You’ve heard the debates over whether honey is healthier than sugar. But is honey also suitable for the keto diet?
I’ll argue that yes, honey IS suitable for the keto diet. Read on to see why.
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Honey vs. Sugar: Is Honey Better For You Than Sugar?
We all know that honey and sugar are both full of simple carbohydrates. And honey has a reputation for being healthier than sugar.
But is honey really healthier than sugar?
I would argue that yes, honey is healthier than sugar.
The simple sugars contained in honey are mostly fructose (40%) and glucose (30%), with some maltose (8%) and sucrose (2%) and other sugars (1.5%).
But there’s a LOT more to honey than sugar!
Beneficial Substances in Raw Honey
Honey contains amino acids, which come from the pollen in honey. This is kind of the amazing part! Depending on the variety (which flowers the honeybees got the nectar and pollen from), some honey varieties can have as many as 20 types of amino acids!
Minerals in honey: Sodium, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Chromium, and Zinc.
Vitamins found in honey: Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), Folic Acid (B9), Ascorbic Acid (C), and Phyllochinon (K).
Raw honey contains important antioxidants. These antioxidants are: catalase, chrysin, pinobanksin, pinocembrin, and vitamin C.
Beneficial enzymes in honey: Invertase, Glucose Oxidase, and Diastase (Amylase).
Honey has antimicrobial properties. In fact, it’s considered a broad spectrum antibiotic!
Honey is also recognized as a prebiotic.
Honey helps with allergies. I’ve heard more than once of doctors prescribing LOCAL RAW honey for people with allergies–so neat!
Raw honey is kind of amazing!
Keep in mind, there are tons of factors that may slightly change the makeup of individual honey types, including the type of flower that’s the source of the honey, the type of bee, climate, etc.
Also, when honey is heated or processed in any way, a lot of these beneficial properties are destroyed. The darker the honey, the more antioxidants.
I won’t give you a full explanation here, but if you’d like to know more about why I haven’t completely tossed honey out, read my article on the types of keto diets.
I’m going to repeat myself: you will not stay in ketosis if you’re guzzling honey daily.
A small amount for most people is fine, though. But you know your body better than I do! So make your own educated decision.
What do I mean by a small amount? I have one recipe on my site that uses one tablespoon for a whole “noatmeal” creme brulee.
That’s about 3 grams of sugar from the honey per serving. Not bad. (7.7 grams total carbs per serving.)
Good Carb Bad Carb: Where Honey Stands
What we REALLY want to know is, are the carbs in sugar or the carbs in honey better for you?
Do our bodies process honey the same as honey? And will I gain more weight from eating honey or eating sugar?
We all know that excess glucose gets stored as fat. That’s basic Keto 101.
Processed sugar has about 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
As I explained earlier, only 30% of honey is glucose, 40% is fructose, and the rest is more complex sugars.
Most of the sugars in honey are harder to break down than glucose and just don’t get stored as fat as easily.
You’re using up more calories just breaking down the sugars in honey because it takes more energy to break down more complex sugars.
And that means accumulating less calories and less weight.
Please keep in mind, I am NOT a medical professional. Most of the research I do is because I am curious and seek out the answers for myself from credible sources. So everything in this post may not be truth for YOU.
And from time to time, I even grab a fingertip-full when I’m feeling low. Just a taste on the tip of my tongue is enough to help a craving or give me a pick-me-up.
As long as I’m exercising and eating right, it won’t kick me out of ketosis!
So you decide. Honey on ketogenic diet or not?
Call me a rebel, but I’m not giving it up anytime soon!
So, Which Honey Should I Choose on Keto?
If you’re going to use honey (sparingly) on the keto diet, make sure it’s the raw kind. Otherwise you’re missing out on the important health benefits of natural honey.
Then it would be kind of like eating sugar liquid. Processed honey is definitely a different product from raw honey.
If you’re still iffy on using honey on the keto diet, try an imitation honey or honey substitute for a sugar free or low carb option! They do exist!
Get your FREE Printable Keto Foods Grocery List! It’s an easy reference when you need it!
I’ll give you a couple options below.
Fair warning: I have not tried any of these yet! I’ve purchased these honey alternatives to start doing some experimenting (and will be experimenting with others, too), and I’ll update this post and probably write another one just for honey subs when I’m done. If you want to try them out, just click on the photos and it will take you to a link to purchase.
Disclosure: Keen for Keto is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. This is at no extra cost to you; your support is VERY much appreciated!!
Honey Tree is a sugar free imitation honey sweetened with maltitol, a sugar alcohol. Many people don’t count sugar alcohols in their carb allowance because it doesn’t affect their ability to stay in ketosis.