Recently, a post from this site called "Can Diabetics Eat Honey? Yes, They Can, And They Should!" appeared over at Reddit. Since then, a few people have expressed concern that it was just misinformation that could lead to harmful effects for diabetics. One of them being a fourth year medical student. I assured them that I didn't just throw a bunch of stuff on the website haphazardly, and would post some resources that have been written by people that have done medical research on the topic of using honey for diabetics. As I mentioned in the original post, if you are a diabetic, you should discuss it with your doctor.
Some additional items:
- I come from a family of diabetics, including my mother, so I wish no harm on diabetics (or anyone, for that matter). I am not suggesting that a diabetic should discontinue any medications without speaking to their physician first. Honey for use with diabetes should not be seen as a cure for the disease.
- I am not dismissing doctors or their advice. I have taken and do take prescription meds at times. I have a doctor that I have seen for years, and he has provided some good care for me in the past. If my appendix explodes, or I break my leg, the first person I want to see is someone with MD or DO after their name. Rest assured, I will not be slathering honey on myself hoping for a miracle.
- The use of honey mentioned in the original post was in small doses, not a cup or two which would most likely be detrimental. I'm not diabetic myself, and wouldn't even eat that much at one time!
- More research is always being done and breakthroughs are being made, even on things that seem like a no-brainer now. You know, there was a time when physicians didn't even wash their hands between surgeries?
- The only thing that is clear here is that there is no 100% agreement on this issue. There is certainly a "medical" train of thought that will be quick to scoff or ridicule some natural treatments, especially in the west. The same is also true for "holistic" people that will speak swiftly to dismiss chemical treatments for illnesses. Traditional medical research done on various topics often disagree with each other and this leads to more discoveries being made. So, as always, I welcome your comments, but please be kind and respectful to anyone that may enter the conversation.
So, here are a few things to read. There are much more, but you can do some research on your own. Take care!
The Honey Revolution. Written by Dr. Ron Fessenden, MD, MPH. There is an entire section on honey for diabetes. Dr. Fessenden spent three years fully researching and writing about the health benefits of honey before writing his book.
The Use of Honey in Diabetes Mellitus: Is It Beneficial or Detrimental? Erejuwa OO. International Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2012. "In conclusion, the explanations and evidence in this commentary indicate that the use of honey in the treatment of diabetes mellitus is not detrimental, but beneficial, provided that genuine and natural honey is administered at appropriate therapeutic doses."
Effects of natural honey consumption in diabetic patients: an 8-week randomized clinical trial. Bahrami, et al. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. November 2009, Vol. 60, No. 7 , Pages 618-626. "The results of this study demonstrate 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 A1C levels was observed, cautious consumption of this food by diabetic patients is recommended."
Glycemic Response And Glycemic Index Of Bangladeshi Honey In Type II Diabetic Patients. MD, Ibrahim Khalil et al. Malaysian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol. 4, No. 1, 13–19 (2006). "Honey produced less postprandial hyperglycemia than glucose and sucrose in normal volunteers and NIDDM patients. Our findings showed that Bangladeshi honey could be beneficial as sugar substitute for type 2 diabetic patients."
Natural honey lowers plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with dextrose and sucrose. Al-Waili NS. Journal of Mediciinal Food. 2004 Spring;7(1):100-7. "Honey compared with dextrose and sucrose caused lower elevation of PGL in diabetics."
Intrapulmonary administration of natural honey solution, hyperosmolar dextrose or hypoosmolar distill water to normal individuals and to patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus or hypertension: their effects on blood glucose level, plasma insulin and C-peptide, blood pressure and peaked expiratory flow rate. Al-Waili NS. European Journal of Medical Research. 2003 Jul 31;8(7):295-303. "The results demonstrated that honey inhalation was safe and effective in reducing blood glucose level, in normal and diabetic subjects, it could improve glucose tolerance test, elevate plasma insulin and C-peptide and PEFR, and reduce elevated blood pressure in hypertensive patients."
Honey and Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. Abduhlrhman, et al. Pediatric Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University. "Honey has a lower glycemic and peak incremental indices compared to glucose and sucrose in both type 1 diabetic patients and non-diabetics. Therefore, we recommend using honey as a sugar substitute in type 1 diabetic patients. In spite of its significantly lower glycemic and peak incremental indices, honey caused significant post- prandial rise of plasma C-peptide levels when compared to glucose and sucrose in non-diabetics; indicating that honey may have a direct stimulatory effect on the healthy beta cells of pancreas. On the other hand, C-peptide levels were not significantly elevated after honey ingestion when compared with either glucose or sucrose in type 1 diabetic patients. Whether or not ingestion of honey in larger doses or/and for an extended period of time would have a significant positive effect on the diseased beta cells, needs further studies."