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What is the Relationship Between Honey and Diabetes?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Feb 18, 2024
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Diabetes is a disease in which the body is unable to process carbohydrates properly, resulting in higher levels of glucose in the bloodstream. In general, people who are diagnosed with this condition are advised to avoid sugar and various simple carbohydrates as much as possible. Some have wondered if honey is a better choice than processed sugars and if it can be used in place of common table sugar. The fact is that the relationship between honey and diabetes is a little more involved, and bears looking at closely.

The first thing to understand about the relationship between honey and diabetes is that the honey has the same effect on blood sugar levels as common granulated sugar. Consuming honey produces the same rapid and dangerous increase in blood glucose levels and takes just as long to be filtered out of the bloodstream. This means that choosing to use honey instead of sugar will not make it any easier to control glucose levels, and carries the same dangers to the kidneys and other organs as the consumption of sugar.

For this reason, diabetics should not see honey as the best substitute for sugar in the diet. A better option would be to make use of some type of artificial substitute that provides no carbohydrates at all. With several on the market today that may be used in both cold and hot foods as well as beverages, there is really no need to rely on honey as a substitute sweetener.

At the same time, there is one aspect of the interaction between honey and diabetes that is somewhat beneficial. Unlike sugar, honey does contain a number of nutrients that the body does need to maintain a healthy body. While many of those nutrients are found in trace amounts, they aid in helping to strengthen the nervous system, balance mood, fight fatigue, and in general help the body produce the energy needed to keep going. The question is whether the risks of consuming honey outweigh the benefits. As many diabetics can attest, the benefits do not compensate for the risks.

When faced with a choice between ingesting sugar or consuming honey, going with raw honey is always the better option. This is true for diabetics as well as anyone who does not suffer fromthe disease. However, these few benefits do not mean there is a positive relationship between honey and diabetes. Honey should be viewed as the lesser of two evils for the diabetic. Rather than attempting to justify consumption of honey due to the nutritional content, diabetics should consume other foods that contain those same nutrients but are devoid of the carbohydrate content. Consider the relationship between honey and diabetes to be less than positive, and focus attention on healthier ways to obtain the nutrients needed.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By RoyalSpyder — On May 25, 2014

While I don't have experience with diabetes, I have a friend who has it, and I know how much it can affect your life. Obviously, it's not always that serious, but in this case, it definitely was. To make a long story short, every day she had to take insulin shots to keep her blood-sugar at a normal level. Thankfully though, some adjustments were made, but either way, it really shows how diabetes has a lasting impact.

By Chmander — On May 24, 2014

Even though I've never had diabetes before, I know that a lot of the time, it's caused by intaking too much sugar, as also stated in the article. Overall, this is one of the reasons why I tend to avoid eating too much sweets. Sure, they may taste great, but if you're body can't process your huge sugar intakes, then the effects could really be something else.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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