Heated honey BAD for you? [Archive] - Beesource Beekeeping Forums

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Bee Whisperer
05-01-2016, 05:56 PM
My wife and I were having lunch with some other folks today, and the topic of "Honey" came up. The lady said that "honey becomes carcinogenic (toxic) when heated to over 115 degrees. I have understood over the years that over-heating honey ruins the valuable properties in it, but I had never heard that it could become harmful if eaten. So, I did a little looking online, and sure enough, there is a website promoting this. They say;


Why is it “bad” to heat honey?
Honey should never be raised to a temperature above ~115° F because that heats the honey past its raw state, and this heating transforms honey into something fundamentally different. In fact, it becomes ama (a toxin to the body).
First of all, let’s acknowledge that honey is a gift from the gods and an astounding food for us. We are very lucky to count it among our allies in health and wellness. And, if we take good stewardship of the bees who make it, honey is free for the taking! How great is that?!
http://pranamama.biz/why-is-it-not-ok-to-cook-with-honey/

Can some of you scientific medical professional types either verify or disqualify this? I have heated honey for years, and I have never experienced it being a "toxin."

clyderoad
05-01-2016, 06:03 PM
My wife and I were having lunch with some other folks today, and the topic of "Honey" came up. The lady said that "honey becomes carcinogenic (toxic) when heated to over 115 degrees. I have understood over the years that over-heating honey ruins the valuable properties in it, but I had never heard that it could become harmful if eaten. So, I did a little looking online, and sure enough, there is a website promoting this. They say;


Why is it “bad” to heat honey?
Honey should never be raised to a temperature above ~115° F because that heats the honey past its raw state, and this heating transforms honey into something fundamentally different. In fact, it becomes ama (a toxin to the body).
First of all, let’s acknowledge that honey is a gift from the gods and an astounding food for us. We are very lucky to count it among our allies in health and wellness. And, if we take good stewardship of the bees who make it, honey is free for the taking! How great is that?!
http://pranamama.biz/why-is-it-not-ok-to-cook-with-honey/

Can some of you scientific medical professional types either verify or disqualify this? I have heated honey for years, and I have never experienced it being a "toxin."

Forget what you found on the internet- you can find anything there.
But honestly, do you think it's 'toxic' and highly 'carcinogenic' ?

Bee Whisperer
05-01-2016, 06:07 PM
Absolutely not. I can't believe people put this kind of stuff out there. I would need to review the evidenced based studies on a claim like this, but I don't know all there is to know either, and I just need to know where this kind of thing comes from and if there is something I missed somewhere.

Zombee
05-01-2016, 07:48 PM
Natural Beekeeping author Ross Conrad sums it up pretty well in the first part of this article...

http://grist.org/article/2009-10-28-heat-makes-honey-toxic-and-other-myths-of-the-hive/

Basically he says there is no evidence to prove this.

We all know that heating honey kills enzymes that are so beneficial to us. So I eat a lot of honey raw. But I also cook with it, make jam with it, mix a little in with lemon juice and bourbon to hot water when I have a sore throat. I won't stop because of an Ayurvedic internet post or two that claim it is poison. I don't believe it at all.

Thanks for the post Bee Whisperer. I can stand against that myth now that I am aware of it.

greathorned
05-01-2016, 08:38 PM
No No, it has to be true. There is like a rule that states that they like can't place it on the net unless its true. I read that on the net.




Natural Beekeeping author Ross Conrad sums it up pretty well in the first part of this article...

http://grist.org/article/2009-10-28-heat-makes-honey-toxic-and-other-myths-of-the-hive/

Basically he says there is no evidence to prove this.

We all know that heating honey kills enzymes that are so beneficial to us. So I eat a lot of honey raw. But I also cook with it, make jam with it, mix a little in with lemon juice and bourbon to hot water when I have a sore throat. I won't stop because of an Ayurvedic internet post or two that claim it is poison. I don't believe it at all.

Thanks for the post Bee Whisperer. I can stand against that myth now that I am aware of it.

Michael Bush
05-02-2016, 08:57 AM
Heating honey produces HMF. HMF is toxic to bees and humans. But I think it would take quite a bit to make you sick.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxymethylfurfural

brettj777
05-02-2016, 11:14 AM
HMF is NOT toxic to humans!!! It's part of the carmelization process in sugars. It's pure quackery to think its harmful.

Heated honey, carmelized sugar, definitely is NOT good for bees.

"In humans, no correlation between intakes of HMF and disease is known." from the Wiki-link above

Cyan
05-02-2016, 01:28 PM
"A major metabolite in humans is 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furoic acid (HMFA), which is excreted in urine. HMF can also be metabolized to 5-sulfoxymethylfurfural (SMF), which is highly reactive and can form adducts with DNA or proteins."

DNA Adduct (Wiki Definition): "In molecular genetics, a DNA adduct is a segment of DNA ionically bonded to a cancer-causing chemical. This process could be the start of a cancerous cell, or carcinogenesis. DNA adducts in scientific experiments are used as biomarkers of exposure[1] and as such are themselves measured to reflect quantitatively, for comparison, the amount of carcinogen exposure to the subject organism, for example rats or other living animals.[citation needed] Under experimental conditions for study, such DNA adducts are induced by known carcinogens, of which commonly used is DMBA (7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene). For example, the term "DMBA-DNA adduct" in a scientific journal refers to a piece of DNA that has DMBA attached to it. The presence of such an adduct indicates prior exposure to a potential carcinogen, but does not by itself indicate the presence of cancer in the subject animal."


