According to a recent study at the University of Toronto, honey is beneficial for cardiometabolic health, including cholesterol levels and blood sugar. There is additional benefit if the honey is raw and is from a single floral source.
Past research has shown that honey can improve cardiometabolic health. The current study so far is the most comprehensive review of clinical trials.
The study also has the most comprehensive data on floral source and processing.
In their analysis, the researchers included over 1,100 participants and 18 controlled trials. While they found that for most of these studies, there was low certainty of evidence, honey did produce neutral or beneficial effects depending on factors such as floral source.
In the trials, the median daily dose of honey was 40 grams, which is roughly 2 tablespoons. The median length of the trials was 8 weeks.
Tauseef Khan, a senior researcher on the study, says that he finds the results surprising because honey is roughly 80 percent sugar.
However, Khan explains how honey contains certain properties that make it unique, including proteins, organic acids, and common and rare sugars.
Professor John Sievenpiper, principal investigator, explains that based on the study’s findings, the idea that ‘a sugar is a sugar’ is not true.
Both Sievenpiper and Khan emphasize the context of the study. In the clinical trials, participants adhered to healthy diet patterns, of which 10 percent or less of daily caloric intake were added sugars.
Khan explains that the takeaway from this study is more about replacement rather than eating honey if you are not consuming sugar at all.
Khan also states that even though processed honey loses a lot of its health benefits after pasteurization, the impact of a hot drink on raw honey depends on various factors, and would likely not destroy all its beneficial properties.
Honey is also one of the rare foods that can remain edible indefinitely, and archeologists have found well-preserved honey in ancient Egyptian tombs. Due to its low levels of moisture–– when it is sealed–– honey can last without being spoiled.
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