Is Honey a Safe(r) Sweetener?
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: What
To Eat on an Upset Stomach
I pride myself
on making the Primal
Blueprint an easy lifestyle to follow. If you were just starting
out, you could easily read a few articles, do a couple
hours of research, and start making positive changes to your
schedule, or daily life immediately. You could ditch grains
or replace some chronic
cardio with weights
or switch to grass-fed
meat, and even if you did nothing else, you'd have made a significant
improvement to your life and eventually your health. I often receive
thank you emails for putting together a program that Internet-illiterate
grandmas and grandpas can get into and actually understand. That
said, sometimes things get a little confusing.
Like with honey.
See, as a general
rule, I am against the consumption of refined sugars, especially
sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. To understand why – if you're
still wondering – check out my definitive
post on the subject. But what about the preeminent unrefined
natural sweetener – the rich amber nectar that's been available
to humans from
the very start (albeit protected by barbed, flying suicide stingers)?
How are we to approach honey? Because while refined sugar and particularly
fructose are to be avoided, alone those are refined, manmade, processed
"foods." White sugar is just sucrose, which is just fructose and
glucose. High-fructose corn syrup is just fructose and glucose.
Isolated fructose is just fructose. Those aren't even foods, though
they can be eaten; they're just disaccharides and monosaccharides,
with zero minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients, flavonoids, and other
on the other hand, contains over a hundred different compounds,
not just fructose and glucose. It has a small amount of
minerals, amino acids, and vitamins, but the point is that it's
not just sugar. Entire colonies of honey bees thrive on
the stuff. It's food by any definition. And whole foods are different
than refined foods, and especially refined food-like products. They
have different effects when you eat them. Eating an almond
is not the same as taking a shot of rancid seed oil. Eating a handful
of berries isn't the same as sprinkling an equal amount of berry-extracted
sugar in your water and drinking it.
then, is whether or not this holds true for honey. Is honey "better"
than sugar or HFCS? Are some of the harmful effects of the sugar
contained therein mitigated by the presence of bioactive compounds?
Let's take a look.
which, I won't get into the individual compounds found in honey,
because each batch of honey is unique. Besides the whole vomiting
thing, honey bees don't really have strict manufacturing standards,
and which bioactive compounds end up in the honey depends on the
variety of flowers visited by the bees, as well as the season. I
might refer to different honey varietals, like buckwheat or wild
flower, but keep in mind that buckwheat from area to area and even
harvest to harvest will have different pollen concentrations, giving
the honey different qualities.)
certainly been figuring out ways to get their mitts on the sticky
mess for as long as we've realized it tasted good: a 6,000
year-old cave painting
from Spain even depicts a honey hunter climbing a ladder, stick
in hand and satchel at its side, gathering honey as bees swarm.
Modern day people, like the San bushmen and the Ache of Paraguay,
are honey hunters, with the Ache getting upwards of 10% of their
calories from wild honey (and the larvae found in the honeycombs).
For a visceral idea of the great lengths some people go to for honey,
check out this incredible
video of a tribesman from the Congo scaling a 40 meter tree
to get at the hive. That's dedication. After that climb, I imagine
his muscle and liver glycogen stores were rather depleted and the
honey was a welcome fuel source.
the rest of the article
February 9, 2012
© 2012 Mark's Daily Apple
Best of Mark Sisson