"I have diabetes. Recently I have been using honey to replace sugar in my diet as I was told that honey is good for diabetic, is that true?"
"Hi, thank you for asking! This is a great question. Honey’s reputation for being healthier compared with sugar is referring to its antioxidant component (mainly flavonoids which is well known for its anti-inflammatory property). It also consists of trace amounts of B vitamins, vitamin C, minerals, enzymes and amino acids. Different origin of honey varies in their actual nutritional content, colour and flavour.
However, both honey and sugar (sucrose in scientific name) are refined carbohydrates mainly from glucose and fructose. They can spike blood sugar level and cause weight gain if overused. Studies showed that honey breaks down slightly slower than sugar in body, however it is not significant to make a real difference. The good news is honey has higher fructose level than sugar, thus it taste sweeter in smaller amount. Therefore, people with diabetic can still enjoy the sweetness using little honey (not more than a teaspoon) to substitute sugar in their drink (of 200mls) or cooking (marinating) if desired. In terms of carbohydrate content, 2 teaspoons of honey is equivalent to 3 teaspoons of sugar or a slice of bread, which is 15g of carbohydrate.
For an optimal blood sugar control, total carbohydrate intake in a day is based on your total energy requirement (where height, weight and physical activity levels have to be measured).
Generally we will advise you eating more complex carbohydrate food choices (such as wholegrain or wholemeal products), reduce refined carbohydrates and spread your carbohydrates intake evenly throughout the whole day.
Hope this helps! Wishing you a good and lasting health!"
MJ, certified dietitian