Healthy people can eat up to 2 tablespoons of raw honey a day, despite its high sugar content. Even people with diabetes can eat small amounts. Honey is high in antioxidants and has a moderate glycemic index.
How much sugar can we eat a day?
The maximum recommended daily intake of sugar is 5% of total calories. Therefore, people who follow a 2,000 calorie diet shouldn’t consume more than 25 grams of sugar a day.[1,2]
Moreover, cutting down sugar is pretty difficult because sugar interferes with the reward system of the brain, affecting eating behavior. Also, too much sugar causes weight gain because it prevents leptin production. This hormone helps regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger.
Excessive sugar intake may cause serious health issues. In fact, it has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammatory diseases, and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, too much sugar may lead to fat accumulation in the liver, decreased insulin sensitivity, and increased uric acid and cholesterol levels.
How much sugar in a tbsp of raw honey?
Almost all calories of honey come from sugars. In fact, honey consists of 17% water and 82% sugars. It contains negligible amounts of protein, fiber, or fat.
Honey contains about 82 grams of sugar per 100g. Actually, a tbsp of honey contains approximately 17 grams of sugar and 64 calories.
What are the main types of sugar in honey?
Honey consists of two types of sugars:
- glucose is right available to the muscle tissue. Hence, it can spike blood sugar.
- fructose has to be metabolized by the liver. This process takes time. So, honey has a lower Glycemic Index (58) than table sugar.
Furthermore, the fructose content of honey depends on the variety. It varies from 21 to 43%. Also, the fructose/glucose ratio varies from 0.4 to 1.6, or even higher. It depends on the floral source and climate circumstances. The higher the percentage of fructose, the less impact has honey on blood sugar.
Is eating 2 tablespoons of honey a day too much?
Although, honey is high in fructose, 2 tbsp don’t contain too much. Agave nectar and, above all, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) found in many processed foods are the main dietary sources of fructose in modern Western diets.
Consuming high amounts of fructose could have negative effects on your health. For instance, too much fructose could lead to fat accumulation in the liver, elevated triglycerides, increased LDL-cholesterol, hypertension, and insulin resistance.
In fact, 1–2 tablespoons of honey a day could be beneficial. This amount of honey could help you lose weight and decrease waist circumference.
But, we can eat 2 tablespoons of raw honey a day only as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Moreover, as 2 tbsp of honey have 34 grams of sugar, you better eat them before or after exercise. Sugar in honey provides energy before a workout and promotes muscle recovery when consumed after exercise.
If you follow a sedentary life and want to lose weight, better eat only a tablespoon of honey a day. Only active people or athletes could benefit by eating 2 tablespoons of honey a day.
You’ll find a wide variety of organic honey brands on iHerb.
Can people with diabetes eat honey?
Even people with diabetes could consume a small amount of honey a day. Actually, honey may be a suitable sweetener for patients with type 2 diabetes.
It doesn’t rise plasma glucose as much as dextrose. Dextrose is a type of sugar, commonly found in refined flours, baking products, and processed foods. People with diabetes should avoid these foods.
In fact, reasonable amounts of honey may reduce cholesterol and homocysteine levels![8,9]
Its high antioxidant content makes honey a healthy sweetener. Honey can increase serum antioxidant capacity by 7%.
Moderate honey consumption may improve metabolic disorders associated with diabetes. It could help reduce hepatic transaminases (for better liver function), triglycerides, and HbA1c levels (average blood glucose levels for the last 2-3 months), while it may increase HDL-cholesterol.
Certainly, people with diabetes should consult their physician before consuming honey.