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Reducing cholesterol – honey could provide the sweet spot

Posted on the 28th November 2022

Honey Cholesterol Levels

Consuming two tablespoons of honey can help balance blood sugar and reduce cholesterol levels, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that honey improves key measures of cardiometabolic health, including blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

The study showed that replacing added sweeteners in the diet – such as sugar in tea – with honey can lower the risks of illnesses associated with eating too much sugar, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Scientists analyzed the results of 18 trials including more than 1,100 participants and found that raw honey from a single floral source had the most positive effect on the body.

All participants in the study followed a generally healthy diet, and sugar accounted for 10 per cent or less of their daily caloric intake.

Participants were given an average of 40 grams, or about two tablespoons of honey, daily over the course of eight weeks.

Most of the benefits were observed in people who consumed raw honey, from False Acacia or Black Locust trees. However, the honey lost many of its health benefits after it was heated above 65 degrees Celsius.

Previous research has shown that honey can improve cardiometabolic health, especially in in-vitro and animal studies. However, the current study is the most comprehensive review to date of clinical trials, and it includes the most detailed data on processing and floral source.

Tauseef Khan, a senior researcher at the University’s Faculty of Medicine, said the results were surprising because honey “is about 80 per cent sugar.”

“But honey is also a complex composition of common and rare sugars, proteins, organic acids and other bioactive compounds that very likely have health benefits.

“We’re not saying you should start having honey if you currently avoid sugar,” he added.

“The takeaway is more about replacement – if you’re using table sugar, syrup or another sweetener, switching those sugars for honey might lower cardiometabolic risks.”

Related: Could an injection ‘silence’ high cholesterol?

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