Ah, honey – the delicious sticky liquid that is often referred to as the “nectar of the Gods”. Besides having multifunctional purposes, it is known to have several benefits for the health, skin, and other parts of the body. It’s also a source of much controversy. There are a good many claims, honey myths and old wives tales floating around.
Unfortunately, many critics are opposed to consuming honey because they consider it as unhealthy as table sugar. While it is made up most of fructose, a sugar found mostly in fruits and vegetables, there is more to this liquid gold than cynics can see.
To clear honey’s name among health-conscious individuals, here is a list of the top 5 honey myths people need to erase from their minds.
MYTH #1: HONEY IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH
Honey gets a bad rap just because it contains fructose. But, sugar isn’t the only component of honey. A tablespoon of this liquid can give an individual 64 calories from carbs, 1.3 milligrams of calcium, 10.9 milligram of potassium, and zero cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium.
Furthermore, it has a low glycemic index, which means the energy from sugar enters the bloodstream at a slower pace when compared to refined sugar. This is also the reason why athletes prefer using honey as a sweetener as it gives them sustained energy to enhance their performance during sporting events.
Honey may be made from sugar but it is only 30 percent glucose, about 40 percent fructose, and 20 percent from other complex sugars such as dextrin. This means a person’s body uses up more energy to break it down hence resulting to a fewer calories than regular table sugar.
MYTH #2: HONEY IS POISONOUS
Botulinum is produced from honey and while it is a toxin used to paralyze the muscles especially during Botox procedure, it is not dangerous if it is an unprocessed toxin. In fact, honey is considered by medical experts as a potent antibiotic against major infections including the untreatable superbugs, E. Coli, and staphylococcus.
However, additional care should be provided for infants due to the possibility of acquiring infant botulism. Thus, it is not advisable to give honey to infants especially under 12 months old. But, the CDC states that honey is safe for consumption by children one year and up.
MYTH #3: THE PRESENCE OF WHITE FOAM MEANS IT’S NOT SAFE TO CONSUME
Contrary to popular belief, honey never goes bad especially when stored in sealed container. Actually, to prove this, when a group of archaeologists discovered the tomb of King Tut, they discovered several edible honey in sealed vats even after being buried for more than 2000 years under the desert sands.
The Smithsonian explains that it could be due to the chemical components of honey. Sugars are typically with little water in their natural state hence it is low in moisture, making it the least place for microorganisms to survive. Honey is also very acidic due to the enzymes produced in the stomach of bees thus any chance of bacteria survival is wiped out, eradicating the possibility of spoilage.
MYTH #4: LIGHT-COLORED HONEY IS BETTER AND PURE THAN DARK-COLORED HONEY
The truth is, honey gets its color, characteristics and taste from many different factors which include bee species, type of flower, time of the year, season, climate, and even temperature. At times, the same bees that were able to produce lighter and thinner honey can also produce a darker and thicker variety.
In fact, a study from the University of Illinois in 1998 was able to determine that dark honey may have more antioxidants than the light-colored variant. Antioxidants are known to help counter the attacks of free radicals, eliminating the risk of getting cancer, heart diseases, and many other health problems.
MYTH #5: HONEY CAN ELIMINATE COLDS, HAY FEVER, AND ALLERGIES
While it is true that honey has shown the same effectiveness of dextromethorphan in fighting lung infections due to its ability to provide inflammatory relief and repairing cells, there are no peer-reviewed studies that can actually prove that honey is able to completely eliminate allergies, hay fever or colds.
Honey, in some cases, can help soothe the symptoms of colds similar to how a desensitization therapy works. In fact, a Finnish study was able to conclude that pollen-rich honey can help reduce the allergic symptoms of patients.
Unfortunately, this is not similar to consuming just local honey as studied by the researchers from the University of Connecticut Health Center. In their 2002 study, the scientists did not see any difference or improvements from the group that consumed honey to the ones who consumed the placebo.