It is often very important to take extreme care of your body when you are suffering from diabetes as the disease brings in a lot of other related complications, such as a number of cardiovascular diseases as well as diseases related to the kidney, nerve damage, diabetic eye, skin diseases, and even amputations of different body parts.
A well maintained and regulated lifestyle, coupled with a healthy diet and physical exercise have always been recommended by the doctors. One such regulation is the inclusion of honey in the daily diet. Honey, being a rich source of several vitamins, and several other nutrients are considered very healthy. However, the high content of carbohydrates and fructose often gives rise to the question as to whether the natural sweetener should be consumed by those who suffer from diabetes?
In this article, we try to find out the answer to the above question and explore more about “Can Diabetics Eat Honey”. We shall delve deep into the subject of honey for diabetics and analyze whether it is safe to consume honey by a patient who is suffering from diabetes or other related complications.
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Some Facts Related to Honey
Before we begin our discussion on the relation between diabetes and honey and how the consumption of honey affects the blood sugar level and finally diabetes, we should know a few facts about the “Nature’s Sweetener”. Following are a few facts which might help us to understand the relation between diabetes and honey:
- Honey which is considered as a “Natural Sweetener”, is actually sweeter than the readily available granulated sugar.
- Being more natural and less processed, honey is considered healthier when compared to the white sugar of the corn syrup.
- Honey is known to contain a lot of carbohydrates. That is primarily the reason which gives rise to the question: “Can diabetics have honey?”
- While a tablespoon of honey contains 17.3 grams of carbohydrates, a teaspoon contains 5.8 grams. It should be kept in mind here that for regulating diabetes and its related complications, the total intake of carbohydrates should not be more than 45 to 50 grams in each meal.
- Half of the sugar present in honey is usually in the form of fructose. This also is a concern for those suffering from the disease because fructose is the main cause of the adverse effect on blood lipids. The high fructose content may not go down well with other conditions related to diabetes, particularly the cardiovascular diseases.
- Experts recommend that half a tablespoon of honey be added as a sweetener for honey to not adversely affect the patient who is trying to deal with diabetes and all the associated complications.
As seen in the above points, eating of honey may or may not be harmful to a person suffering from diabetes. After taking into consideration, a few other factors, the natural sweetener can be consumed adequately in limited quantity.
In the following paragraphs, we determine and analyze more carefully the relation between honey and diabetes and the factors to be kept in mind while including honey as a sweetener in the daily diet of a diabetic.
Honey For Diabetics: Is it Safe to Have it?
We now will try to understand the relation between diabetes and honey. Most of the people ask the question that whether it is safe for a person suffering from diabetes to include honey in the regular diet? Well, there are two schools of thoughts regarding the issue. While one school of thought seems to be in favor of the consumption of honey, the other is totally against the idea of consuming honey when you are someone suffering from diabetes.
While one school of thought is of the view that honey which is high in carbohydrates and sugar content should be avoided, the other school of thought says that you can include the natural sweetener in your diet but with certain precautions and proper medical guidance.
In the following paragraphs, we delve deeper into the relation between consumption of honey and a diabetic patient and try to analyze how the food should be included in our daily diet for the management of diabetes in an effective manner.
Can the Consumption of Honey be Beneficial for Diabetes?
As discussed above, there could be some benefits that a patient suffering from diabetes might have by including honey as a natural sweetener in the daily diet.
The following are some of the essential benefits:
- It is a known fact that the consumption of honey does not increase the blood sugar level as rapidly and as regularly as the most preferred and consumed white sugar. The same is possible as this natural sweetener requires a very little level of insulin to function effectively and efficiently.
- Honey is also known to have a lower load of the glycemic index when compared to white sugar and other sweeteners. Low glycemic index is preferred for the better management and treatment of diabetes and its various related complications.
- As we had seen in the paragraph “Some Facts Related to Honey”, 50 percent of the total sugar content in honey is in the form of fructose. Experts believe that it is this 1:1 ratio between sugar and fructose which makes honey a better choice than white sugar.
- Due to the above reason, when you consume honey as a sweetener, more and more glucose is absorbed by the liver. The result of all this is that only the required level of glucose is released into the bloodstream of our body. Hence, diabetes management becomes effective with a balanced level of blood glucose maintained.
- Some forms of honey are also known to contain antioxidants which might help in preventing some of the complications which are known to be associated with diabetes.
- The regular consumption of honey can prove to be helpful in preventing or curing some of the skin diseases which might result from contracting diabetes.
- Finally, the inclusion of this natural sweetener in the daily diet of the patients who suffer from diabetes can prove to be extremely important in bringing down the bad cholesterol of the body and enhancing the good cholesterol. The same shall also help in avoiding some of the other complications associated with diabetes, particular the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases.
Thus, the inclusion of honey does bring about a few benefits for a diabetic patient. However, there are a few risks involved as well, which cannot be overlooked. The following paragraph broadly explains the risks involved.
What are the Risks Associated with the Consumption of Honey if you Have Diabetes?
