Since the olden days, honey has been known as food and as medicine. It is very rich in beneficial plant compounds and offers numerous health benefits.
Honey is exceptionally healthy when used in place of refined sugar, which is 100% empty calories.
This article explores the many uses of honey, including its nutritional properties and some risks to consider, and if it is ketogenic.
What is Honey?
Bees are the manufacturers of honey from the nectar of flowers. The health benefits of honey have been hailed by people all over the world for thousands of years.
On average, it contains approximately 80% sugar. People take honey from the hive and bottle it directly to contain yeast, wax, and pollen traces.
Researchers have found that consuming raw honey can help with seasonal allergies, and others have concluded that honey can assist wound healing.
How is Honey Made?
Bees produce honey from the sweet nectar of flowers that they collect on their travels and bring back to their hive. The nectar is transferred from the collecting bee to the worker bees back to the hive, transforming the sweet liquid into a thick syrup and storing it in a honeycomb.
The wax produced by the youngest bees and molded into hexagonal-shaped cells strong enough to hold the honey. When worker bees pour nectar into cells, they flap it with their wings to help evaporate moisture, making it even thicker, stickier, and more resistant to spoilage.
The bees then seal the cells of the honeycomb with more wax to protect the honey during storage. Beekeepers use various methods to squeeze or extract honey from the comb. Some ways drain the honey while preserving the wax comb to be reused, while others melt or manipulate the wax to remove and separate the raw honey.
Small beekeepers usually stop here and sell honey in the natural state, but most mass producers of honey sold in supermarkets go a step further, buying large batches of honey and then diluting, heating, and filtering the raw product to remove: pollen and other natural substances.
Nutritional Information of Honey
- Sodium content: 0 mg
- Carbohydrates content: 17g
- Fiber Content: 0g
- Sugars content: 17g
- Protein content: 0g
The calories in honey come from carbohydrates, especially sugar. The sugar in honey is approximately 50% fructose and 50% glucose.
Honey contains no fats.
Honey contains traces of protein depending on the product (up to 0.06 g in some honey products), but not enough to meet daily protein requirements.
4. Vitamins and Minerals
The vitamins and minerals in honey can include B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, zinc, and others, derived primarily from nectar-producing plants and soil.
The quality of honey and its mineral depends on where it is grown and how it is processed.
Generally, darker honey provides more beneficial vitamins and minerals than light honey.
What’s The Difference Between Sugar and Honey?
If you want to compare honey to brown sugar, there are several factors to consider. Both of them contain two sugar molecules: glucose and fructose.
Honey and sugar are digested differently. The bee adds a particular enzyme to honey. This then breaks down two sugar molecules so that they can be used immediately for energy.
Your body works with table sugar: breaking down the sugar molecules using enzymes before storing them as energy.
10 Amazing Health Facts About Honey
1. Honey Contains Some Nutrients
Bees collect sugar, primarily sugar-rich flower nectar, from their environment. Once inside the hive, they consume, digest, and regurgitate the nectar repeatedly.
Nutritionally, one tablespoon of honey (21 grams) contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar, including fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose.
It contains virtually no fiber, fat, or protein. It also contains traces (less than 1% of the RDI) of various vitamins and minerals, but you must eat many pounds to meet your daily needs.
The honey shines in its content of bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants. The darker types tend to be even higher in these compounds than the light types of honey.
2. High-Quality Honey is Rich in Antioxidants
High-quality honey contains lots of effective antioxidants. These are organic acids and phenolic compounds like flavonoids. Researchers believe that the mixing of these compounds gives honey its antioxidant power.
Interestingly, two studies have shown that buckwheat honey increases the antioxidant value of the blood. Antioxidants have been linked to reducing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and some cancers. They can also promote eye health.
3. Honey is Better Than Refined Sugar for People with Diabetes
The facts on honey and diabetes are mixed. For one thing, it can reduce several risk factors for heart disease common in people with type 2 diabetes.
For example, it can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammation while increasing the HDL cholesterol very well.
Researchers have found that it can also raise blood sugar levels, but not so much as known in sugar that is mainly.
Since honey is better than refined sugar for diabetes, it should still be consumed with caution. People with diabetes can improve by minimizing all high-carbohydrate foods.
Also, note that some types of honey can be adulterated with natural syrup. Though honey is illegal in most countries, it is still a widespread problem.
4. The Antioxidants it Contains can Help Reduce Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, and honey can help it. And This is because it is said to contain antioxidant compounds that have been linked to decreasing blood pressure.
Researchers say that both rats and humans have shown modest reductions in blood pressure from honey consumption.
5. Honey also Helps Improve Cholesterol
Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol are a decisive risk factor for heart disease. This type of cholesterol has an essential role in atherosclerosis, accumulating fat in the arteries leading to heart attacks and strokes.
