Honey Good For Diabetes? Is It Safe For A Diabetic Patient?

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Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBSGeneral Physician, 6+ Years
Published On : 9-Dec-2021Read Time : 3 minutes
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You might have heard from your mother or grandmother that honey is a popular and natural household remedy for curing a cold, cough, and many other ailments. Well, it is true! Honey has been used in traditional medicine since ancient times. 

Many people often advocate replacing honey with sugar. But, are you flooded with questions like, is honey good or bad for diabetes? Can diabetic patients eat honey? Or can honey increase diabetes? Let’s find out!

Contents:
  • Honey: Nutritional profile
  • Advantages of honey for diabetics
  • Ways to consume honey
  • How much and how frequently to consume honey
  • Risk of over-consuming honey
  • Other benefits of honey
  • Honey and diabetics: quick points
  • FAQs

Honey: Nutritional Profile

Honey is a natural, sweet liquid made by bees from the nectar of flowers. USDA states that one tablespoon (21 g) of honey provides 64 calories, 17 g of carbohydrates, 0.06 g of proteins, and 0% fat. Honey also has a lower glycemic index (GI) score of 58 compared to refined sugars that have a GI score of 60. 

Other components of honey are proteins, amino acids, enzymes, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. Honey contains three enzymes (invertase, diastase, and glucose oxidase) that help in digestion. It breaks carbohydrates into simple sugars.

Honey has nutrients like calcium, copper, iron, fluoride, magnesium, manganese, sodium, selenium, zinc, sulfur, etc. Nutrients like choline, which is essential for brain and cardiovascular functions, and acetylcholine a neurotransmitter, are also present in honey.

Advantages of Honey for Diabetes

There have been several studies conducted to investigate the impact of honey on blood glucose in sugar patients.

  • One study found that long-term ingestion of honey leads to a reduction in fasting serum glucose, HbA1C, and postprandial serum glucose.
  • Another study found that anti-diabetic medication (metformin, glibenclamide), when used in combination with honey, lowers blood glucose significantly in diabetic rats.

When honey is dissolved in water, it produces hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which stimulates beta-cells to secrete insulin and causes the hypoglycaemic effect in diabetics.

NOTE: However, there is a need for more studies to find the potential effects of honey on diabetics.

Ways to Consume Honey For Diabetes

Honey is a healthier alternative to refined sugars. Raw honey (sugar-free honey) is a better and nutritious option than processed honey for diabetics. Diabetics should keep a check on their blood sugar, considering the sugar content of honey.

Some diabetic-friendly recipes are:

  • ½ teaspoon honey with 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt.
  • 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in 250 ml of boiling water.
  • 1 teaspoon honey mixed with 3 tablespoons each of powdered basil, turmeric, and neem.
  • Honey, ginger, and lemon tea.

How Much and How Frequently Can You Consume Honey?

Honey or honey-based preparations can be consumed twice or thrice a day. However, limit the total daily consumption to 10-12 g.

Risks of Overconsumption of Honey For Diabetes

Overconsumption of honey may increase blood sugar levels, especially in diabetics.

Other Benefits of Honey

  • Honey possesses antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that boosts immunity.
  • Antifungal and antiviral properties that shield the body.
  • Honey helps in wound healing.
  • Honey with milk helps relieve cough in children.
  • Raw honey helps reduce diarrhea.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Honey is a natural sweetener and a healthier alternative to refined sugars.
  • It offers prominent health benefits and is an indispensable part of Ayurveda.
  • People with diabetes can eat honey for its health benefits but in moderate quantities so that blood glucose levels remain in control.
  • Honey can be consumed raw or can be added to lemon water for additional goodness of vitamin C along with antioxidants.
  • It possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties due to the presence of micronutrients and polyphenols.
  • Use Phable Care App to consult India's leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate Accu-Chek instant and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Let's treat diabetes together.

Frequently Asked Questions

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