Diabetes mellitus is a heterogeneous and multifactorial modern times disorder currently affecting at least 425 million people across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were in 2016 caused by diabetes. During that year WHO says, high blood glucose was the 7th leading cause of death. With these statistics, could honey be good for a possible diabetes reversal?
Honey and Diabetes
Despite diabetes being a chronic disease that remains a leading cause of mortality in the world, there are certain natural products that can be used to reverse it. Today, the medical world is laying more emphasis on natural treatment for diabetes. Raw honey is an apicultural product that can be used by diabetes patients to control the levels of insulin.
It contains 200 components. Glucose, fructose, (both of which are sweeteners) and water are its main substances. Fructose varies from 21-43 percent while fructose/glucose ratio may fall between 0.4-1.6 percent or above. The hypoglycemic effect of this natural product has been linked to phenolic acids present in fructose, flavonoids, and mineral ions (zinc, selenium, vanadium, and copper). Because the mechanisms involved in processing fructose include the prolongation of gastric emptying time and a slow intestinal absorption rate, honey can lower blood glucose in diabetes type 2 patients.
Difference between Honey and Sugar
Both are sweeteners. Honey, however, is regarded as a healthful option. Both of them are carbohydrates consisting of fructose and glucose. Refined fructose is known to lead to obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. However, note that the proportions in both are very different. Honey has additional components pollen, water, and minerals (potassium and magnesium) all of which contribute to health benefits.
Because sugar has a higher glycemic index of 65 unlike honey’s 55 and contains higher fructose content, it causes a major spike in blood glucose. Although both products raise blood sugar, honey returns the levels to normal more quickly. Foods with a low glycemic index such as raw honey only result in a slight blood sugar rise, meaning they offer a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. The nutritional composition of honey is inclusive of traces of pollen (because it starts as a flower nectar), antioxidants, amino acids, minerals, enzymes, and vitamins.
The best option for you is to secure locally produced honey that is organic and sold in its raw form. Most of the product on the market is processed, and because it has been heated and filtered, it lacks nutritional value and health benefits. Raw honey can keep the sugar levels down in diabetes patients but has to be taken alongside prescribed medications and the right diet.
This product is broken down in the body by the enzymes present within it, while sugar depends on enzymes from the body. Understand that sugar lacks vitamins and minerals, meaning it falls under empty calories. Honey is rich in calories because it is heavier and denser. Sugar draws nutrients from the body to be metabolized into your system. When all the nutrients are consumed in the process, your body is exposed to higher cholesterol, obesity, and high blood sugar levels.
Can Diabetics Eat Honey?
Several studies have observed the effect of the natural product in diabetes not just as a sugar replacement but an addition to diet. One study found that an addition of honey to daily diet improved blood sugar levels. Considering that diabetes is a metabolic disorder improved by any foods good for metabolic health, it then explains why it would be beneficial in diabetes type 2.
Although there is promising research on the effect of product in diabetes cases, if you are overweight with a poorly managed diabetic condition, you should perhaps skip it. In such a state, it is advisable to observe a low-carb diet and consume fruits low in sugar.
The amount of carbohydrates consumed affects the levels of blood glucose. Be cautious when consuming raw honey factoring in your total caloric requirements to ensure the amount does not lead to a spike in blood sugars. Understand that one tablespoon contains 17 gm of carbs, 8.1 grams of fructose, totaling to 64 calories.
Benefits of Honey for People with Type 2 Diabetes
Is honey good for people with diabetes? The answer is yes. Switching your intake of refined sugar to raw honey can lead to enormous benefits. When compared to refined sugars such as cane, white, and powdered sugar, honey is a nutritive sweetener. While it contains more carbs and calories, it is nutritious, natural, and affects blood glucose moderately. Here are some of its notable benefits.
- Weight loss management
- Natural source of energy
- Reduces the risk of developing diabetes type 2
- Combined with anti-diabetic drugs, honey improved glycemic control
- Increases insulin and decreases hyperglycemia
- Studies have found that Manuka honey is highly effective in treating diabetic wounds and ulcers
- Helps in antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and antiseptic functions
Pure or natural honey is an excellent alternative to sugar in the efforts of stabilizing blood sugars in diabetes. It contains a unique immune system boosting effect necessary for diabetes. The most common complication associated with a diabetic condition is diabetic foot ulcers, observed in about 15 percent of the patients. The ulcers can then cause a severe wound and possible amputation of the lower limbs. Raw honey is excellent at addressing diabetes and is particularly effective in healing wounds unique to diabetes. Also, you might want to look into Apple Cider Vinegar which has tremendous benefits for diabetics.
A study shows that Manuka honey can treat and heal neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers common in type 2 diabetes, due to its Apisimin and Arabinogalactan proteins. Because it maintains the functioning of the immune system, honey is crucial in diabetes type 1 which is mainly triggered by a compromised immune system. More so, it is one of the most amazing medicinal foods that heal without causing a spike in blood glucose. It also reduces lipid abnormalities such as obesity. If you have diabetes, introduce honey into your diet slowly to see how it reacts with your blood sugars.