A few tablespoons of honey a day could help keep the doctor away, according to new research.
Despite being about 80% sugar, there are some surprising health benefits associated with consuming two tablespoons of honey daily.
A new study has found that it may help balance blood sugar and improve cholesterol levels, key indicators of cardiometabolic health.
Cardiometabolic diseases are a group of common but largely preventable conditions, including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
And experts now say that replacing added sweeteners in the diet — such as sugar in tea — with honey may reduce the risk of diseases associated with eating too much sugar, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Researchers at the University of Toronto recently analyzed the results of 18 studies involving more than 1100 participants and found that raw honey from a single flower source has the most beneficial effects on the body.
They found that it lowered fasting blood sugar and the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood, while increasing good cholesterol and reducing inflammation.
Study participants generally followed a healthy diet and sugar made up 10% or less of their daily caloric intake.
For eight weeks, they received an average of 40 grams daily, or about two tablespoons of honey.
Most of the following benefits have been observed in people who ate raw honey from false acacia or locust trees.
But it seems you shouldn’t heat your honey above 65°C – because the study also found that heating honey lost most of its health benefits.
Tauseef Khan, a senior researcher at the university’s medical school, said: “Honey is also a complex compound of common and rare sugars, proteins, organic acids and other bioactive compounds that are likely to have health benefits.”
But not all sugars should be treated equally.
“We’re not saying you should start eating honey if you’re currently avoiding sugar,” Tauseef said.
He added, “Takeout is more about substitution — if you’re using table sugar, syrup, or another sweetener, replacing honey with that sugar may reduce cardiometabolic risks.”