Interestingly, several studies show that honey can improve cholesterol levels. Lowers total and “bad” LDL cholesterol by significantly increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
For example, a study of 55 patients compared honey to table sugar and found that honey caused a 5.8% reduction in LDL and a 3.3% increase in HDL cholesterol. It also led to a modest 1.3% weight loss.
6. Honey can Lower Triglycerides
Elevated blood triglycerides are another major risk factor for heart disease. These are also linked to insulin resistance, one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes.
Triglyceride levels increase on a diet rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates. Interestingly, numerous studies have linked regular consumption of honey to lower triglyceride levels, mainly when used to replace sugar.
For example, a study that compared honey and sugar found triglyceride levels 11 to 19% lower in the honey group.
7. The Antioxidants it Contains are Related to Other Beneficial Factors in The Heart
Honey is a rich source of phenols. They can help the arteries in the heart to dilate, increasing blood flow to the heart. They can also help prevent blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
In addition, a study with rats showed that honey protected the heart from oxidative stress.
Still, there are no long-term human studies available on honey and heart health.
8. Honey Promotes The Healing of Burns and Wounds
Topical honey treatment can be used to heal wounds and burns since and is still common today. Research of 26 honey and wound care studies found that honey is most effective in healing burns and partial-thickness wounds that became infected after surgery.
Honey is also a primary treatment for people with foot diabetic ulcers, which are serious complications leading to amputation. Researchers reported a 43.3% success rate with honey as a wound treatment. In another research, topical honey has healed a whopping 97% of diabetic ulcers in patients.
Researchers believe that honey’s healing powers are from the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects and can also nourish tissues surrounding the wound.
Additionally, it helps treat other skin conditions, including psoriasis and herpes lesions. Manuka honey is considered particularly effective in treating burns.
9. Helps Minimize Coughs in Kids
Coughing is a common issue for kids with upper respiratory diseases. These infections affect sleep and quality of life for both children and parents.
However, traditional cough medicines are not always effective and can have side effects. Interestingly, honey may be a better option, and evidence indicates that it is crucial.
Researchers found that honey works better than common cough medicines known around. Researchers also found that it reduced cough symptoms and improved sleep more than cough medications.
However, honey should never be given to babies under one year of age due to the risk of botulism.
10. It’s Delicious and High in Calories and Sugar
Honey is a delicious and healthy alternative to sugar. Be sure to choose a high-quality brand, as some lower-quality ones can be mixed with syrup.
Note that honey should be consumed at a moderate level as it contains high calories and sugar.
The health benefits of honey are most known when it replaces another unhealthy sweetener.
How Much Honey Can You Use?
If you are on the standard ketogenic diet, you should try to figure out how many carbohydrates your body can tolerate without bringing you out of ketosis.
This amount will be different for different people. Everyone is different. Some people are susceptible to carbohydrates, and it takes very little to expel them.
In general, you should keep your carbohydrate intake between 20 and 50 grams of carbohydrates. One tablespoon of honey contains about 17 grams so that you can have one tablespoon of honey. However, you will need to be very careful with the rest of the day’s intake.
Hidden carbohydrates are found in many different foods, and you may not know exactly how many carbohydrates you are eating. Ensure that if you have a tablespoon of honey, you eat other foods less likely to carry hidden carbohydrates.
Hidden carbohydrates are found in condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauce, and others. They could be in fruit drinks, even when they’re labeled healthy.
It can also be found in nuts and sausages. Many different foods have hidden carbohydrates, so if you want to include honey in your diet, you should familiarize yourself with them and minimize the rest of the carbohydrates.
Now that you know more about honey let’s move on.
How about honey and ketogenic? Is Keto Honey Friendly? How about bourbon honey? Don’t stop here; follow us further in this article to learn more about honey and the ketogenic diet.
Is Honey Ketogenic or Low Carb?
If you want the short answer, it’s NO.
And if it interests you to know why here we explain why.
Unfortunately, honey is not a ketogenic sweetener. One tablespoon of honey is known to contain 17 grams of net carbohydrates, of which 16 of them come from sugar.
Fat content is zero, no dietary fiber, and only one-tenth of a gram of protein. As you’ve probably guessed from its nutrition facts, honey is a high-carb food and has no place on the ketogenic diet.
Will Honey Get You Out of Ketosis?
Remember, ketosis is a metabolic state. The ketogenic diet provides guidelines to help you get into ketosis.
The average person can consume 25 to 50 grams of total carbohydrates per day and remain in ketosis. Active people and endurance athletes report that they can eat up to 100 grams of carbohydrates per day and stay in ketosis.
Technically, you could eat high-carb food like honey and stay in ketosis. However, eating a large quantity of honey will prevent you from entering ketosis and reverse your progress.
That said, eating a tablespoon (one serving) of honey probably won’t hinder your results.
