabetes and metabolic disease, and help heal wounds.
In 2014, researchers published similar findings, noting that honey might help to fight the inflammatory processes that occur with diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease, all of which are features of metabolic syndrome.
Given these findings, one can safely say that honey may be a healthful substitute for refined sugars, such as white sugar, turbinado, cane sugar, and powdered sugar.
There is strong evidence which indicates the beneficial effects of honey in the treatment of diabetes. Honey can increase your insulin level and help control your blood sugar. Also being a potent source of antioxidants can be used as an adjunct to standard anti-diabetic drugs. Research has shown that honey may prove to be a valuable sugar substitute in diabetics. The therapeutic effects of honey in the management of diabetes may not only be restricted to controlling blood sugar levels but also may be extended to metabolic syndromes and cardiovascular diseases.
However, people should use it in moderation. It, too, can cause blood sugar levels to spike, especially when a person uses honey in addition to, rather than instead of, another form of sugar.