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The premise behind a diabetic diet seems simple enough: limit your sugar and other carbohydrate intake. But, when you have diabetes, your diet is anything but simple, especially if you have a sweet tooth.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), you should limit your carbohydrate intake to 45g to 60g per meal for best blood sugar control. Carbohydrates are found in a wide variety of foods, from grains and milk to starchy vegetables and fruits to sugar, agave syrup and honey.

How Does Honey Differ from Sugar?

Honey is an all-natural food made from the nectar of flowering plants. It is comprised of 17% water and 82% carbohydrates while sugar is 99.9% carbohydrates.

When consumed, honey has a smaller impact on blood sugar levels than regular sugar. A recent study found that the initial blood sugar spike at 30 minutes was higher than that of sugar. However, when tested again, blood sugar levels from honey dropped lower than sugar and remained lower for the next two hours. Since blood sugar levels were better with honey, researchers suggested honey increased insulin levels, because insulin helps to move glucose out of the blood.

Final Verdict: Honey or Sugar?

It’s no secret honey provides additional benefits than that of sugar. Researchers found that honey can provide positive effects on body weight and blood lipids of diabetic patients, including reducing high total cholesterol and LDL and improving HDL. Additionally, honey contains antioxidants, which help protect against other diseases.

While honey seems to win on additional benefits, the answer is still “it depends”. Cautious consumption is recommended for diabetic patients and is dependent on your carbohydrate tolerance. As always, consult your physician before making any significant changes to your diet.

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