Here are some times when a small amount of honey is acceptable:
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): TKD allows for 20 to 50 grams of additional carbohydrates up to an hour before or after the training window. As an athlete, you may want to eat a tablespoon of raw honey before or after training.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): CKD follows a traditional low-carb diet for five days, followed by two days of carbohydrate storage. This means that for 24 to 48 hours a week, you replenish your glycogen stores with higher amounts of carbohydrates. This is generally only recommended for endurance athletes who need more elevated amounts of carbohydrates to perform.
If you can stay in a state of ketosis with a higher carbohydrate intake, honey may be a perfectly acceptable part of your diet as long as you consume it in moderation. For beginners on the ketogenic diet, it might be better to wait.
Some Sweeteners to Choose From Instead of Honey Over Keto
Instead of honey, choose a no-calorie sweetener that doesn’t raise your blood sugar. Like honey, these sweeteners are healthy types of table sugar and have a low glycemic index.
They will not raise blood sugar or insulin levels, two adverse side effects of honey.
Choose one of these ketogenic sweeteners instead of honey:
- Stevia: This natural sweetener is calorie-free, it is ranked zero on the glycemic index, and it is 200-300 times sweeter than the regular sugar refined.
- Monk Fruit: Monk fruit sweetener is most times chosen over stevia as it does not have a bitter aftertaste. It also has zero on the glycemic scale index, and it is said to be sweeter 300 times than the sugar refined.
- Erythritol: This is also a sugar-free sweetener that contains sugar alcohols. It is sweet like honey so that you can use a one-to-one ratio.
Avoiding Artificial Sweeteners in a Ketogenic Lifestyle
It might be tempting to choose honey with artificial sweeteners, as they all claim zero calories and no sugar. But some sweeteners can cause adverse health effects.
Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame or Splenda. Though they do not contain sugars, they are not suitable for general health. Splenda has been found to increase blood sugar and insulin.
Studies show that aspartame and saccharin could destroy healthy gut bacteria. There is also a link between aspartame and cancer, so it is best to stay away from it.
Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener, but we don’t recommend using it all the time. One of the most major setbacks is that it could lead to difficulties in losing weight.
How Many Carbohydrates are in Honey?
People often want to know how many carbohydrates are in honey.
There are 17 grams of net carbohydrates in honey per one tablespoon serving, and 16 of these come from sugar.
It contains no fat, no dietary fiber, and only 1/10 gram of protein. There is a minimal amount of nutrition in honey, and its high carb content means that it is not low carb and should not be part of any keto or low carb diet.
Is Bourbon Honey Keto Friendly?
Like honey, bourbon honey also contains carbohydrates, and keto targets low-carb diets and drinks, so bourbon honey is also not keto-friendly.
Here are some keto-compatible alcoholic beverages:
Vodka is generally made from grains such as potatoes, rye, or wheat and contains approximately 35-50% alcohol by volume.
When you get a bottle from the liquor store or order from a bar, try to get plain, flavorless vodka.
If you must have flavored, some are zero carbs, but do your research online first! Many of the flavored vodkas have syrups and added sugars.
Whiskey is made from fermented grains, typically combining rye, wheat, corn, or barley, and is roughly 35 to 50 percent alcohol by volume.
Although it is a dark liquor, all whiskeys have no added carbohydrates (or sugars), making it an excellent drink for those on a ketogenic diet. Barrel-aged whiskey has more phenols and ellagic acid (fights free radicals) than red wine.
Depending on where the whiskey came from, where the name came from. Scotch, whiskey, and bourbon are similar kinds of this alcohol. Some do not like the taste of whiskey due to its extraordinary hardness. If so, it may be better to use milder alcohol like vodka.
The agave plant is the major source of tequila and is typically made with 40% alcohol by volume. There aren’t too many flavored tequilas on the market, so you don’t have to worry too much about added sugar or carbs.
Be aware that some tequila makers mix their tequila with other spirits.
Try to get tequila that is derived entirely from the agave plant.
The agave plant can be grown in many places, but depending on where it is grown will affect the taste of the tequila. In mountainous areas, you may have a sweeter, more aromatic form of this alcohol.
Rum is generally made from sugar cane or molasses and comes in a variety of styles. It is also zero carbohydrates and zero sugar, but you have to be careful with flavored rums and additives.
Typically, the darker the rum, the richer the flavor and the older. On average, rum reaches around 35% alcohol by volume.
When rum is first distilled, it comes as a liquid. It is then typically placed in bourbon barrels to pick up the oaky flavor and dark color you see. The taste and color of the barrels do not add carbohydrates.
Honey is a delicious sweetener alternative to table sugar, but it is high in carbohydrates. You can still eat a tablespoon a day, but you need to make sure you pay attention to the rest of the meal.
There are alternative sweeteners like Stevia or Erythritol, and you may want to consider them in place of honey. The important thing is to keep your carb count below 50, so you don’t get thrown out of ketosis.
Suppose you use a ketogenic diet variation, such as the targeted ketogenic diet or the cyclical diet. Then you will be able to consume honey during periods when additional carbohydrates are allowed.
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