Eating Honey – Reality Check

HoneyBearsThere are a lot of people out there touting natural sugars like honey, agave, and maple syrup as better for you than processed table sugar.  This is a dangerous suggestion to make and I’ve argued with myself over the facts for the past few years, and like anything else, if you can argue over it, then you’d probably be better off playing it safe.  It’s a slippery slope, this sugar business.  There’s no denying its impact on us.  Diabetes is an epidemic.  When I heard 10% of New York City has diabetes my jaw hit the floor.  And a friend close to the diabetes community shed some more light on this fact.  That number doesn’t even address people walking around with diabetes that don’t know it yet, and those with pre-diabetes that will have the disease within a few years.  The numbers are staggering.  And there are studies this year that show 10% of the U.S. has diabetes, too.  Please do your research.  In my last post I stressed the importance of awareness and self-awareness.  You can never learn too much about the food you’re eating, and you can always make better choices.  This leads me back to the topic of this post: honey.  Let’s break it down:  a tablespoon of honey vs. a tablespoon of sugar.  It has been published that processed sugars, like high fructose corn syrup, are the culprits when it comes to diabetes, and that Americans eat way too much of them.  I think we can all agree that is true.  Then scientists break it down even further to explain that processed sugars link glucose and fructose together making them less efficient to turn to energy and easier to convert to fat stores.  That’s another problem for Americans eating processed foods with added sugar.  Then the “health food community” people describe honey as all natural, leading people to believe it’s better for them, and that the glucose and fructose in honey are separate, making it easier to convert to energy rather than stored as fat.  I think we can all agree that makes sense, too.  However, what they fail to mention is that honey is much denser than sugar and that in the tablespoon vs. tablespoon showdown, honey has more calories, carbs, and sugar.  Calories: 64 to 48.  Carbs: 17.3 g vs. 12.6 g.  Sugar: 17.25 g vs. 12.6 g.  They try to say that because it’s denser you’ll use less but here’s the fact.  If you buy a Honey Bear, aren’t you committing to eating all the honey in that Honey Bear?  Just like buying a 5 lb bag of sugar.  Eventually, you’ll eat all of it and all those calories, carbs, and sugar leave their mark on you.  What I have witnessed over the past few years, is that once people that believe that honey is a smart choice, they use it a lot more than they should.  No one measures honey out to a specific amount.  They just give that little bear a big squeeze.  There’s no telling how much you’re using.  And when that big drip of honey goes down the side of the bottle, no one grabs a napkin to wipe that off, you use your finger and eat it, just like you did with the frosting when you were making a cake with mom.  Here’s a tip.  Look on the back of the honey bear at the nutrition label and multiply the number of servings in the bottle by the number of sugars per serving.  And if you go through that bottle in a week or two or three, that’s how many sugars you’re eating in that time period.  It’s easy to see why the average American eats 150 lbs of sugar a year.  That’s only 184 grams per day, and that’s easy to do with a tablespoon of honey in the morning, and one in the afternoon with your cup of tea.  It’s just better not to eat it and get that sugar intake under control before it’s too late.

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