Each worker bee makes less than 1/12 teaspoon of honey during its lifetime, so it takes quite a lot of bees to make enough honey to sweeten your tea or spread on your toast. As with sugar, you don't want to overdo the honey, since it provides calories without much else in the way of nutrients.
Honey versus Sugar
Yes, honey does contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals. However, these amounts are so small you would have to eat huge amounts of it before you got any benefit. Just like sugar, honey provides 4 calories per gram, so a tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories. However, honey is sweeter than sugar so you only need to use about half as much to get the same taste.
Most people have no problem eating honey. However, some people are allergic to honey or the pollen particles found inside it, so eating honey causes them to get a rash or swelling, or have trouble swallowing or breathing. Since it contains more fructose than glucose, so some people have difficulty absorbing all of the fructose and get an upset stomach or diarrhea when they eat large amounts of honey.
Don't give infants under the age of 1 year any honey, since it can cause infant botulism. Eating too much honey can cause weight gain, since it can add a lot of calories to your food. Honey, like other added sugars, can also make it more likely you get cavities, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol if you eat a lot of it.
While there isn't a recommendation for how much honey you should eat, there is one for how much added sugar you get in your diet. If you eat a lot of other sweets, you shouldn't eat much honey. Try to limit your added sugar to no more than 100 calories, or about 6 teaspoons, per day. This means you have to choose between having a glass of soda, eating a scoop of ice cream or putting honey in your tea.
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Honey
- MayoClinic.com: Added Sugar: Don't Get Sabotaged By Sweeteners
- FamilyDoctor.org: Added Sugar: What You Need To Know
- MayoClinic.com: Honey
- The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America; Andrew F. Smith, editor in chief
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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