"In vitro tests and studies on rats suggest potential toxicity and carcinogenicity of HMF.[22] In humans, no correlation between intakes of HMF and disease is known."

So the question is: does the human body metabolize HMF? If it does, it can be harmful. Seems to be enough evidence there suggesting that it could be harmful to humans, whether proven in direct lab studies or not. But avoiding the intake of HMF seems near impossible in regards to modern food preparation, let alone that it occurs naturally. I think this ranks right along with grilled & preserved/processed meats.

Cyan
05-02-2016, 01:36 PM
LWT - Food Science and Technology Volume 44, Issue 4, May 2011, Pages 793–810
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643810003798

Abstract

Neo-formed contaminants (NFCs) are compounds forming during heating or preservation processes and exhibiting possible harmful effects to humans. Among the several NFCs described in literature, Acrylamide and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) have attracted the attention of the scientific community in recent years. Both acrylamide and HMF are considered as probably or potentially carcinogenic to humans or might be metabolized by humans to potentially carcinogenic compounds. Acrylamide and HMF are mainly formed through Maillard Reaction and can be regarded as the most important heat-induced contaminants occurring in bread and bakery products. Acrylamide is carcinogen in rodent and some recent epidemiological studies have highlighted the association between dietary acrylamide and an increased risk of some types of cancer.

Here's a bit more research that suggests that it is potentially harmful to human health.

Cyan
05-02-2016, 01:47 PM
On the other end of the coin, I'm not sure that we can call HMF "toxic". Toxic and carcinogenic are two words often used together, but 2 separate things. Any known substance can be toxic in the right quantity but not necessarily be a carcinogen.

ritan1
05-02-2016, 01:55 PM
Even if HMF were shown to be a hazard to human health, honey would be a negligible source of it. Baked goods would be a much higher source to it due to the sought-after Maillard Reaction. Heated honey has about 40+ mg/kg, while bakery bread has as much as 151. Coffee has 300-2900 and dried plums have as much as 2200 mg/kg. In short, you should worry much more about the breakfast toast that you spread your honey on and the coffee you drink with it.

That said, raw honey is the best!

Cyan
05-02-2016, 02:07 PM
I'm not trying to diss honey in any way- I love it too. But there would have to be a known threshold of exposure before anyone is proven right or wrong, and big ag will make sure that either never happens or downplay the heck out of it like they do HFCS.

So essentially, it's up to the consumer to decide if the risk is worth it- just like eating bacon. Regardless, my point is that theres enough evidence to say that Mr. Bush isn't necessarily wrong in his statement.

Cyan
05-02-2016, 02:09 PM
I'd bet that the antibiotics and chemicals used in treatments are more hazardous to human health than the HMF on any level. But again, if there's no scientific study, how can either of us prove it? Doubt we'll see an unbiased study on that subject as well because of big pharma.

JeffM17
05-02-2016, 02:18 PM
If that were true what happens when you bake with honey such as Cakes and cornbread etc... Does it become cancer food?

ritan1
05-02-2016, 02:26 PM
cornbread without honey??!! I just might prefer cancer.

Cyan
05-02-2016, 02:33 PM
I suppose that from a logical standpoint, if you increase the dosage, you increase the risks associated with exposure. But again, science needs to provide clear and concise answers as to what it does in the human body. But there are variables here, one person can smoke 50 years and not get cancer while another smokes 5 and does. Such is the nature of cancer and the human body. Genetics throw a lot of variables in there that we still don't understand.

It still won't stop me from eating what I like though. I spent nearly 20 years cleaning up hazardous waste all across the country. Take it from me, food is the least of my concern, as most people will find is also true for themselves.

antonioh
05-06-2016, 03:08 AM
HMF is naturaly occuring in honey.

In EU, for most kinds of honey is limited to 40 mg / Kg. There are some exceptions for some kinds of honey. Above this limit is accepted only for industry.

It seems that its not shure that we metabolise HMF in toxic or carcinogenic substances. If we do , which is the metabolic pathway ?

For instance , we take easily paracetamol. It´s highly toxic for cats... also pyrrolizidine alkaloids are carcinogenic for rats (lung cancer) but not for humans (in respect of lung cancer) . Although mammals, we have diferente metabolic pathways.

In Portugal, in some regions, namely in the south , there is a byproduct of honey made with the surplus of honey from cappings . We call it "água-mel" (literally water-honey) . Its made by boiling for many hours (12 or more) the water resulting from washing cappings until it gets the consistency of honey. It has very high levels of HMF.

There is a study made in University of Algarve about this. Apparently it has also high levels of fenolic compounds:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00217-015-2528-5

Don´t children eat loly-pops ? And candies ? And sweets ? Do you have the idea of the level of HMF of these substances ? Above 20 000 mg / Kg ... some even arrive to 40 000 mg / Kg

So...

antonioh
05-06-2016, 03:19 AM
Ah !

I forgot . It,s unforgivable :) ...

What about a special kind of mead ? I´m refering to Bochet , in which honey is boiled until it caramelizes . Who doesn´t like it ?