by Karen Foster
July 19, 2013
is a holistic nutritionist, avid blogger, with five kids
and an active lifestyle that keeps her in pursuit of the
healthiest path towards a life of balance.
There are well over 30 commercial producers of honey that have no
traces of pollen and lack beneficial vitamins and enzymes among a
host of other natural constituents which are removed due to
pasteurization and processing.
Most golden honey you see at your local
grocery is dead and far from the health promoting powerhouse of its
raw unpasteurized counterpart. Processed honey is not honey at all
and if you desire any kind of health benefits, you must stick to the
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says that any product
thatís been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isnít
honey. However, the FDA isnít checking honey sold in the U.S. to see
if it contains pollen.
Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated,
sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through
extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only
foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey.
It is a spin-off of a technique refined
by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey - some
containing illegal antibiotics - on the U.S. market for years.
Food Safety News decided to test honey
sold in various outlets after its
earlier investigation found U.S. groceries flooded with Indian
honey banned in Europe as unsafe because of contamination with
antibiotics, heavy metal and a total lack of pollen which prevented
tracking its origin.
They purchased more than 60 jars, jugs and plastic bears of honey in
10 states and the District of Columbia.
were analyzed for pollen by Vaughn Bryant, a professor at Texas
A&M University and one of the nationís premier melissopalynologists,
or investigators of pollen in honey.
Bryant, who is director of the
Palynology Research Laboratory, found that among the containers of
honey provided by Food Safety News, 76 percent or more had the
pollen removed including stores such as,
Stop & Shop
Remove the Pollen?
We can only assume to prevent the majority of the public from
obtaining all the benefits found in raw honey.
Removal of all pollen from honey "makes
no sense" and is completely contrary to marketing the highest
quality product possible, Mark Jensen, president of the
American Honey Producers Association, told Food Safety News.
"I donít know of any U.S. producer
that would want to do that. Elimination of all pollen can only
be achieved by ultra-filtering and this filtration process does
nothing but cost money and diminish the quality of the honey,"
"In my judgment, it is pretty safe
to assume that any ultra-filtered honey on store shelves is
Chinese honey and itís even safer to assume that it entered the
country uninspected and in violation of federal law," he added.
With Chinese Honey?
Chinese honey has long had a poor
reputation in the U.S., where - in 2001 - the Federal Trade
Commission imposed stiff import tariffs or taxes to stop the Chinese
from flooding the marketplace with dirt-cheap, heavily subsidized
honey, which was forcing American beekeepers out of business.
To avoid the dumping tariffs, the
Chinese quickly began transshipping honey to several other
countries, then laundering it by switching the color of the shipping
drums, the documents and labels to indicate a bogus but tariff-free
country of origin for the honey.
Most U.S. honey buyers knew about the
Chinese actions because of the sudden availability of lower cost
honey, and little was said.
The FDA - either because of lack of
interest or resources - devoted little effort to inspecting imported
Nevertheless, the agency had occasionally either been told
of, or had stumbled upon, Chinese honey contaminated with
chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics which are
dangerous, even fatal, to a very small percentage of the population.
Mostly, the adulteration went
What's Are Differences Between Raw
Unpasteurized Honey and Pasteurized Processed Golden Honey?
The processing of honey often removes many of the
found in raw honey as it exists in the hive.
Raw honey, for example, contains small
amounts of the same resins found in
propolis. Propolis, sometimes
called "bee glue," is actually a complex mixture of resins and other
substances that honeybees use to seal the hive and make it safe from
bacteria and other micro-organisms.
Honeybees make propolis by combining
plant resins with their own secretions. However, substances like
road tar have also been found in propolis.
Bee keepers sometimes use special screens around the inside of the
hive boxes to trap propolis, since bees will spread this substance
around the honeycomb and seal cracks with the anti-bacterial,
anti-viral, and anti-fungal resins.
The resins found in propolis only
represent a small part of the phytonutrients found in propolis and
honey, however. Other phytonutrients found both in honey and
propolis have been shown to possess cancer-preventing and anti-tumor
These substances include,
Researchers have discovered that these
substances prevent colon cancer in animals by shutting down activity
of two enzymes, phosphatidylinositol-specific
phospholipase C and lipoxygenase.
