Does Honey Increase Blood Sugar Levels?

Date: 20th March 2020

Jar of runny honey with spoon.  Does honey increase blood sugar level?

One of the questions that is regularly asked is: “does honey increase blood sugar levels?”  This is an important question for people (for example diabetics) who need to keep their blood sugar levels closely monitored and regulated.

The short answer is:
Yes – if you consume honey then it will increase your blood sugar level.

Now for further explanation:

Why honey increases blood sugar level

Whilst honey is made by honey bees, nevertheless, it is  primarily comprised of different sugars.  On average, 100g of honey will contain about 82g of sugar, with fructose and glucose making up the larger portion of the total sugar content.

Amount Of Sugars In Honey (Per 100g)
Total Sugars
82g
Sugars
Sucrose 0.89g
Glucose 35.744g
Fructose 40.934g
Maltose 1.44g
Galactose 3.10g

The glycemic index of honey

According to the International Tables Of Glycemic Index And Glycemic Load, and Harvard Medical School the average Glycemic Index of honey is 61.

But why does this matter?  

Here's are a couple of definitions of the Glycemic Index (G.I.):

    "The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily. Foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly."

    - Harvard Health Medical School

    "The glycaemic [Glycemic] index (GI) tells us whether a food raises blood glucose levels quickly, moderately or slowly.....The GI index runs from 0 to 100 and usually uses pure glucose, which has a GI of around 100, as the reference. Slowly absorbed carbohydrates have a low GI rating (55 or below)."  

    - Diabetes UK

Given that a GI less than 55 is considered to be a low GI,  therefore, by this standard, the average GI of honey at 61 means honey increases blood sugar levels relatively quickly.  

Whilst this is the average GI of honey, the scores of individual honey variants will differ, some having an even higher score, whilst others will have a lower score.  Nevertheless, granulated table sugar has an an average index of 65 – so the average GI for honey is about the same as table sugar.

If you have diabetes and are concerned about monitoring your blood glucose levels, it's best to visit your medical practitioner and ask for advice about the appropriate sugar in take for your health. 

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