When it comes to managing our weight, we know that eating a healthy, balanced diet, mindful of excess calories, salt, sugar and saturated fats, and taking regular exercise are useful ways we can take control of weight loss or gain.
So, if we were to start talking about the benefits of eating honey to help manage obesity, you might think, “Hold on, Necta & Hive, isn’t honey just sugar?”. And we’d forgive you, because it’s a common misconception that honey is just another version of the sweet stuff.
But actually, it isn’t true. Yes, honey is sweet, and yes, honey contains sugar in the form of glucose and fructose (a type of fruit sugar). However, when compared to normal white or table sugar, honey is quite different.
When we eat white sugar, our blood sugar, or glucose, levels rise. Studies demonstrate that eating honey also spikes blood glucose levels but to a much lesser extent than after eating standard sugar. Researchers say this is because honey promotes the release of insulin to help deal with the blood sugar increase, much quicker than sugar does.
So the peaks and subsequent troughs of blood sugar levels are lower and less stimulating and dramatic on the peaks and troughs of energy levels after eating honey compared to eating sugar.
But what does this mean for weight management?
Obesity is now considered a chronic disease associated with oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress is caused by an excess of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules of oxygen that are produced by normal biological functions such as breathing and digestion, but also from eating fried, processed or fatty foods. They move around the body, looking for spare electrons to stabilise themselves, and in turn, damaging our cells and DNA.
More than simply being very overweight, obesity is characterised by an excess of fatty tissue (called adipose tissue) around the abdominal cavity and the organs within this cavity such as the liver and pancreas. The cells of this so called visceral adipose tissue then become enlarged leading to an enlargement of the organs and surrounding tissue, resulting in them becoming deprived of enough oxygen. This in turn results in the excess production of inflammatory markers, leading to chronic inflammation.
So being obese increases the amount of inflammation in the body which in turn can lead to an increased risk of developing further chronic inflammatory conditions such as metabolic syndrome (a type of prediabetes), type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, arthritis and certain cancers including breast and colon cancer.
Exciting new studies demonstrate that honey contains compounds that can improve the way the body deals with sugar, especially so, those who have type 2 diabetes, possibly as a complication of obesity. Honey also has the ability to protect the lining of the blood vessels and nerves from degrading, therefore protecting them from the damage caused by oxidative stress and inflammation.
Honey is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which further helps its case in reducing oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. So along with its less dramatic effects on blood sugar levels, if you’re watching your weight, honey could be the healthy sugar replacement you’re looking for. Necta & Hive active, healing honeys are ideal for consuming every day. One of our favourite ways is to add a teaspoon to warm water (wait for the water to cool to drinking temperature before adding your honey to prevent the delicate healing enzymes from being damaged) with a squeeze of lemon. Drink this to start your day, or to rehydrate after exercise. Or, you could drizzle a teaspoonful over a healthy breakfast of fruit and granola with your favourite dairy or dairy free milk.
Shop our collection of delicious, 100% natural, active honeys… Click here
Not sure which honey is right for you? Then use our rating and taste guide to help you.