Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough – When we need a little sweet taste, honey can do the trick. Some of us put a little in our tea, drizzle it on a baked good like corn bread or a muffin, or we might add some flavor to our cereal/oatmeal with honey. It’s an “extra”, not exactly needed in our diet, but our tastebuds and cravings might say otherwise. The sticky, syrup nature of honey can be found in many people’s pantries. An interesting use of honey is for wound care, using it as a dressing for healing. It has also been used for other skin conditions including herpes, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
There may be some debate about this sweet addition to our diet. It comes from the nectar of flowers and is made by bees who collect it and take to their hive to produce honey. There are several types that vary based on whether it is raw or pasteurized and how it is extracted. Some of these types include sage honey, clover honey, avocado honey, orange blossom honey, eucalyptus honey, buckwheat honey, blueberry honey, and alfalfa honey.
On the positive side, no matter the type, honey does contain iron, zinc, and potassium, but in very, very trace amounts (less than 1% of RDI). It does have health benefits from the antioxidants it contains. Some advocates for honey say that swapping out sugar for honey is the better choice for your health because of these antioxidants that help fight against free radicals. It may not increase blood sugar level as much as sugar can. Some have said honey can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides, but studies are rare backing this.
On the other hand, one tablespoon (21 grams), has 64 calories, 17 grams of carbohydrates and then no other types of nutrients such as fiber, protein, or fat. A little goes a long way, but a little has those extra calories we don’t need. Even a few servings add up over time, so the waistline might show it. How much honey you are having can sneak up on you. Keeping your sweet tooth at bay can be challenging. Maybe honey instead of sugar can be a start to the transition of having less sugar. Then over time less honey. Small changes add up to big changes because even small amounts of honey can add up to big amounts of unnecessary harm to your health.