Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Honey Bad For You?



Short answer

Most of the honey you buy in stores has zero benefits and poses the same health risks as refined sugar does. However, if you get your honey locally, there are a few associated health benefits.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Honey is about 55% fructose and can actually pose all of the same health risks table sugar does. In addition to putting you at a higher risk for obesity, heart disease, and other sugar-related illnesses, honey actually contains more calories than refined sugar (one teaspoon of honey having about 22 calories). Also, honey even in its raw, unrefined state contains only trace vitamins and minerals, with just about 2% of the stuff including them. So, as a food, honey may be only slightly better than regular refined sugar.

However, apart from a lack of nutritional benefits, locally produced honey does have other uses that refined sugar simply does not. For one, honey has long been used as a cough suppressant. This works because honey produces a protective coating that soothes the throat. Honey has also been used to treat wounds as it is full of antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-fungal properties. Two other uses for honey may be for reducing herpes symptoms and for increasing immunity to allergies. In the last example, pollen contains allergens and when consuming locally produced honey, very small amounts of these allergens are introduced into your system, thus leading to increased immunity in the long-term.

However, don't go rushing to buy honey for these wonderful medical benefits. These only come into play if you are buying locally produced honey. With over 75% of the honey sold in American supermarkets being highly processed, chances are all of these benefits have been eliminated, leaving you basically with nothing but sugar. One caveat about honey - there is a risk of infant botulism involved, so it is best to not give to children under one year old.

Possible long-term side effects

  • heart disease
  • obesity
  • hyperglycemia
  • diabetes

Ingredients to be aware of

  • excessive amounts of fructose


  • cough suppressant
  • treats wounds
  • may fight herpes symptoms
  • may increase allergy immunity

Healthier alternatives

  • pure maple syrup
  • coconut nectar

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Wedderspoon Manuka Honey

  • Raw, premium quality
  • High KFactor 16
  • Unpasteurized purity
  • New Zealand origin
  • Traceable sourcing
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 12-28-2015
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 12-28-2015
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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