We are in the midst of the strangest times but one of the beautiful things about it is, we are back in our kitchens cooking!!
Let’s look at a beautiful whole food that most of us probably have in our kitchen, honey. I often get asked, “is honey the same as sugar?” The answer to that question is “NO!”
Why You Should Ditch Sugar for Honey
First, honey is a whole food and sucrose is not. In other words, sucrose is an isolate – technically only one chemical compound – lifted from a background of hundreds of other components within the whole plant, whereas honey is composed of an equally complex array of compounds, many of which are well-known (including macronutrients and micronutrients, enzymes, probiotics, and prebiotics, etc.), others whose role is still completely a mystery.
Even the “sugar” in honey, which we might equate to the sugar in sugar cane or beet sugar, is a complex mix of 25 different types of sugar. Modern man in his “wisdom”, around the 1800s, started refining the sugar cane and eventually beets to create a single molecule called “sucrose” which has wreaked havoc with our health. Of course, there are now many names for sucrose when you look at a food label, but no matter what the name it doesn’t compare to the amazing benefits of honey.
But the differences between honey and sugar are not simply based on their respective chemical and nutritional compositions, but also the length of time we humans have had to adapt to them as a source of energy and nourishment.
8000-year-old cave painting from the Araña Caves in Spain.
We can assume our love affair with honey goes back ten’s of thousands of years! Our bodies have had infinitely more time to adapt to honey than to sugar.
The Beautiful Benefits of Honey
I’m often asked, “can I eat honey and will it raise my blood sugar and put weight on?”. There was a double-blind, randomized clinical study published in 2010 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, comparing the effects of honey or sugar on your appetite hormones (ghrelin, peptide YY) and the glycemic and thermic effects after a meal. This was done on 14 healthy, non-obese women. The researchers found that the group given 450 calories of honey with their breakfasts had a “blunted glycemic response which may be beneficial for reducing glucose intolerance.” they also saw a positive modulation of appetite hormones, delayed the postprandial (after meal) ghrelin response and enhanced total peptide YY levels!!In
In Layman’s Terms
Ok, in layman’s language, that means you don’t’ get as hungry as soon after you eat and your blood sugar doesn’t spike which leads to weight gain.
Another study published in Journal of Medical Food in 2004, which compared honey to dextrose and sucrose, found that natural honey was capable of lowering plasma glucose, C-reactive protein (inflammation marker) , homocysteine in healthy, diabetic and hyperlipidemic subjects (people with high cholesterol.)
Animal research also confirms that, when compared to sucrose, honey is more effective at promoting lower weight gain, adiposity (fat accumulation), and triglycerides, WOHOO! Are you loving your honey yet???
Eat It Raw
Raw honey contains enzymes and probiotics which are destroyed when heated. These compounds contribute directly or indirectly to honey’s amazing health benefits, so go “raw” when you buy honey.
Take the active starch-digesting enzyme amylase, for instance, found only in the raw form of honey in a form known as diastase, which is believed to contribute to clearing antigen-antibody immune complexes associated with allergies to pollens. Also, if it is local honey, it will pick up small amounts of local pollen which may help to “immunize,” or desensitize an overly active immune response to these environmental triggers. There is also the enzyme in raw honey known as glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide formed as a result of this enzyme is associated with honey’s well-known wound sterilizing and healing properties.
Honey is also rich in prebiotics, as attributed to some of the carbohydrates and probiotics that contribute to supporting the healthy flora in our gut as well. Recently, in fact, an abundant, diverse and ancient set of beneficial lactic acid bacteria were discovered within the honeybee gut. Researchers found a collection of 50 novel species from the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium from a single insect! Consuming raw honey, therefore, likely significantly impacts the microbiota within our own gut, and is one way to reconnect to ancient symbiotic relationships with flora that in our modern, sterilized, pasteurized, irradiated, poisoned, cooked, and the bleached world, are all but eradicated from our environment, soil, food, and therefore bodies! These probiotic boosting properties may explain why honey is effective at healing gastrointestinal disorders.
Bee products, including venom, wax, propolis ((Bee Propolis Abstracts), royal jelly, etc., have been found to provide potential medicinal solutions for over 170 different health conditions (587 Bee Abstracts) expressing over 40 distinct beneficial pharmacological actions. This growing body of research should awaken in us a greater respect for this sacred insect — even if only for selfish reasons — and when we say sacred, the word sacred means “to make holy,” and the word holy shares the same root meaning as the words whole and heal, so incredibly powerful!
The sad part of this is we are seeing an explosion of colony collapses. The correlation between pesticides and big agrichemicals can not be understated in the role they are playing in destroying our bees worldwide. These chemicals radically transform the bee’s natural habitat and microbiota which has been around far longer than we an imagine. Support Organic farmers!!
10 Day Detox
Yes, we get to have honey during our 10 Day Detox! Our next class starts on April 13th and what a perfect time to kick the sugar habit and build your immune system. Teaching you powerful truths such as “honey vs sugar” is what I love to do during these ten days. Let’s focus on ancient wisdom and the healing power it has!
Learn more here… 10 Day Detox