honey for diabetes

Can You Take Honey In Diabetes?

When people with diabetes are asked to stay away from sugar and sweets then how can honey be a good option for such people? It is also sweet.

That's a very logical question that might tingle your logic.

Now let us look at how sugar levels are maintained in your body.

It is well understood that the Insulin which is produced by the pancreas maintains blood sugar levels. If your body is not producing enough insulin or it is not using it correctly then you have diabetes.

Eating more sugar will stay in your blood causing harm to vital body organs including kidneys, heart, eyes, brain and skin in the long run.

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Excess Sugar and Diabetes

You get sugar from the foods you eat. Carbohydrates are the main source of sugar suppliers to your body.

Your body needs sugar to get energy. So it's not about completely giving up on sugar but it's about maintaining the light levels of sugar to stay healthy.

Carbohydrates are present in varying degrees and in different forms of sugars in most of the foods you consume.

Following are the main sources of carbohydrates that meet or exceed your body's sugar requirements

  • Almost all plant based fruits and vegetables
  • Dairy
  • Honey

In addition to these sources you may be consuming added sugar as under

  • Refined sugar
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Ice creams
  • Deserts
  • Sweets

All the above in limited quantities is generally good for a healthy person.


But if you regularly consume excess carbohydrates then your pancreas may not be able to deal with the insulin requirement to balance sugar levels in the blood. If you already have diabetes then you will have to be extra cautious on your sugar intake in any form.

If you consume limited quantities of non processed high fiber carbs then you will be alright.

What is Glycemic Index and Where Does Honey Fit into It?

All carbohydrates are not equal and glycemic index differentiates them in terms of how they affect the blood sugar levels.

Glycemic index (GI) is a number that identifies how fast a carbohydrate converts into glucose.

Lower the number better the food for diabetes. GI is classified as under

  • Low or good = 55 or less
  • Medium = 56-69
  • High or bad = 70 or above

Glycemic Index of different kinds of honey ranges from 35-55. Raw honey has lower GI than processed honey.

You should eat raw unprocessed honey as it has all the nutrients intact. Whereas processed honey takes away these nutrients.

Refined sugar has GI above 65.

So one of the reasons honey is better than sugar for diabetes is its low GI.

Research Work on Honey and Diabetes

A study published in 2018 indicates that honey demonstrate hypoglycemic impact on blood sugar. This means honey reduces blood sugar levels after a few hours.

The mechanism of how it achieves that is still a mystery. More future studies are like to give more light into that aspect.

The study also suggests that honey can become a novel antidiabetic agent for management of blood sugar levels.


Additional Benefits of Honey

Besides being helpful in diabetes 2 honey offers many other health benefits.

  • Excellent source of antioxidants
  • Antibacterial
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Prevents cancer
  • Increases athletic performance
  • Reduces cough and throat irritation
  • Heals wounds and burns
  • Probiotic
  • Reduces ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Improves immunity

How to Use Honey for Diabetes?

With so many health benefits of honey in addition to its being antidiabetic what you really need is to replace all your refined sugar with honey.

Since honey increases insulin in addition to providing sweetness the blood sugar levels are not raised.

All kinds of refined sugars be it cane sugar or other white sugars are high GI sugars, replacing them with low GI honey many lots of healthy sense.

Since honey also has many other nutrients including antioxidants and sugar has nothing to offer other than sweetness, honey is a much better replacement for overall health too.

While you replace sugar with honey remember that honey has high calories, so stay within limits and be moderate in its consumption.

Other Tips and Precautions

Diabetes type 2 is a reversible medical condition, take following precautions and proactive actions to get rid of it sooner than later. Unmanaged diabetes can damage all your vital organs slowly.

  • Exercise regularly. 40 minutes walk daily is a good starting point.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated
  • Don't eat too much carbohydrates
  • Eat more green leafy vegetables
  • Get your sugar requirements net by fresh fruits and vegetables rather than from added refined sugar
  • Use honey in place of refined sugar if you have to use sweetner

Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels and take medical help but never ignore your diabetes.