Is Honey a Safe(r) Sweetener?
Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,269

    Default Is Honey a Safe(r) Sweetener?

    Here is from a healthy life-style blog (by Mark Sisson) that I follow:

    https://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-h...fer-sweetener/

    Many supporting refs to research for those who like to drill-in/verify.

    In short - (the real) honey is the best choice than the rest of them.
    The darker honey is the better.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,535

    Default Re: Is Honey a Safe(r) Sweetener?

    Safer, in what way?

    Certainly not as a "safer" sugar or carbohydrate for people who need to manage their sugar or carb intake very closely, i.e. anybody with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or similar issues. Indeed, by volume, at least, it's probably more of a risk than table sugar to someone trying to manage blood glucose levels, because it is more concentrated (i.e. 17 g of carbohydrates per Tbsp in honey vs 13 g carbohydrates in the same amount of white sugar.) Perhaps one would eat a smaller volume to achieve the same sweetness in the mouth.

    Some honeys are reported to have lower glycemic index numbers, which a scale that rates how quickly different products raise blood glucose. (A lower number is better on this scale.)

    Healthier for you than granulated cane or beet sugar? Well, it's certainly less processed and that is generally better because processing almost always amounts to refining-down or removal of naturally occurring elements of one kind or another. Often in the removal of very tiny amounts, some of which may make a difference in ways we don't yet know about.

    OTOH, since honey usually has some amount of pollen in it, unless it itself is processed, that may be a risk for some highly allergic people, while perhaps also conferring some protection from developing allergies to substances in the local area to other people by beneficially exposing them to very minor amounts of the allergen and "training" their immune systems not to react.

    Anybody making a case that honey is specifically a health food (as opposed to a healthy choice for a sweetener) is probably an outlier/ nutritional crackpot. It's tasty to some people (alas, not to me), not very processed and a local sweetener in northern areas where there is no cane or beet production.

    It makes excellent food for bees!

    Nancy

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,269

    Default Re: Is Honey a Safe(r) Sweetener?

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Safer, in what way?

    Nancy
    Well, Nancy, did you read the blog post (and few embedded scientific refs)?

    The blogger does discuss few points that you seem to be (re)asking (though maybe rhetorically).
    He did not state the honey is a "health food".
    He did state honey is a safer sweetener and pulled in few data points to support the claim.

    I personally have no answers for you.
    I don't know enough about this life to have a personal blog/video channel about anything.


    PS: I really like fresh dark sourdough bread (self made) with butter and my own honey on it - especially for breakfast - very healthy as for me; hehehe
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lambton Shores, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Is Honey a Safe(r) Sweetener?

    I'm a cardiovascular disease research by day, which means I think about (and research, as in both reading scientific studies and in doing work in my lab) aspects of this issue.

    To be blunt, this blogger is engaged in magical-thinking, and has cherry-picked a few resources which vaguely support his fantasy. The blog post is an exercise in confirmation bias and naturalistic fallacy, nothing more.

    This has turned into a long post. TLDR: sugars are essentially equivalent in their health effects. Honey, nor anything else, is a magical food that will miraculously overcome our dietary sins. Eat a balanced, plant-rich diet and you'll be fine - no need to worry about enjoying the odd sweetened beverage or candy bar. Conversely, if you already consume too much sugar and simply replace that with honey, you'll be just as badly off as if you didn't make the switch.

    Now for the long bit...

    Firstly, despite all the claims of stuff other than sugar/water in honey makes it somehow better is utter nonsense. Honey is ~18% water, 81.5% various sugars, and 0.5% other stuff. And that other "stuff" is a pretty diverse mix of things - organic acids, proteins, flavenoids, and a few other trace materials. What this means is that any one class of the "other" stuff is essentially present in trace amounts. Nutritionally speaking, even if you were to replace 100% of sugar content Americans eat each day with honey (90-100g), the amounts of these other materials present in the honey would be metabolically and nutritionally irrelevant. As one example, you would gain ~0.3g of protein versus sugar alone. 0.3g of protein is equivalent to 0.5% the recommended daily intake of protein, or equivalent to eating ~2 bites out of an apple, or a 1 mm (~1/32") long segment of a hot dog. The other materials in honey are found at - proportional to recommended daily intakes - even lower levels in honey, and well below any nutritionally/health-relevant levels.

