A recent study from scientists at the University of Toronto suggests that you think about substituting honey for the sugar you consume.
Honey actually has cardiometabolic advantages for persons who follow a healthy diet in which no more than 10% of daily calories originate from sugar.
In 18 controlled feeding studies including 1,105 primarily healthy people, the study offers a review and meta-analysis of the effects of honey.
Together, the studies demonstrated that honey decreased markers of fatty liver disease, total and “bad” (LDLTrusted Source) cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose (blood sugar levels on an empty stomach). Additionally, they discovered that honey raised inflammatory marker levels.
Honey is 80% sugar, and while all sugars are linked to cardiometabolic problems, the study’s authors argue that honey may be unique and deserving of special attention as a healthy food.
The scientists discovered that monofloral honey and raw honey provide the greatest cardiometabolic benefits.
Contrary to other sweeteners, honey’s sweetness is not solely derived from everyday sugars like fructose and glucose.
Dr. Tauseef Ahmad Khan, a research associate at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto in Canada and a co-author of the study, said the following to Medical News Today:
He listed “many bioactive molecules, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and organic acids that have a variety of pharmacological properties, including antibiotic effect, anti-cancer effect, anti-obesogenic [anti-obesity] effect, protection against free radical damageTrusted Source, and reducing inflammation, etc.” as examples.
Despite not being a part of the study, endocrinologist Dr. Ana Maria Kausel told MNT that she preferred the emphasis be kept on lowering sugar intake.
“In my opinion, the emphasis should be on consuming less sugar overall. After ingesting an average of 40 grammes over the course of 8 weeks, the advantages were felt. The body cannot break down this much sugar without the help of the liver. Without consuming sugar, we can still show similar benefits in [cardiovascular] and metabolic risks, as in the Mediterranean diet, for instance, she said.
Monofloral and unprocessed honey
Raw honey is not often pasteurised, but honey products frequently are.
Since the pasteurisation procedure slows honey’s naturally occurring granulation and can make it more difficult to pour out of a squeeze bottle or measure into a spoon, it is done for convenience more than safety.
Numerous elements, including several antioxidants, can be lost during pasteurisation of raw honey.
The current investigation discovered that raw honey significantly improved fasting glucose levels.
The majority of honey is polyfloral, which means that the bees that make it gather nectar from any plants that produce it within a 2- to 4-mile radius of their hive.
A monofloral honey is one that is produced solely from the nectar of a single species of plant, or perhaps just a single plant, as collected by bees.
Clover honey, robinia honey, French lavender honey, and tupelo honey, all made from White Ogeechee tupelo trees, are popular monofloral honeys. Each has its own unique flavour.
The scientists discovered that robinia monofloral and clover honeys reduced fasting triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol. Additionally, clover honey lowered fasting glucose levels.
Signs of Inflammation
The study’s findings showed honey increased the inflammation markers IL-6Trusted Source and TNF-alphaTrusted Source may raise some concerns because excessive inflammation is becoming more and more linked to a range of illnesses and ailments.
But according to Dr. Khan, a rise in these markers might actually point to additional advantages.
By enhancing both glucose and lipid metabolism throughout the body, IL-6 “may play a role in maintaining optimal glycemic control,” the doctor suggested. Similar to how TNF-alpha is a marker of the body’s innate immune response, a rise with honey consumption may indicate better immunity.
Taking into account additional natural sweeteners
Dr. Khan declared, “I am interested in all natural sweeteners, and I intend to investigate maple syrup and, of course, agave syrup. But there is a significant distinction between these syrups and honey.
He continued, “Syrups like maple syrup and agave are directly derived from plants, with some heat processing by humans, and are primarily constituted of common sugars like fructose, glucose, and sucrose.”
Agave is natural, yet it is ultimately fructose, as Dr. Kausel explained it.
No of the source, high fructose concentrations are harmful to the liver, she emphasised. Despite the vitamins and minerals they may contain, even natural juices are bad for the liver.
However, honey is made in an intriguing way by honeybees, which gives its sugars a unique flavour.
Honey, according to Dr. Khan, “includes an additional stage where the honeybees extensively process nectar from flowers, which is primarily sucrose, with their enzymes, producing a huge diversity of uncommon sugars. The advantages of honey sugars over other natural sugars are due to these uncommon sugars.