When raw honey is extensively processed
and heated, the benefits of these phytonutrients are largely
Speakers at the First International Symposium on Honey and Human
Health, presented a number of research papers.
The research was
applied to raw unpasteurized honey and the findings included:
Different varietals of honey
possess a large amount of friendly bacteria (6 species of
lactobacilli and 4 species of bifidobacteria), which may
explain many of the "mysterious therapeutic properties of
Lactobacilli, which deliver
protective and beneficial benefits to bees as well as
humans, were not found in the bees' honey stomach during the
winter months when the bees under investigation were fed
sucrose, indicating that certain bee-feeding practices may
have dangerous and unwanted effects on bees.
BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
Honey may promote better blood
Proper fueling of the liver is
central to optimal glucose metabolism during sleep and
Honey is the ideal liver fuel
because it contains a nearly 1:1 ratio of fructose to
glucose. Fructose "unlocks" the enzyme from the liver cell's
nucleus that is necessary for the incorporation of glucose
into glycogen (the form in which sugar is stored in the
liver and muscle cells).
An adequate glycogen store in
the liver is essential to supply the brain with fuel when we
are sleeping and during prolonged exercise.
When glycogen stores are
insufficient, the brain triggers the release of stress
hormones--adrenalin and cortisol--in order to convert muscle
protein into glucose.
Repeated metabolic stress from
cortisol produced when less than optimal liver glycogen
stores are available during sleep, leads over time, to
impaired glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, diabetes,
and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Experimental evidence indicates
that consumption of honey may improve blood sugar control
and insulin sensitivity compared to other sweeteners.
The body's tolerance to honey is
significantly better than to sucrose or glucose alone.
Individuals with greater glucose intolerance (e.g., those
with mild diabetes and Type 1 diabetes) showed significantly
better tolerance to honey than sucrose.
In addition, the antioxidants in
honey, which have been shown to reduce oxidative stress,
frequently by a larger factor than can be explained by their
actual amount, may be beneficial for diabetics and help to
improve endothelial function (the function of the cells that
make up the lining of our blood vessels) and vascular
In a year-long animal study
comparing the effects of sucrose, honey and a low glycemic
index (GI) sugar-free diet, rats on the honey-based diet
reduced weight gain and
percentage of body fat
improved HDL cholesterol
(15-20% higher than rats fed sugar or sucrose diets)
improved blood sugar
reduced oxidative damage
Honey has been shown to be a
more effective cough suppressant for children ages 2-18 than
dextromethorphan (see study "Effect
of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and No Treatment on Nocturnal
Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children and their
Honey boosts immunity.
Research conducted in several
hospitals in Israel found honey effective in decreasing the
incidence of acute febrile neutropenia (when high fever
reduces white blood cell count) in 64% of patients.
reduced the need for
Colony Stimulating Factor (a compound produced in
the cells lining the blood vessels that stimulate
bone marrow to produce more white blood cells) in
60% of patients with acute febrile neutropenia
count (another type of white blood cell)
thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
levels at >11 gm/dl (a bit low but way better than
full blown anemic)
32% of the cancer patients
involved in the above immunity research reported improved
quality of life.
Several mechanisms have been
proposed for the wound healing benefits that are observed
when raw honey is applied topically.
Because honey is composed mainly
of glucose and fructose, two sugars that strongly attract
water, honey absorbs water in the wound, drying it out so
that the growth of bacteria and fungi is inhibited (these
microorganisms thrive in a moist environment).
Secondly, raw honey contains an
enzyme called glucose oxidase
that, when combined with water, produces hydrogen peroxide,
a mild antiseptic. Previous studies have shown that Manuka
honey decreases the surface pH of wounds (so germs canít
survive) and can help keep bacteria out.
While all honey does contain
anti-bacterial properties, commercial honey is usually
pasteurized and processed, which decreases its beneficial
Manuka honey is special because
it produces a different substance called methylglyoxal,
which has unique antibacterial activity.
