The Not-So-Sweet Truth About Honey
It takes 12 honeybees their entire lives to make a single teaspoon of pure honey. That’s a lot of work. But it’s worth it. The final product is one of the healthiest substances on the planet.
Honey can kill bacteria, viruses, and even fungi. It lowers your cholesterol and overall inflammation—two of the leading risk factors for heart disease in the United States.
But it has a dark side. Don’t let that cute little plastic bear at the grocery store fool you.
You’ve seen the labels with “pure Grade-A honey” printed on them. Well brace yourself… Because they usually don’t mean a thing.
Let’s take a closer look…
Plain and simple, most honey on sale in the United States is fake.
A sampling of over 60 varieties shows that 76 percent of honey bought in U.S. groceries isn’t actually honey. It doesn’t even contain pollen.1
So, what is this stuff you’re buying as a “healthier” sugar substitute?
It’s another processed product stripped of nutritional value. Processing honey removes its pollen, antioxidants, and nutrients. What you are left with is sweet syrup.
Honey manufacturers say removing pollen helps the shelf life of the product and makes it impossible to trace where it came from. They also say clear honey just looks more appealing.
Unbelievably, they also add in artificial sweeteners and corn syrup to cut costs and make a sweeter product.2
Once again, it’s “shelf” over “health.” The food industry doesn’t care if the product is harmful as long as it has a profitable shelf life.
Even worse, Chinese honey—which can be full of antibiotics—makes its way illegally into some of the honey in the United States3
The good news is that honey has tremendous healing power if you eat the right kind…
Most organic honey, like that from Brazil, tends to have a lot of pollen in it. This means that it hasn’t been ultra-pasteurized and will actually provide some kind of nutrition to you.
But if you want to get the most health benefits, you can do even better.
Raw, organic honey is your healthiest option at the grocery store.
It’s easy to tell the difference between raw and processed. Raw honey is cloudy and solid at room temperature. This is the honey that’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal.
It’s full of B-vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It helps prevents coughs and colds.4 Studies show raw honey even reduces allergy symptoms by 60 percent.5
So what kind do we recommend? Manuka honey. It comes from New Zealand and contains the highest amount of methylglyoxal, the healing compound found in most varieties of honey.6 In fact, it is so powerful, manuka honey is actually considered medicinal grade.
Unlike prescription drugs, manuka’s antibiotic properties don’t lead to the creation of antibiotic-resistant “super-bugs.” That doesn’t mean you can eat it by the jar. Remember it’s still a sugary sweetener. Try just a teaspoon of raw honey as an after dinner treat. Believe us, it’s plenty sweet.
Raw honey is not without its risks. If you are severely allergic to pollen, raw honey can cause a strong reaction. Be sure to get your raw honey from an organic source to lessen the risk of food poisoning.
Try adding raw honey to your tea for sweetness and an extra boost of antioxidants. If you want to melt it a bit, submerge your sealed jar of honey in a pot filled with hot water from the faucet. Always buy organic, local varieties and get manuka honey when you can.