Many people think honey is a magical elixir filled with endless health benefits. Many other people think honey is just sugar. Which team are you on? Which team is science on?
Let's get into a few of these myths.
Myth: Honey is antibacterial.
Some honeys are lighter, others are darker. The darker the honey, the stronger its antibacterial and antioxidant powers. In the lab, honey has been shown to restrict the growth of food-borne pathogens like E. coli and salmonella, and to fight certain bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. BUT, it hasn't been proven to have these effects in humans.
Myth: Honey can cure your allergies.
yth honey will make your allergies worse.
Myth: Honey is great for diabetes.
Myth: Honey is terrible for diabetes.
Myth: Honey is better for you than sugar.
Myth: Honey is worse for you than sugar.
Myth: Honey can cure your wounds.
Why did I only address one myth? Well, when I set out to myth bust all of the honey myths I could find out there is was OVERWHELMED. This is is only the tiniest snippet of a bigger list of claims about honey. What is the real story, already?!
Well, the story is just an example of a much bigger problem. Nutrition research. Nutrition, as I've said before and will say again, is science. It requires real research to make claims from. The trouble with the research is that it is very difficult to do and requires tens of years to complete. Studying how food affects people is hard because there are TONS of different factors to control for (exercise, genetics, sleep, other foods...), and we can't exactly lock people in a room and control their diet for their entire life.
Research around honey has pointed in several directions. One study will "prove" its effects on allergies, another will "disprove" the effects. The same applies for all other topics around honey.
The answer? We don't know yet.
Isn't that crazy? Scientists as a whole, do not know for certain how honey affects us because we have not completed enough rigorous research around the topic.
So should you be eating honey?
I wouldn't trust honey to cure all your aliments, but I also wouldn't trust it to cause them. Honey, as with most other foods, I'm sure is perfectly fine in moderation. I have a teaspoon of it in my tea every few days. Moderation is key!
Have any of you experimented with the benefits of honey? Share your honey story in the comments!
Photos by Tania Arceo