Is honey good or bad for you?

By Deepshikha Agarwal, nutritionist

Published: Thu 14 May 2020, 2:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 14 May 2020, 4:30 PM

The wound healing properties of honey may be its most promising medicinal quality, but it has been used topically as an antiseptic therapeutic agent for the treatment of ulcers, burns and wounds for centuries. It is known for its cosmetic use.
Honey is good for health but it is not the solution for everything. When used in excess, honey can have its fair share of disadvantages. One must remember honeybees gather pollen from various plants that can cause allergies like itchy skin or eyes, so consuming a small daily dose of local honey is fine but not quite so when consumed in excess. Honey can become contaminated with germs from plants, bees, and dust during production, collection, and processing. Luckily, honey has self-protective properties that prevent these germs from remaining alive or reproducing. However, some bacteria are resistant and can show its adverse effects. One of the examples is Clostridium Botulism that causes botulism (paralysis of muscles). One recommends to not to give honey to a baby younger than 1 year old, as it may contain spores of the above bacteria that causes botulism, which an infant's immature immune system can't handle.
In fact, excess consumption of this sweet liquid can cause diarrhoea. High content of fructose in honey can lead to gastrointestinal upsets at times.
Honey is an excellent replacement for refined sugar but one must not forget that it is a concentrated source of sugar and calories, giving approximately 64 calories in a single tablespoon. It has zero fibre and gives a sudden spike to the blood sugar levels. This can be harmful to a diabetic, if other sugar sources in the diet are not taken into consideration. Over a period of time, it can also lead to weight gain for people who tend have honey very frequently as calories tend to stack up. Having 2 teaspoons per day is recommended but having more than that without considering other factors in the diet can lead to harmful effects. Remember honey isn't naturally occurring sugar in fruits or vegetables, it is considered to be an added sugar.
In fact, consuming honey in excess may even erode the enamel due to its excessive sugary content. Kids having dental caries should avoid having plain or direct honey. Always combine with high-fibre foods like having a whole bread with honey or nuts and seeds together coated with this syrup or high fibre oat cookies with honey.
Labelling honey as a poor food choice could be a mistake; but one must consider the fact that moderation is the key.

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