Can Diabetics Have Honey?

Diabetics are often stuck in the dilemma of controlling their blood sugar levels against the temptation of eating something sweet.

Some people substitute honey for sugar, thinking that it will not increase their blood sugar. However, that’s not true.

Honey, being a natural sweetener, is bound to increase blood glucose levels. When compared to granulated sugar, it is good to use honey for low blood sugar.

In addition to this, the effects of eating honey for people with diabetes depend on the type of honey as well – whether it is pure honey coming from hives of honey bees or it is processed honey.

So is honey safe for diabetics? Is honey better than table sugar for diabetics? Let’s find out.

honey dripping into jar

Table of Contents

What is the effect of honey on blood sugar?

Honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar. This means the carbohydrates present in honey, having a GI value of 58, increase the blood sugar levels slower than other added sugar having a GI value of 60. There is no considerable difference between the effects of honey and sugar intake on your blood sugar levels. But if diabetic patients decide to eat honey, they must go for raw honey because it doesn’t contain any added sugars.

Is honey different from table sugar?

You might have seen honey given as “added sugars” in the descriptions of many food items because it is not naturally present in them.

So is honey different from sugar? Yes, honey is different from sugar in terms of its nutrients composition. Honey contains carbohydrates, proteins, fibres, vitamins, and minerals. Table sugar has a similar composition except that it doesn’t contain vitamins and minerals.

Can diabetics eat honey?

Doctors suggest that people with diabetes must refrain from eating anything having the slightest amount of sugar in it. Some people believe that including honey as a part of your diet can help in fulfilling your healthy eating regime.

However, human studies have suggested that people with diabetes must watch their natural honey consumption and sugar intake as it can lead to various health problems, especially if you take insulin.

It is better to consult a doctor who can provide medical advice in this regard.

Is honey good for diabetics?

It cannot be said that honey is good for diabetics. But if you have controlled sugar levels that do not fluctuate largely upon consumption of anything sweet, then you can definitely include honey in your healthy diet.

It is necessary to calculate your overall calorie intake as honey is rich in calories. If you decide on adding honey, it is advisable to use raw and organic honey instead of pasteurized honey.

Raw or natural honey doesn’t contain added sugar so it doesn’t cause any harmful effects when compared to other substances with added sugar.

Is honey good for Type 2 diabetics?

In people with Type 2 diabetes, the body is unable to use the insulin which is naturally manufactured in the body. This leads to a rise in blood sugar levels. So when you eat anything sweet, the blood sugar levels keep increasing as the insulin is unable to control the sugar levels of your blood.

Studies have shown that both honey and sugar increase blood sugar levels till one hour after consumption. The difference lies in the observation that the blood sugar levels start declining after the first hour in the case of honey but in the case of sugar, the blood sugar levels keep increasing. This indicates that honey may increase the insulin levels in the blood leading to a decline in the blood sugar levels in the next one hour of ingestion. This is known as the hypoglycemic effect.

What are the health benefits of honey over other sweeteners?

Honey, compared to other sweeteners that you buy from grocery stores, is more beneficial for health as it contains nutrients like carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fibres. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help to relieve inflammation in the case of diabetics.

Here are some other health benefits of honey over other sweeteners.

  1. Raw honey is extremely beneficial in alleviating allergies.
  2. Honey has anti-microbial properties that help to kill germs.
  3. It helps to treat wounds and slight burns when used in gel form.
  4. It is a great remedy for sore throats and treating cough.
  5. High-quality honey can reduce the chances of heart diseases. It reduces the amount of bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. This is helpful in people with Type 2 diabetes.
  6. The anti-oxidant properties of honey help in lowering blood pressure. This is beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure problems.
  7. Regular consumption of honey can lower the level of triglycerides. This lowers the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.
  8. Honey prevents blood clot formation by improving the flow of blood in the arteries. Hence, it reduces the risks of strokes and heart attacks.

Honey is a better alternative to table sugar. This is because honey is sweeter than sugar. So you need to use smaller amounts of honey as compared to the amount of sugar. It should be noted here that honey has slightly more calories than sugar but it is still a better alternative as it contains other nutrients like minerals and vitamins. These nutrients are absent in sugar. In addition to this, refined sugar contains added preservatives and other substances which can be harmful to the body.

Conclusion

Diabetics can eat honey in small portions only when their blood sugar levels are controlled and are at a normal level. In Type 2 diabetics, honey is helpful in minimizing the risks of heart-related diseases. Some studies have also indicated that honey may be increasing the insulin levels in the blood, and leading to the decline of blood sugar levels. However, it is necessary that you limit honey in your diet as it can have side effects as well. The side effects may include weight gain, allergic reactions, increased sugar levels, and poor oral health.

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