honey being poured over a healthy breakfast or snack

Is honey good for you?

If you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, honey is for you!

Honey has been used for thousands of years as food, and even a medicine, but is honey healthy and is it any good for you?

What is honey?

Honey is produced naturally by honeybees in their hives. It’s made from nectar that the bees collect from flowers and water. The water is then evaporated and the golden liquid we all know and love as honey, is produced.

Is honey healthy?

Regularly used as an alternative to your regular sugar in drinks and food, honey is seen as the better option thanks to its natural profile and added benefits.

When choosing a higher quality honey, you’ll benefit from its vitamin, minerals, amino acid, protein and phenol antioxidant content1. You’ll find Vitamins C, B5, B3, B2 in honey; along with minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc2.

Is honey better than sugar?

Honey is made up of around 40% fructose3, a fruit sugar also found in fruits and vegetables. Fructose is sweeter than artificial sweeteners4 and regular table sugar, with a lower GI, so you may find that a little honey, goes a long way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Honey contains more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and nutrients, so is seen as a better option than a regular table sugar.

Alex Glover, a Holland & Barrett Nutritionist says “Honey can be used as a substitute for sugar, but pay attention to the calorie content.”

What are the different types of honey?

From your standard honeys, to your premium manuka honey, it can be tricky to navigate the wonderful world of honey and their benefits.

Honey is usually bought in a jar containing the golden liquid, but you can also buy honey in different forms. Before the clever people discovered you could extract the honey from the hexagon cells in honeycomb, honey was served as honeycomb. You can also buy a small piece of honeycomb within honey – this is called a cut of honeycomb.

You will also find honeys that are different flavours. Whether that’s the popular acacia honey or the more peculiar coriander honey, there’s a honey out there that’s perfect for you.

Don’t be put off by the colours of honey. Honey comes in a spectrum of colours from nearly translucent to almost treacle coloured – it all depends how the honey has been made and from which season and country the bees collected nectar from.

Manuka honey is a special type of honey that is produced when bees source the nectar from manuka bushes that are only found in New Zealand. Manuka honey contains a special ingredient called MGO (or methylglyoxal) which boosts its profile due to its anti-bacterial properties.

How many calories in a teaspoon of honey?

1 teaspoon (7g) of honey contains 21 calories.

1 tablespoon (21g) of honey contains 64 calories5.

Is honey vegan?

The Vegan Society do not class honey as vegan as it is an animal product6.

If you’re vegan and looking for something to satisfy a sweet tooth, or to substitute honey in a recipe, give maple syrup a go.

Alex also suggests “Agave nectar and date syrup are great vegan alternatives to honey.”

Can you have honey when pregnant?

Honey is fine for all stages of pregnancy but should not be given to babies and children under the age of one years old.

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Last updated: 20th February 2020

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