    As for the sugars, despite the claims of the health food industry, one kind of sugar is not nutritionally better for you, nor more healthy, than another. From a human-centric position, sugars come in three forms - polysaccharides (complex carbs) which have to be broken down into monosaccharides prior to metabolism (this covers everything from table sugar (sucrose), to milk sugar (lactose), to starches, maltose, and a range of other dietary carbohydrates), monosaccharides which can be directly metabolised (glucose and galactose), and monosaccharides which must be isomerized (have a few atoms moved about) prior to metabolism (fructose and a dozen or so others). Our bodies are incredibly efficient at these conversions - most polysaccharides are broken down by enzymes in our saliva prior to making it to our stomach, and by the time you get to your lower intestine all but a few (fructans, mostly) have been completely degraded. Some, such as simple starches (e.g. white flour products) are broken down so rapidly that their effect on blood glucose is as rapid and extreme as eating an equivalent mass of table sugar. The same is true for sugars requiring isomerization - most of these are "first pass" metabolites. This is quite important when talking about the metabolic and health effects of these sugars. Nutrients, including sugars, are absorbed directly into the intestinal blood supply. This blood supply, when it leaves the intestine, all goes to the liver (for detoxification of anything dangerous, prior to transport to the rest of the body). Nearly 100% of sugars requiring isomerization prior to metabolism are isomerized in the liver on the first pass - i.e. right after being absorbed by the intestine. This means that the bulk of your body never "sees" these sugars in significant amounts. In other words, there is no chance for them to exert their purported toxicity.

    There have been some claims that sugars requiring isomerization - particularly fructose - causes liver issues, particularly the deposition of liver fat. This is partially true - excessive fructose intake (e.g. in soda) is associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, this is not fructose-specific, and rather is an "error" of population bias. Different countries have different sugar intake profiles - the US and Mexico tend to consume a lot of high-frutose sweetened foods, whereas in tropical areas and more northerly countries, sucrose-rich sweeteners dominate. The link between fructose intake and NAFLD first came out of the US and Mexico, where high-fructose sweeteners are paired with extremely high sugar intake. However, later studies looking at people consuming the same number of sugar calories but with different sugar profiles found the same increase in risk of NAFLD. In other words, its the total sugar intake - not the kind of sugar - that is the problem.

    In terms of (a few) of his specific claims:
    1. Honey results in lower triglyceride levels (in rats) due to increased saity. Yes, this is true, sort-of. Rats - like humans - love sugar, and will eat it in large amounts if given the option. And rats - like humans - have a finite amount of space in their intestines. So if you give them the option of eating pure sugar versus ~82% sugar in water (e.g. honey), they will eat both until they are full - and will consequentially absorb ~18% less calories (and therefore have ~18% less triglycerides and other carbohydrate-storage materials like glycogen) than the rats who eat pure, dry sugar. You don't see these differences when you feed the rats an equivalent amount of *sugar* (e.g. adjust for water content). So this is only relevant if your diet is 100% sugar and nothing else.
    2. Glucose spikes are less in humans if they consume an equal weight-in-sugar of honey versus dextrose. This is my favourite "point", because this blogger either doesn't have a first-year biology student's grasp of sugars, or he is hoping his audience doesn't. Dextrose is glucose - two names for the same thing. So it shouldn't be surprising that consuming pure glucose versus honey (which is 30% glucose + ~15% sugars which the liver isomerizes to glucose) results in a larger glucose spike. If you measure total blood sugars, or the insulin response, the differences drop to near-zero.
    3. Anti-oxidant claims (many). This is the old stand-by for pretend nutritional guru's - when everything else fails yell "antioxidants" and then run away. It is true that honey (and lots of other foods - honey is not unique in this) has measurable antioxidant activity. And that is fantastic for things like ensuring its shelf-life. But biologically speaking, its meaningless. I (and thousands of other scientists) spent an astounding amount of time in the late 1990's and early 2000's studying antioxidants. They are very important for our health...but food-derived antioxidants are not*. Our bodies have a fairly complex antioxidant system (over a dozen enzymes + various small molecules), and it is critical for our health. Unfortunately, dietary antioxidants - and even injected antioxidants - have no discernible health benefit in any disease in which they've been studied, nor on general health status or longevity. And the reason is very simple - oxidants are produced deep within our cells (mostly by mitochondria - our cells energy generating machines), and the damage they cause tends to occur within the same cell that produced it. So having an antioxidant in your stomach (most are poorly absorbed) or in your blood (via injection) doesn't help because they are not in the right place.


    *EDIT: the intake of food-based antioxidants is *associated* with better health outcomes, but this is not because of the antioxidants, but rather because people who have high antioxidant intake tend to have better diets (e.g. plant-rich diets). Supplementing the same amount of antioxidants into someone with a bad diet doesn't have the same effect.
    Last edited by SuiGeneris; 04-09-2019 at 08:12 AM. Reason: ****** grammar and even worse spelling

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,175

    Default Re: Is Honey a Safe(r) Sweetener?

    Thanks Sui. Very educational. J

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •