Honey: benefit or harm?

Honey is a favorite delicacy in the history of humankind. We use it as an alternative to sugar, rely on its healing properties during the cold season, and look for it on the shelves of shops and farm shops. But is this product really that useful? We talk about the main properties of honey from the point of view of science and share several useful recipes that will help diversify the diet.

Useful properties of honey

It may seem that honey is a remedy for all diseases. It is enough to look into one of the books of traditional medicine to find out that the composition bees produce from the nectar of flowering plants treats everything and everyone: from dysentery to peptic ulcer. However, evidence-based medicine treats honey with more caution. Some studies confirm that honey: 

  • reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease;
  • relieves cough, especially citrus and eucalyptus honey;
  • used in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, for example, can relieve diarrhea associated with gastroenteritis or effective as part of oral rehydration;
  • has an antidepressant, anticonvulsant and sedative effect;
  • Promotes wound healing, especially with burns [1].

At the same time, it is not worth trusting 100% and replacing medicines with honey in case of serious illnesses. If only because there are no standardized methods for producing honey or checking its quality.

Honey: benefit or harm?

Can honey hurt?

Honey is not a “healthier” alternative to refined white sugar [2]. It is converted into glucose in the same way. At the same time, it is sweeter than sugar, and the calorie content of honey is higher. You know the risks of sugar abuse: obesity, and diseases associated with a high body mass index: cardiovascular, type II diabetes, and so on [3].

And honey is a common allergen due to bee pollen in its composition. In rare cases, this can cause serious and sometimes fatal side effects. Signs and symptoms include:

  • wheezing and other asthma symptoms;
  • dizziness;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • weakness;
  • excessive sweating;
  • heart rhythm disturbances;
  • burning after topical application.

Also, do not give honey to children with a subtle foreign taste. It can cause a rare but serious gastrointestinal illness (baby botulism) caused by exposure to Clostridium botulinum spores. Bacteria can grow and multiply in a child’s intestines, producing a dangerous toxin [1].

So, honey, like almost any product, should not be abused. But here, it is possible to diversify the diet with its help.

Recipes with honey for those who want to eat varied

Salmon in Asian honey sauce

(per 100 g: proteins 25 g; fats 32.3 g; carbohydrates 11 g; 380 kcal)

What do you need:

  • Seven – 200 g
  • soy sauce – 4 tbsp. l.
  • honey – 1 tbsp. l.
  • ground chili pepper – to taste
  • garlic – 2 cloves
  • olive oil – 2 tbsp. l.
  • pepper mix – to taste
  • sesame – to taste
Honey: benefit or harm?

How to cook:

Pass the garlic through a press. Clean the fish and remove the bones. Mix sauce, honey, and spices for the marinade, except sesame seeds. Lay the fish pieces skin side up and leave for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 230 degrees. Turn the fish skin side down, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and send to bake with the marinade for 12-15 minutes.

Sauce with honey and blue cheese 

(per 100 g: proteins 21.4 g; fats 38.5 g; carbohydrates 34 g; 384 kcal) 

What do you need:

  • Olive oil – ½ tbsp.
  • Blue cheese – 50 g
  • honey – 2 h. l.
  • apple cider vinegar – ½ tsp
  • lemon juice – 2 tbsp. l.
  • garlic – 2 cloves
  • soy sauce – ½ tsp
  • mustard – ½ tsp.
Sauce with honey and blue cheese 

How to cook:

Whisk all ingredients in a blender. Send the mixture to the refrigerator for five hours. Suitable for fish, as a dressing for salads, side dishes, and Mediterranean dishes.

Pumpkin in Korean

(per 100 g: proteins 1.4 g; fats 2.8 g; carbohydrates 7.7 g; 48 kcal)

What do you need:

  • Pumpkin – 400 g
  • honey – 2 tbsp. l.
  • onion – 1 pc.
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • chili pepper – ⅓ pod
  • sunflower oil – 50 ml
  • more Korean carrot seasoning — 2 tsp.
  • Apple cider vinegar – 2 tbsp. l.
  • sol — ½ h. l.
Honey: benefit or harm?

How to cook:

Wash the pumpkin and remove the peel, insides, and seeds. Peel the onion, cut it into thin half rings, and fry in vegetable oil until soft. Grate the pumpkin on a Korean vegetable grater. Put the fried onions into the slices. Add spices, vinegar, honey, salt, garlic, and hot pepper. Pour hot oil from the frying onions. Mix and refrigerate for two hours. 

Honey biscuits

(per 100 g: proteins 5.9 g; fats 15.7 g; carbohydrates 56.8 g; 389 kcal)

What do you need:

  • Honey – 3 tbsp. l. 
  • milk – ¼ tbsp.
  • egg – 1 pc.
  • sugar – ½ tbsp.
  • butter – 80 g
  • soda – 1 tsp 
  • flour – 3 tbsp.
Honey biscuits

How to cook:

Mix the ingredients, except flour, and put in a water bath. Cook until the mass becomes darker. Cool and add flour until the dough is of a dough-like consistency. Roll out the dough, cut out cookies using molds or glass, and bake for five to seven minutes in an oven preheated to 150 degrees.

Honey and grapefruit whipped cream

(per 100 g: proteins 0.9 g; fats 0.6 g; carbohydrates 6.3 g; 58 kcal)

What do you need:

  • Grapefruit – 2 pcs.
  • Honey – 3 h. l. 
  • carnation — 2 buttons 
  • cinnamon sticks for serving
  • mint – 3 sprigs
Honey: benefit or harm?

How to cook:

Squeeze juice from grapefruits (reserve two or three slices for serving). Pour 300 ml of water into a saucepan, add cloves and cinnamon, and boil over high heat. Reduce heat, put honey and mint, and cook for two to three minutes. Strain the broth, add grapefruit juice, stir, and pour into cups. Serve hot or warm, garnished with grapefruit slices and cinnamon sticks.


  1. Honey / Mayo clinic.
  2. Are natural sugar alternatives healthier / Harvard Health Publishing.
  3. WHO urges global action to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and reduce their health impact / WHO.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button