What’s Inside Honey: Important Nutrition Facts

Honey vs. Sugar
Nutrition

Honey is deemed as a highly nutritious food as it contains lots of nutrients and antioxidants. Dating its use back to the ancient Egyptian times, it is no secret that honey is valued for its taste, health benefits, and even for its ability to last for many, many years without any additives and preservatives.

But how nutritious is honey? Check out the breakdown of its components below:

CALORIES

A tablespoon or about 21 grams of honey is only 64 calories. It is has no fats, no cholesterol, and has only a minimal 1 milligram of sodium. It is composed mainly of 80 percent carbs, 2 percent nutrients, and 18 percent water.

CARBOHYDRATES

As it is mainly made from natural sugar, which is part glucose and fructose, this means that honey is rich in carbohydrates. In fact, there is 17 grams of carbs in every tablespoon of honey, almost 90 percent coming from sugar.

It is important to understand that honey is not just simple sugar.

A study conducted in the University of Memphis has actually reported that it is an effective way to boost endurance and energy during exercise and sporting events.

GLYCEMIC INDEX

This is the number that ranks the type of carbs based on how fast its glycemic response is, which means the conversion rate to glucose in the body. It is scaled from zero to 100 and the higher it gets, the faster its ability to raise blood sugar levels.

Honey has a GI of 55 due to the presence of 17 grams of carbs. It is included in the moderate range and is half the glycemic index of sugar. In comparison, table sugar has a glycemic index of 100. Furthermore, there are other honey varieties that have lower GI because of the difference in fructose level, wherein the higher the fructose level, the lower the glycemic index.

NUTRIENTS

Honey is rich in different nutrients that enable it to provide several medicinal benefits. It has antibacterial or antiviral properties, immunity booster, and it is also used as cough or allergy remedy.

  • Antioxidants – Based on a study, a daily tablespoon of honey helps increase the levels of antioxidants in the blood. Antioxidants prevent oxidation and cell damage as it can provide electrons to counteract free radicals. The presence of these nutrients help lessen the risk of developing cancers and heart diseases.
  • Minerals – Honey is also abundant in minerals and elements such as calcium, chlorine, copper, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and sulfur.
  • Vitamins – Honey has several vitamins that are essential for human health. Most of them are vitamins A, C, E and K. It is also rich in B-vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, and folate.

SUGAR

As honey is a saturated sugar mixture with about 17.1 percent water, it contains predominantly fructose at 38.5 percent, and glucose at 31 percent. It also contains several disaccharides, trisaccharides, and oligosaccharides bonds of sugar, making it a polysaccharide. Due to its complex carbohydrate structure, honey is one of the best way to store energy.

With all of these nutrients present in honey, many believe this liquid gold is better than using table or common sugar. While it is true that honey is still sugar, most food experts prefer this over table sugar.

RECOMMENDED DAILY INTAKE

In order to truly get the health benefits of honey, moderation and proper dosage are the key. Ideally, honey is best consumed during autumn as this is the time of the year where bees produce the highest and best quality of honey. It is also best to eat honey in the morning when energy is needed the most.

The recommended daily intake of honey for adults is at 50 to 100 grams.

DOSAGE FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES

For any common problems, here is the proper dosage per age group:

Adults 18 Years and Over

  • To boost endurance and performance, 8.8 milliliters per kilogram of honey diluted with water before exercise
  • To help gain weight, 2 milliliters per kilogram of honey diluted with water taken twice daily
  • To improve cognitive function and memory, 20 grams of honey taken daily for 16 weeks

Children Below 18 Years

  • To help fight off cough, take 10 grams of a combination of Eucalyptus, Labiatae, and citrus honey together with 17 milligrams of buckwheat honey before going to bed.

To help gain weight, take 2mm of honey per kilogram of body weight diluted in water twice daily.