Sugar is sweet, Honey is sweeter!!
Traced as far back as 8,000 years ago, and depicted in Stone Age paintings, honey has been documented to have been used as a medicinal substance by the ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Assyrians, and Egyptians. It has been used over the centuries as an antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory natural medicine, and that’s not all. Honey has been used to treat burns, GI tract diseases, cardiovascular disease. So can honey replace sugar in your diet?
The latest researches on refined or white sugar show how harmful it can be on your body. An excess of sweetened foods and beverages can lead to weight gain, blood sugar problems, and an increased risk of heart disease, among other dangerous conditions.
As compared to this, honey has a lower GI value than sugar, meaning that it does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly. Honey is sweeter than sugar, so you may need less of it, but it does have slightly more calories per teaspoon so it's wise to keep a close eye on your portion sizes. If you do prefer honey, try to choose a raw variety, which contains more vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants, and nutrients than white sugar and use it in moderation.
For example, if you use 1 cup sugar in your regular baking, half of this amount might be enough when you use honey. The rich, dense flavor is an added benefit!
Check out the kitchen cheat sheet for substituting sugar with honey.
But 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.
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.
From our range of honey, try Neem Honey, Acacia Honey, and Ajwain Honey for added health benefits.