A new study reveals that honey, unlike other sweeteners, may actually be good for cardiometabolic health. The benefits of honey have been revealed in studies of people with heavy diets containing 10% or less sugar. The study suggests that honey, particularly raw monofloral honey, may be a healthier replacement for sugar already consumed, rather than an additional sweetener added to the daily ration.

Considering replacing the sugar you eat with honey could be a good option, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Toronto. For people following a healthy diet in which no more than 10% of daily calories come from sugar, honey actually has cardiometabolic benefits. The study is a review and meta-analysis of the effects of honey in 18 controlled dietary trials involving 1,105 healthy people. Overall, the trials showed that honey reduced fasting blood glucose (fasting blood sugar levels), total cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol (source of LDLT), as well as a marker of fatty liver disease. They also found that honey increased markers of inflammation.

While sugars of all kinds are linked to cardiometabolic problems, and honey is 80% sugar, the study’s authors suggest that honey might be in a category of its own, and deserve special attention. as a healthy food. Researchers have found that raw honey and monofloral honey are the most cardiometabolically beneficial. The study is published in Nutrition Reviews.

What is special about honey?

Unlike most sweeteners, the sweetness of honey does not come exclusively from common sugars, such as fructose and glucose. About 15% of honey is made up of dozens of rare sugars, for example, isomaltulose, kojibiose, trehalose, melezitose, etc. which have been shown to have many physiological and metabolic benefits, including improving glucose response, reducing insulin resistance, and promoting the growth of bacteria associated with a healthy gut.

Moreover, honey contains much more than sugars. These include many bioactive molecules including polyphenols, flavonoids, and organic acids that have a range of pharmacological properties including antibiotic effect, anti-cancer effect, anti-obesogenic effect [anti-obésité]protection against free radical damage and reduced inflammation.

Raw honey and monofloral honey

Honey products are often pasteurized, raw honey is not. Honey is pasteurized for convenience, not safety, because the processing slows the natural graininess of honey, which can make it harder to pour from a bottle or measure into a spoon. Raw honey contains a whole host of nutrients, including many antioxidants, the amount of which can decrease with pasteurization. The current study found that raw honey had a particularly positive effect on fasting blood sugar.

Most honeys are polyfloral, which means that the bees that produce them collect nectar from all nectar-producing plants within a radius of 3 to 5 km around their hive. Monofloral honey is honey that comes exclusively from the nectar collected by bees from a single type of plant. Well-known monofloral honeys include clover honey, acacia honey, and lavender honey. Each of them has a particular flavor. Researchers found that monofloral clover and acacia honeys reduced LDL cholesterol and overall cholesterol, as well as fasting triglycerides. Clover honey also reduced fasting glucose levels.

Inflammation markers

Excessive inflammation is increasingly associated with a variety of diseases and conditions, so the study’s finding that honey increases inflammation markers IL-6 and TNF-alpha may elicit some worry.

However, an increase in these markers could actually indicate additional benefits. IL-6 may play a role in maintaining good blood sugar control by improving glucose and lipid metabolism throughout the body. Likewise, TNF-alpha is an indicator of the body’s innate immune response, so an increase with honey consumption may suggest improved immunity.

Other natural sweeteners

Syrups like maple syrup and agave are obtained directly from plants, with some processing by humans using heat, and are mostly composed of common sugars like fructose, glucose and sucrose. Agave is natural, but it’s fructose at the end of the day.” High levels of fructose are bad for the liver, regardless of the source. Even natural juices are harmful to the liver, despite all the vitamins and minerals they may contain.

Yet the way bees make honey adds an interesting twist that makes its sugars different. Honey has an additional step where the bees intensively process the nectar [qui est principalement du saccharose] flowers with their enzymes, resulting in the production of a wide variety of rare sugars in honey. These rare sugars are the key to the benefits of honey sugars over other natural sugars.


Benefits were seen after consuming an average of 40 grams for 8 weeks. This amount of sugar is more than the body can process without involving the liver. We can observe similar cardiovascular and metabolic risk benefits without sugar consumption, for example in the Mediterranean diet.

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