One antioxidant absent in
pasteurized honey is
pinocembrin, which is unique to honey and is currently
being studied for its antibacterial properties.
One laboratory study of
unpasteurized honey samples indicated the majority had
antibacterial action against
Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacteria found readily
in our environment that can cause infections, especially in
Other reports indicate honey is
effective at inhibiting
Escherichia coli and
Darker honeys, specifically
honey from buckwheat flowers, sage and tupelo, contain a
greater amount of antioxidants than other honeys, and raw,
unprocessed honey contains the widest variety of
FREE RADICAL PREVENTION
Daily consumption of raw honey
raises blood levels of protective antioxidant compounds in
humans, according to research presented at the 227th meeting
of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, CA, March 28,
Biochemist Heidrun Gross and
colleagues from the University of California, Davis, gave 25
study participants each about four tablespoons buckwheat
honey daily for 29 days in addition to their regular diets,
and drew blood samples at given intervals following honey
A direct link was found between
the subjects' honey consumption and the level of
polyphenolic antioxidants in their blood.
HELPS HIGH CHOLESTEROL
In a series of experiments
involving healthy subjects and those with either high
cholesterol or type 2 diabetes, honey has proved itself the
In healthy subjects, while sugar
and artificial honey had either negative or very small
beneficial effects, natural honey reduced total cholesterol
7%, triglycerides 2%, C-reactive protein 7%, homocysteine 6%
and blood sugar 6%, and increased HDL (good) cholesterol 2%.
(Like C-reactive protein, homocysteine is a significant risk
factor for cardiovascular disease.)
In patients with high
cholesterol, artificial honey increased LDL (bad)
cholesterol, while natural honey decreased total cholesterol
8%, LDL cholesterol 11%, and C-reactive protein 75%.
And in patients with type 2
diabetes, natural honey caused a significantly lower rise in
blood sugar than either dextrose or sucrose (refined
sugars). So, enjoy a little honey in your morning coffee,
lunchtime yogurt or afternoon cup of green tea.
Looks like a daily spoonful of
honey may help your need for medicine go down.
Can You Tell The Difference Between Pure Honey and Artificial Honey?
Inverted sugar solutions and glucose
syrups or corn are often used for
making fake honey, mixing with it, or replacing it entirely.
Another method for falsification of honey is feeding bees with sugar
products. The "innocent" method
of honey falsification is the addition of water (honey containing
more than 25% water, is considered to be falsified)
Worldwide, adulterated honey is
deemed, counterfeiting ranks second among the food industry - the
extra virgin olive oil.
Artificial honey is a food with many shortcomings, representing a
solution of invert sugar syrup, which comes from refined sugar,
which often add other ingredients, generally summarized as: glucose
syrup, dyes, flavors and enhancer
Such a synthetic preparation can be achieved in domestic conditions,
but you need to know it is not healthy.
Artificial honey contains a physical mixture of glucose and fructose
focused elements that have separated from the previous combination,
that of sucrose (sugar).
It is known that both are in high concentrations, even more
dangerous than the original form, crystalline carbohydrates entering
the category of very rapid absorption substances.
Artificial inverted sugar, also called artificial honey, is a syrup,
soluble in water, with sweet taste, resulted from the hydrolysis of
It is widely used in food industry as sweetener, attracting
criticism from many nutritionists and doctors.
4 WAYS TO SPOT ARTIFICIAL HONEY
1. The Thumb Test
Put a drop of the honey on your thumb. If it spreads around right
away or spills, it's not pure. If it stays intact, it's pure.
2. The Water Test
Fill a glass of water and add one tablespoon of "honey" into the
water. Pure honey will lump and settle at bottom of glass.
Adulterated and artificial honey will start dissolving in water.
3. The Shelf Life Test
Pure honey will crystallize over time. Imitation honey will remain
looking like syrup, no matter how long it is stored.
4. Light a Fire
Dip the tip of a matchstick in "honey", and then strike it to light.
Natural honey will light the match easily and the flame will burn
off the honey. Fake honey will not light because of the moisture it