Is honey suitable for diabetics?
Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this question. If you are overweight with poorly managed diabetes, then consuming honey could be health disaster. However if you have well managed diabetes, are not overweight and are otherwise fit and healthy, then using a little honey as a replacement for sugar could possibly be helpful. Diabetes is a very complicated condition and the dietary restrictions required to keep blood sugar levels under control will not be the same for everyone.
How is honey different from sugar?
Honey is naturally made by bees from nectar. It is composed of around 40% fructose and 35% glucose sugar, where the remaining 25% is made up of water and all the minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and unique things like pollen and bee propolis found in high quality honey.
Regular white sugar is almost 100% glucose and fructose with around 50% of each. So while lacking many of the amazing things found in honey, for the most part honey and sugar are both made up of the same fructose and glucose sugars.
How this difference might affect someone with diabetes.
Honey may have a lower impact on your blood sugar level than sugar and because it tastes sweeter than sugar you may be able to use less of it as a direct replacement. There is also some evidence that honey causes a greater rise in insulin than sugar. Insulin removes sugar from blood, so this may help blood sugar levels drop lower and faster compared to sugar too.
One thing we know for certain is that consuming honey will affect your blood sugar levels, so if you do have diabetes we are sorry to say that it may not be as helpful to you as you might have been hoping. The impact of honey consumption on blood sugar levels tends to be slightly better than regular table sugar, however Just Bee would not recommend honey consumption for diabetics without first speaking to your doctor or other health professional and heeding their advice.
We would obviously love it if everyone could enjoy our honey but sadly this will not always be the case. We would urge caution around any claims that honey is 'safe' or 'better' for diabetics. In 2019 North Devon NHS Healthcare actually featured this topic as a 'Food Myth' on their website. It is very short and to the point.
Diabetics will know already that living sugar-free is virtually impossible. So there may be room for a little honey in the overall balanced diet of a diabetic but Just Bee cannot advise if it is suitable for any individual with diabetes and we would always recommend erring on the side of caution until you can consult with your doctor.
For more information on sugar, sweeteners and alternatives to honey follow the link below to Diabetes UK.