“There is a lively, and on-going debate about whether honey is safe for diabetics and could be used as a sugar substitute. On one hand you have those who say there’s little difference between honey and sugar versus others who say there are significant health benefits, specifically related to honey and diabetes.

Health Benefits of Honey and Diabetes

honey and diabeticsIt’s well known that honey contains varying concentrations of polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants. A study published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders seems to indicate there are health benefits specifically associated to honey and diabetes. The study concluded that using….

“…Anti-diabetic drugs in combination with honey improve glycemic control, enhance antioxidant defenses and reduce oxidative damage. These effects are believed to be mediated partly via antioxidant mechanism of honey.” [1]

In yet another study honey was found to have a positive effect on body weight and blood lipids of diabetic patients. The 8 week study followed forty-eight diabetic type 2 patients. Prior to the study all were weighed and had fasting blood samples drawn. Half the group took natural honey orally for 8 weeks while the other half did not.

The results from the study were positive with regard to body weight and blood lipids however diabetic patients were urged to be cautious in their consumption of honey. The study results demonstrated…

“…that 8-week consumption of honey can provide beneficial effects on body weight and blood lipids of diabetic patients. However, since an increase in the hemoglobin A(1C) levels was observed, cautious consumption of this food by diabetic patients is recommended.” [2]

Honey is Sweeter

[adrotate banner=”4″] If honey is sweeter than sugar less would be required to sweeten food and beverages which would be a positive too right? Well, that’s debatable as well.

Dr. M. Regina Castro, a contributing expert at MayoClinic.org,  says there “…is generally, there’s no advantage to substituting honey for sugar in a diabetes eating plan.”[3]

Dr. Castro does say that while honey is sweeter, it also has slightly more carbohydrates and calories than sugar.  The recommendation, as with any sweetener, is to use honey in moderation and watch your numbers closely.


While there do seem to be health benefits associated with honey and diabetes all of the research is quick to caution moderation in consuming honey. The best advice, as always, is to consult with your doctor before making any dietary changes. Decide, with your doctor, whether adding all natural honey to your diet plan provides health benefits that help you manage your diabetes.


1 Erejuwa, Omotayo O. “”Effect of Honey in Diabetes Mellitus: Matters Arising.”” Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders, 29 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 Feb. 2015. <http://www.jdmdonline.com/content/13/1/23#>.

2 Bahrami, M., A. Ataie-Jafari, S. Hosseini, MH Foruzanfar, M. Rahmani, and M. Pajouhi. “”Effects of Natural Honey Consumption in Diabetic Patients: An 8-week Randomized Clinical Trial.”” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. PubMed.Gov, 1 Nov. 2009. Web. 18 Feb. 2015. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19817641>.

3 Castro, M.D., M. Regina. “”I Have Diabetes, and I’m Wondering If I Can Substitute Honey for Sugar in My Diet?”” Mayo Clinic. 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 18 Feb. 2015. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/expert-answers/diabetes/faq-20058487>.