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One Honey Is As Good As Another

One honey is as good as another — at least as far as glucose content is concerned.

That's the finding of San Diego State University researchers who investigated claims that some honeys have a better glycemic index than others.

Glycemic index is a measure of a food's effects on blood sugar. Foods with a high glycemic index — starchy foods, for example — aren't good for people with diabetes or for people trying to lose weight.

Jennifer Ilana Ischayek, R.D., and Mark Kern, Ph.D., R.D., analyzed four kinds of honey. They looked at buckwheat honey from Oregon, clover honey from Oregon, cotton honey from California, and tupelo honey from Florida.

Unlike some earlier studies, they compared apples to apples — that is, they made sure that each honey sample contained the same amount of carbohydrates. They found very little difference in the honeys' glycemic indices. They ranged from 69.13 to 74.14. All were very close to table sugar's glycemic index of 68.

However, Ischayek and Kern suggest that honey is probably better for you than table sugar. They note that it's sweeter, so you can use less and thus consume fewer calories. And, they say, honey has healthful antioxidant and prebiotic properties.

The study, funded by the National Honey Board, appears in the August issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

SOURCES: Ischayek, J. and Kern, M. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, August 2006; Vol. 106: pp. 1260-1262.

By Daniel DeNoon
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, M.D