Diabetics are restricted from sugar and carbohydrates. Some people with sweet tooth add honey to their tea coffee or baking products.
But the question arises, is honey good for diabetic and the answer is ‘yes’ but in ‘limited amounts’. In moderation, honey is good for diabetics as its inflammatory property reduce the related complications.
Diabetic should not avoid sweet but should control the intake.
Honey is a natural food made from the nectar of flowering plants. It consists of 20% water and 80% carbohydrates.(1) It also contains vitamins and minerals including iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, folate, and magnesium.
Honey is a natural sweetener but has more carbohydrate and calories than sugar. One tablespoon of honey contains 60 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrates.(2)
Honey and Blood Sugar
- Honey is a natural sweetener. It does affect blood sugar but minimally when compared to sugar.
- Raw honey is an unfiltered type. It is extracted from a beehive and strained to remove impurities.
- Processed honey undergoes filtration process by exposing it to high heat which destroys yeast and increases its shelf life.
A study showed the effect of honey and sugar on the blood sugar level of the individual with and without type 1 diabetes. It was found that in the group of people with diabetes, honey caused an initial rise in the blood sugar 30 minutes after consumption. However, the sugar level decreases thereafter and remained at a low level for 2 hours.(3)
It was believed after this study that honey increases the insulin level which is good for maintaining the blood sugar level.
Researchers have also shown a connection between diabetes and low glycemic index. A study was done on fifty people with type 1 diabetes and 30 without type 1 diabetes found that people who were given honey had a lower glycemic index than those who had sugar.(4)
Honey also raises the level of C-peptide, a substance which is released into the bloodstream when the body produces insulin.
Honey should be avoided by those suffering from uncontrolled diabetes. Even those with controlled blood sugar levels should consume honey in moderation. Also, speak with a healthcare professional before adding it as a sweetener.
If your blood sugar is under control, choose pure or raw honey if you want to add honey to your diet. These versions are safer for diabetic as all-natural honey do not have added sugar. Those purchased from the grocery store might contain added sugar which can affect the blood sugar differently.
Raw honey is also bad for pregnant females as it is not pasteurized.
Benefits of Honey for Diabetics
Honey increases the insulin level which can lower the blood sugar level.
Honey has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which benefit heath and are considered good over sugar if consumed by diabetics.
Antioxidants improve the way body metabolizes sugar and anti-inflammatory cuts down the risk of complication related to diabetes. Inflammation increases insulin resistance, altering the body’s response towards insulin.
Honey lowers the glycemic index. Glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrate in the food according to their effect on the blood glucose level.
Honey is beneficial for diabetics but like any other sweetener, moderation is a key. Speak with your doctor before adding it to the diet. If you are diabetic and want to eat honey make sure it is pure and does not contain added sugar.
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