Monday, January 14, 2013

Honey, I love you but I just can't believe you.

My friends and readers are always worried that I am going to run out of material (or they like to watch my head explode), so the other day I got this:
honey and cinnamon cold remedy 1 teaspoon honey 14 teaspo - food

And with that picture were several paragraphs that essentially said honey cures everything.  If you are interested in the details, the full text is here on

First of all, if you look at the supermarket tabloid where this is published in 1995, you will notice that in that same publication you can read about AIDS cures being found in African vines and demons from hell killing people in church.  If that doesn't give you pause, I really do not know what to tell you.  However, I do know that sometimes you can find a shred of evidence mixed in outrageous claims, so I did go on an evidence hunt, starting with the honey anyway.

Naturally, there wasn't any evidence that supported any of those outrageous claims.   The only thing that I found that came close to having good evidence was the use of honey in wounds, usually in a product called Medihoney. (Link)  Emphasis on the MEDICAL GRADE honey, as in it's been pasteurized to make sure THERE ARE NO REMAINING YEAST/SPORES IN IT TO MAKE YOUR WOUND WORSE. (Yes, I am shouting because today I have been working with people who are that careless!)  And guess what, if your wound is already infected, you probably still need anti-biotics, but at least the medihoney can keep additional bacteria from getting in there and also dry out the wound.

One other thing that I will touch on is a question that I have received a lot over the years, and that is "Are 'natural sweeteners' like honey good for diabetics?"  Well, since you asked:
1) Natural does not mean it's better.  Arsenic is natural.
2) Honey contains carbohydrate, about 15-17 grams per Tablespoon.
3) People with type 2 diabetes have to control their carbohydrate intake when they eat (Average about 30 grams per meal, less if they attempting to lose a lot of weight and/or having out of control blood sugars).  People with Type 1 diabetes must compensate for any carb eaten with short acting insulin.
4) If you are capable of measuring out how much honey you are consuming, you could possibly work it in to your carbohydrate intake when you use it.
5) Since your eyes just glazed over when I mentioned the word "measure," you could also use your favorite sugar substitute and not worry about it.
6) You claim you can't use any of the sugar substitutes and you are wondering if you can use honey in moderation.  See point number 4--if you don't measure it at least once, you are likely getting too much.

Take home message--Honey will not magically cure anything.  If you use it, compensate elsewhere in your carb intake.

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