Effect of Honey on Blood Sugar Levels

The effect of honey on blood sugar levels: Since honey primarily contains simple and double sugars, it can relatively quickly increase blood sugar levels. The natural glycemic index of honey is 55. This value falls within the low range of 0-55, so consuming honey raises blood sugar levels less than refined sugar.

The glycemic index of refined sugar is around 68, while honey’s glycemic index is usually around 50-55. Carbohydrates consumed with food are converted into glucose in the body, and when glucose is absorbed, it raises blood sugar levels. The glycemic index (GI value), calculated on a scale of 100, indicates how long it takes for carbohydrates to become glucose. A lower value indicates slower conversion and absorption, resulting in a less significant increase in blood sugar levels.

However, it matters whether a person consumes honey in moderation or has issues with sugar metabolism.

Caloric content of honey

The caloric content of 100 g of honey is 285 kcal/1194 kJ.

For every 100 g of honey, the following nutrients are present:

  • 0,3-0,4 g of protein
  • 0 g of fat
  • 77-84 g of carbohydrates
  • 0 g of fiber

Honey contains approximately 20% water, while the remaining 80% consists of sugars, mainly glucose and fructose. Honey also contains natural antioxidants, vitamins (such as B1, B2, B6, and vitamin C), and minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc.).

Effect of Honey on Blood Sugar Levels

Refined sugar

The most commonly used refined sugar (sucrose) is derived from sugar beets or sugarcane. The sliced plant is soaked, pressed, cleaned, and then the sugar syrup, free from impurities and organic matter, is crystallized. Due to the lengthy industrial process, it is not surprising that most people consider refined sugar as an artificial substance, while honey is perceived as a natural sweetener.

Since the caloric content of honey and refined sugar is considered nearly equal and both can contribute to weight gain to the same extent, honey cannot be deemed healthier from this perspective.

Honey or sugar

The advantage of honey over sugar is that it contains more vitamins and minerals, has a high antioxidant content, and when consumed in small amounts (e.g., 1-2 tablespoons in tea during a cold), it does have a positive effect on the body. However, its energy content is nearly the same as that of sugar, so it is not recommended to strive for vitamin and mineral supplementation in large quantities in this form. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are much more suitable for that purpose.

Additional beneficial properties: The natural antioxidants present in honey (flavonoids, vitamin C) protect the body from free radicals generated during metabolism and in defense against bacteria.

In a diabetic diet, the aim is to primarily consume low glycemic index foods and control the intake of carbohydrates and calories. For sweetening, it is recommended for individuals with diabetes to use artificial sweeteners or natural alternatives such as birch sugar, erythritol, or stevia.

Due to its rapid ability to raise blood sugar levels, honey can be used by individuals with diabetes under strict rules and within prescribed quantity limits.


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