Although inclusion of honey in your regular diet can be beneficial to some extent as already seen above, there are, however, a few risks and difficulties which are associated with it. In the following points, we look into the adverse effects on a diabetes patient which comes with the consumption of the otherwise beneficial honey:
- It is a known fact that honey is sweeter than the normal sugar which we use in our day to day life. However, what many of us do not know is the fact that the carbohydrate content of honey is much more than what we consume as part of white or table sugar. Carbohydrates, as we know, is not a very good nutrient for the management of diabetes and a diabetic patient is always advised to avoid as many carbohydrates as possible.
- The otherwise beneficial natural sweetener is also considered to have a higher content of calories which makes it extremely risky for a patient suffering from diabetes.
- Also, as seen above already, a very high percentage of sugar in honey is present in the form of fructose. This is another nutrient which should be avoided by a person suffering from diabetes as the fructose is not utilized to give energy to the body, as a result of which, it hinders and limits the metabolism function. Metabolism is an important process of the human body which enables in the better burning of fats and thus in the better management of a chronic condition like diabetes.
- Besides, it is a known fact amongst the medical experts that fructose is stored in the body in the form of triglycerides. This also hinders the all-important function of metabolism in our body, which leads to obesity and thereby comes in the way of effectively managing diabetes.
- When a person suffering from diabetes is regularly consuming honey as a substitute for sugar, he or she is exposing himself or herself to great risk. One of the studies conducted by the experts demonstrated the fact that there were chances that the consumption of honey might lead to increase in the levels of hemoglobin or A(1C). This could pose serious concerns and come in between efficient management of the chronic condition.
As seen above, if you are someone who is trying to control diabetes and lead a normal life despite the condition, you have to be cautious enough when you are thinking of consuming honey as part of your regular diet. Experts suggest that if you are someone who enjoys a healthy weight, is able to keep the disease under control, it is only then that it would be safe for you to include honey as part of your regular diet. Having said that, there are ways in which one can use honey efficiently to manage diabetes. We will see the same in the subsequent paragraphs.
What is in Store for People with Diabetes Who Want to Eat Honey?
- As seen in the above paragraphs, if you are a diabetic patient, you still can include honey in your diet but only after taking certain precautions with respect to the recommended quantity, etc. Experts recommend that you can safely use half a tablespoon of honey and add the same to your tea, oatmeal, or even yogurt or any other food items you wish to make sweet.
- Whenever you do eat honey, remember to keep a track of the carbohydrate intake. As a diabetic patient, you need to maintain and regulate the total amount of carbohydrates that you are consuming. If it is too much than the prescribed quantity, management of diabetes may become extremely difficult.
- Your overall treatment of diabetes should be paired with a good lifestyle, a healthy diet, and an adequate physical exercise. That way a small amount of the natural sweetener is something that you can definitely enjoy while managing your diabetes at the same time.
How to Use Honey to Manage Diabetes?
Eating honey when you are someone who suffers from diabetes can be really tricky. However, if you follow a healthy lifestyle, you can still continue including the natural sweetener in your diet. The only thing you need is to keep a few things in mind when you are including honey in your daily diet.
Following are a few tips to be followed if you want to include honey in the diet but are afraid to do so owing to your problem of diabetes:
- For best results, you should understand the type of honey you are consuming as each type has its own advantages. The four different types are manuka, buckwheat, neem, and acacia honey.
- If you are someone who suffers from diabetes, you will definitely want to keep the blood sugar levels under control. For this purpose, use honey in a combination of basil, neem, and turmeric. These ingredients, when consumed regularly, will go a long way in helping you control the blood sugar level as well as boost the immune system of your body. Besides, the insulin levels are improved and cardiovascular diseases are prevented by the regular consumption of this combination.
- The combination of honey and cinnamon is known to reduce the levels of cholesterol which again is very important for diabetes management. For best results, one to two tablespoons of honey should be mixed with three tablespoons of cinnamon powder.
- It is a known fact that kidney failures or kidney related complications are one of the serious complications of diabetes. In order to avoid the same, a mixture of honey in ginger and lemon tea is the best combination. Besides, this combination also helps in improving the secretion of insulin and thereby helps manage diabetes and other related complications.
- Just like the above combination, another combination that helps to manage diabetes is the combination of honey, watermelon, ginger, and lemon. This remedy is particularly helpful in managing type 2 diabetes wherein the insulin produced by the pancreas is not utilized efficiently by our body.
- When you have decided to include honey in your daily diet, it is mandatory that you check the blood sugar level on a continuous basis just to study the effect of the same on diabetes.
- It is often advisable to consult your endocrinologist when you are including honey in your regular diet.
- Along with the moderate and regulated consumption of honey, it is always advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle, managed diet, and regular physical exercise to better manage diabetes.
We hope that the above post has been helpful in removing some of the doubts you had with regards to the relation between diabetes and the inclusion of the natural sweetener, honey in your regular diet.
Although honey is regarded to be a very healthy sweetener in most of the circumstances, it is the high content of carbohydrates and fructose which raises the question whether or not the food item should be included in the regular diet of a person suffering from a condition like diabetes. However, one cannot ignore the several other benefits which are associated with honey and therefore a moderate quantity is what is recommended by the experts in the field. Besides, like any other food item, it is imperative that diabetes is managed with a healthy lifestyle, well-regulated diet, and regular physical exercise.
Keeping all the above things in mind, do remember, however, that a medical advice is something which is always preferable because different things affect different people in a different manner!!