Product derived from flower nectars or sweet plant secretions, honey can be monofloral or polyfloral, or even come from honeydew. It is a natural food , which benefits from controls aimed at measuring the traces of residues of pesticides or other chemical pollutants.In this article we will talk about Honey and diabetes
Honey, as well as other bee products, have been known since ancient times for their health benefits . Honey is particularly known to be effective against sore throats, for healing, against fatigue, and it is said to have antiseptic properties …
However, can it be used without risks in the event of diabetes?
Diabetes and biochemical properties of honey
Composition and glycemic index (GI)
Honey is mainly composed of sugars (between 78 and 80%, the other main ingredient being water):
of glucose ;
of fructose ;
other sugars that vary according to the type of honey: sucrose , maltose and various more or less complex carbohydrates.
Depending on the honey, either fructose or glucose predominates.
The concentration of fructose and glucose in a food influences its glycemic index , and therefore acts on the blood sugar of the person who consumes it:
The higher the concentration of fructose, the lower the glycemic index (GI) ( Diabetes Care, 2005 – J Clin Nutr. 2010 ).
Conversely, the higher the concentration of glucose, the higher the glycemic index.
Thus, the evolution of the response to insulin shows a decrease in the amount of insulin secreted during an increase in the fructose content of honey.
Note : Pure honey in Pakistan is also a compound that can lower the level of lipids in the blood.
Honey and combinations of molecules
Several studies carried out on animals, but the results of which remain to be demonstrated in humans, have shown that honey can have interesting effects when it is combined with other molecules :
associated with metformin ( oral antidiabetic drug , prescribed in many subjects with type 2 diabetes), it shows benefits ( Reprod. Med., 2013 ) and preserves tissues from the effects of diabetes;
associated with ginger , it increases antioxidant activity and thus prevents neurological, neuropathic or macro-vascular complications ( BioMed R esearch International, 2014 ).
Consumption of honey by a diabetic
Honey can be interesting for people with diabetes , especially as a replacement for white sugar (sucrose). Indeed, due to a lower glycemic index, it tends to increase the level of glycemia in the blood less, especially for the honeys that are rich in fructose.
Please note: some honeys sold in the medium and large distribution stores may contain mixtures of different sugars and are therefore not, strictly speaking, bee products. If possible, it is advisable to obtain honeys directly from beekeepers and to favor honeys labeled organic, and therefore less likely to contain residues of pesticides or chemical pollutants.
However, you have to choose honey well, because the glycemic index is higher or lower depending on its origin. For example, heated lime blossom honey has a GI of 49.2 (low glycemic index), while forest honey has a GI of 88.6 (high glycemic index).
Practical advice for choosing your honey
Consumed sparingly, honey can advantageously replace white sugar, because its assimilation is slower. It can also be useful in the event of hypoglycemia , since it can help to restore a correct blood sugar level. However, honey should be consumed in moderation . On average, a teaspoon of honey contains as much sugar as a large apple!
Other sugar substitutes , such as agave syrup or coconut sugar , can be eaten alternately with honey.
In any case, do not hesitate to seek advice from your doctor , your diabetologist , your nutritionist or your dietitian to find out how much and how often you can consume honey, without risking unbalancing your diabetes!
In summary : although natural and full of virtues, honey should not be considered a panacea by people with diabetes. It is not prohibited for them, but it should be consumed in moderation and included in the daily carbohydrate count. It is more interesting than white sugar because of its fructose concentration which limits the increase in blood sugar levels.