Honey for diabetics

Honey is not the ideal choice for diabetics. The natural honey has a glycemic index of 55. This value falls within the low range of 0-55. So its consumption does not raise blood sugar as much as refined sugar does. However, since it predominantly contains simple and double sugars, it still raises blood sugar relatively quickly.

Carbohydrate content of honey

Honey is an excellent source of carbohydrates, with a carbohydrate content of 81.3%, mainly consisting of glucose and fructose, as well as sucrose.

Calorie content of honey

The calorie content of 100 grams of honey is 285 kcal/1194 kJ. A calorie (cal) is a unit of energy and it means that 1 calorie raises the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. In 100 grams of honey, you can find:

  • 0.3-0.4 grams of protein
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 77-84 grams of carbohydrates
  • 0 grams of fiber

Honey contains about 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.).

Refined sugar

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

However, considering that honey and refined sugar have almost the same calorie content. And both contribute to weight gain, honey cannot be considered healthier in this regard.

Honey or sugar

What may favor honey in this debate is the glycemic index. While refined sugar has a glycemic index of 68, honey usually ranges 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 quickly carbohydrates turn into glucose. A lower value indicates slower conversion and absorption, resulting in a less significant increase in blood sugar levels.)

Honey for diabetics

In a diabetic diet, the goal is to primarily consume foods with a low glycemic index and control the intake of carbohydrates and calories. For sweetening, it is recommended for diabetics to use artificial sweeteners or natural alternatives. Such as birch sugar (xylitol), erythritol, or stevia. 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 indeed has a positive effect on the body. However, due to its similar energy content to sugar, it is not advisable to strive for vitamin and mineral supplementation in large quantities through honey. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are much more suitable for that purpose.

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

Due to its ability to rapidly raise blood sugar, honey can be used by diabetics within strict rules and quantity limits.


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