Honey And Diabetes

Honey And Diabetes – Is It Good To Eat Honey If You Are Diabetic?

Do honey and diabetes mix?  Diabetics keen to replace sugar with something else just as sweet may wonder about honey.  Being a natural product made by bees, some may wonder whether honey is the same as sugar, and could honey replace sugar in the diabetic diet?

Type 1 Diabetes ( Diabetes Mellitus)

Anyone with type 1 diabetes may find themselves on insulin, and frequently monitoring their blood glucose levels.  

The many symptoms of diabetes mellitus, are a reflection of the disturbance to metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and protein.

Diabetes is from the Latin meaning ‘increased urination’, whereas mellitus actually means ‘honey’.  Lack of insulin means glucose (sugar) is inhibited from reaching the muscles and adipose (fat) cells, which inhibits formation of glycogen. 

As a result, the levels of glucose in the blood rise, and once it reaches an excessive level, glucose (sugar) is excreted in the urine, along with excess water loss causing thirst.  It tends to occur from around 20 years old onwards.

Type II Diabetes

Type II Diabetes tends to occur later in life (i.e. in people over 40 years of age).  

Usually, cells lose insulin receptors, and so cannot respond to insulin. 

Heredity, lifestyle, overeating and under-exercising are risk factors.

Is honey good for diabetics?

Honey is high in sugar, so it’s not good for diabetics
Bees make honey – and it is very high in sugar.   In addition to which, in some countries, honey is blended with corn syrup.

Natural honey contains the sugars glucose and fructose as the main source of carbohydrate. As a result, it is high in calories.   

Here is a breakdown of the sugar and calorie content of honey:

Calories in honey:

1 tsp

1 tbsp (21g)

1 oz (28g)







Carbohydrate in honey (100g):

Calories from carbohydrate in 100g


Carbohydrate in 100 g


Carbohydrate of which is Sugar in 100g


I personally think it's important to get expert advice - there are 2 books both written by doctors, and with excellent reviews, and both offering dietary assistance.  These books are available from Amazon on the links below.

In the meantime, you can also read more on my page – calories and carbohydrates in honey (and a comparison with sugar, maple syrup and other sweeteners), and below you'll find some suggestions for honey alternatives.

So what could you use as an alternative to honey if you have diabetes?

You could try the following honey substitutes:

In baking:

Low sugar apricot jam or marmalade

Chopped dried fruit (not coated in sugar)

In cakes, I sometimes add marmalade or jam, along with the flesh, juice and peel of an orange, or grated eating apple.

Drinks: sweeteners, fruit puree.

So in summary, I’m afraid no, honey and diabetes don’t mix, because at the end of the day, honey is primarily sugar.



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What's the real difference?


Honey vs Sugar

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