Honey is one of the tastiest sweeteners and can be used in a variety of ways. From dipping biscuits in it, chicken nuggets, or adding it to your coffee or tea, the ways to use honey are almost endless. While honey is pretty sweet, it's natural that we assume it's unhealthy solely due to its sugar content.
In addition to this, typically, highly sugary products tend to be fattening. But is honey fattening?
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Is Honey Fattening?
Honey is not fattening! There is no trans or saturated fat in honey. Generally, honey only has about 60 to 64 calories per serving. Most honey has a serving size of one tablespoon. So eating honey won't give your body any fat, but there are 17 grams of sugar in the product, making it a very sugary option.
Now, keep in mind that overeating sugar over a period of time can lead to weight gain, but honey itself is not a fattening ingredient.
Raw Honey Can Help Fight Allergies
One of the best reasons to eat honey is to help you build immunity against local allergies. Bees essentially take pollen from flowers and other pollinating plants, and it's transferred into the honey they make. When you eat raw honey, you're ingesting some of that pollen.
Over time, you may notice that your allergy symptoms get better when buying local honey. Several studies have discovered this to be true. Of course, everyone's body is different, and how your body reacts to allergens may not be affected by eating honey.
Honey Has Been Used for Medicinal Purposes For Centuries
While many people use honey to sweeten their tea, honey is used for medicinal purposes too. In fact, honey has a long history of medicinal purposes dating back over 8,000 years. Historians have discovered humans were using honey back in the Stone Age.
In the modern age, honey isn't recognized as a suitable form of treatment due to a lack of scientific evidence. But ancient civilizations were known to use honey to treat a variety of ailments.
Honey was often used to treat intestinal diseases by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese. Some people will say to drink tea with honey when you have an upset stomach or when you're fighting a cold or flu even to this day.
Honey was and is still used by people when they're not feeling well. Honey can help soothe a sore throat and alleviate any discomfort from a cough.
While honey is an excellent home remedy for many health issues, speaking with your doctor beforehand is always best to ensure it's the right path for you.
Is Honey Better For You Than Sugar?
Honey and sugar are both popular sweeteners, but is it better to use one over the other? Ultimately it comes down to your personal preference, but there are some differences between honey and sugar. The main similarities are they both have high sugar contents, no fat, and are relatively low calorie.
The first difference between sugar and honey is the calorie content. Honey has approximately 60 calories per tablespoon, whereas traditional white sugar has 48 calories per tablespoon. So if you're going off calories alone, sugar is the better choice.
The thing that honey has over sugar is the supposed health benefits. Even though honey does have a fair amount of sugar, honey is also rich in pollen which can help fight allergies and various minerals which are beneficial to your health.
So, is honey better than sugar? It depends on what you consider "better". For calorie content, sugar is better than honey. But the calorie content isn't significantly different between the two, and honey gives your body a little bit more nutrients than traditional white sugar.
Raw Honey vs. Regular Honey
If you're shopping for honey, you'll probably notice that there are products called raw honey and then traditional honey. The most significant difference between the two is how they're processed. Raw honey comes straight from the bees' hive and is packaged for purchase.
Other honey is more processed and tends to have added sugars, and many of the health benefits from honey are removed.
Health Effects of Overeating Honey
Even though honey isn't fattening and can provide your body with allergy-fighting components, it's not something you'll want to eat too much. The sugar in honey is perfectly okay for your body in moderation, but if you overeat anything that is sugary, even honey, it can cause some chronic health issues.
Some of the potential health issues you can face if you eat too much honey include fatty liver disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Where is the Most Honey Produced
In ancient times, most people were harvesting honey from wild beehives. But now, the majority of the world's honey supply comes from domesticated beehives. Honey is harvested around the world, but a few countries produce more than others.
The biggest producer of honey in the world is China. Following China is Turkey, then Argentina, Ukraine, and the United States. These five countries harvest a total of 1.2 million metric tons of honey per year. In the United States, the leading honey producer is North Dakota.
South Dakota produces a lot of honey, but it makes less than half of what North Dakota does a year. California is the third-largest producer of honey in the United States.
How Many Types of Bees Are There?
There are over 20,000 different types of bees in the world. Even though there are thousands of types of bees, there is only one type that can produce honey, the honeybee.
Within the honeybee colony, there are three types of bees. They all have a different name based on their job within the hive, but they are all still honeybees. Within the hive, there is the queen bee, worker bees, and drone bees.
The queen bee's job is to produce more honeybees for the hive. She will mate with the other bees and can lay up to 2,000 eggs in her lifetime.
Worker bees are female and responsible for keeping the hive clean. Lastly, drone bees are responsible for mating with the queen bee.