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Honey – what does it contain and how does it influence the body?

Honey – what does it contain and how does it influence the body?
I think there isn't any other product, apart from honey, which includes mainly simple sugars, and which would be perceived as healthy and valuable. Many people use it as a sweetener to tea and other beverages. However, it's good to think about the content of honey and its nutrition value.

Honey, meaning what?

Despite the potential value of honey, the fact is that in mainly contains water and sugars. Of course, this fact is not some important flaw, however, it shouldn't be trivialised by stating that the calories from honey "don't count" in the daily balance... I should only mention that in honey you can also find the following components:

  • enzymes,

  • mineral salts,

  • vitamins,

  • organic acids,

  • phenol compounds.

Their total amount is quite small, although, it's sufficient enough to influence human body in positive way.

Honey in prime factors...

Honey – as it was mentioned before, is a mixture of various substances with different structures and properties. What's important, the content of particular components is extremely divergent, which may look like this:

  • simple sugars, such as fructose and glucose: 65-80%,

  • water: 15-23%,

  • organic acids: 0.005-0.3%,

  • proteins, peptides, free amino acids, enzymes: 0.05 – 1.6% in total,

  • minerals: 0.05-1%,

  • polyphenols: 0.02-1.2%,

  • essential oils and vitamins: trace amount.

The amount of the components listed above may differ, depending on the kind of honey. And so, honeydew has much higher content of minerals than nectar honey. The same dependency concerns other ingredients, such as organic acids or enzymes. Therefore, the influence of particular kinds of fat on funcioning of the body may be various.

What sugars can be found in honey?

Carbohydrates are the main component of the mass of honey, whereas, the dominating ones are glucose and fructose (they take 70-80% of all carbohydrates). Their proportion is equal, although there are exceptions from this rule and there is sometimes more fructose (1.3:1). Apart from free forms of the mentioned monosaccharides in honey, there is also:

  • saccharose, but there isn't much of it – 4 – 5% at maximum,

  • dextrins – up to 15% (mainly in honeydew, other kinds of honey contain less of it),

  • melezitose – which is trisaccharide containing glucose and turanose, which is slowly digested in human digestive tract,

  • maltose,

  • starch – it is present in some kinds of honey in trace amount.

Honey as a replacement of sugar

Because of the flavour, honey may be a replacement for sugar. You can add it to tea or other beverages. Remembering about its pro-health potential, such change may be advantageous, on the other hand, you have to know that honey does not contain less calories than table sugar, and one tea spoon of this sweetener may weigh 2 – 3 times more than one tea spoon of saccharose... However, the influence of honey and table sugar on the body is different, which was proven in scientific studies. In one of such studies, the metabolic results of including 70g of honey or the same amount of saccharose were measured. The participants of the experiment were various – some had proper body mass, others were overweight, obese, or had lipid disorders. It turned out, that in the group of people consuming honey for one month, there was a significant improvement of the lipid level and blood glucose level. What's more, there was also slight decrease of body mass and spare fat. In the group of volunteers consuming saccharose, the body mass increased by symbolic 1.3%, and there were no positive changes within the lipid or glucose parametres. You can read more about it in the publication linked below:

http://www.ayubmed.edu.pk/JAMC/25-3/Majid.pdf

Honey as an ergogenic?

As it is widely known, it's possible to improve the effort abilities by skillful manipulation of carbohydrates intake. Because of the presence of glucose, fructose and other kinds of sugar, the consumption of honey before and after training seems to be a very good idea, especially that it also contains minerals, organic acids and polyphenols. What's important, it's possible to find evidence that using honey before and after workout may contribute to the improvement of efficiency, and the noted results occurred to be better than in case of professional sports gel! This issue was described in a scientific work linked below:

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/232198007_Honey_An_Alternative_Sports_Gel

Summary

Honey, although it mainly contains saccharides and water, should not be perceived only in the light of these ingredients. There are reasons to believe that its influence on the body is totally different than the influence of traditional sugars. Honey is great as a mean of improving efficiency for sports people, it may be also a sweetening additive to beverages – replacement for saccharose. Although, you should remember that one tea spoon of honey may be twice or three times heavier than a tea poon of table sugar. What's interesting, regular consumption of honey doesn't seem to be particularly threatening for the body, and in scientific studies it was observed that honey has positive influence on lipid and glucose parametres, which are the markers of metabolic health.

W artykule mówimy o: Health Diets and healthy food

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