Is Manuka Honey suitable for people with diabetes?
Honey is a natural sweetener and a healthy substitute for refined sugar. But is it safe for people with diabetes?
Individuals who have diabetes must control their sugar and carbohydrate intake to avoid any spikes in their blood sugar levels. Although honey is natural, it is still 80% of carbohydrates and contains more calories per teaspoon than sugar.
However, does that mean people with diabetes should avoid honey altogether? Let’s look at what honey does to blood sugar levels.
How does honey affect diabetes?
There are few studies that show that honey may be useful for Type 2 diabetes and may act as an antidiabetic agent. Other studies have indicated that consuming honey can increase insulin levels, thus controlling blood sugar levels.
Researchers have also found that honey has a lower glycaemic effect compared to sugar, on people with type 1 diabetes and also on those without diabetes. In other words, it is less likely to raise blood sugar levels.
Even though studies suggest that honey may be beneficial for people with diabetes, there is no conclusive research that supports honey for diabetes prevention and control.
What about Manuka honey?
All honey contains antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have noted that honey may reduce inflammation that occurs in diabetes and other metabolic conditions, and is useful in healing wounds.
Manuka honey has stronger antibacterial properties that set it apart from other types of honey, which is probably why it is more effective in wound healing. Manuka honey has been shown to enhance wound healing and improve the regeneration of tissue.
In fact, in 2007, the US FDA approved Manuka honey as an option for wound treatment.
Manuka honey benefits for diabetes
One complication that affects people with diabetes is foot ulcers, which takes a long time to heal. Of those affected, about 6% of the people are hospitalised because of infections and other related problems.
Here is where Manuka honey is useful. The application of Manuka honey to diabetic ulcers has proved effective in healing when used with conventional treatment. Studies also show that Manuka honey reduces healing time for diabetic foot ulcers.
Besides ulcers, diabetes can also cause other skin conditions like bacterial infections, diabetic dermopathy, fungal infections, athlete’s foot, blisters, dry skin, bunions, and corns.
Are there any risks of eating Manuka honey if you have diabetes?
Even though Manuka honey has powerful anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti- inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, it can still increase your blood sugar levels.
Manuka honey falls within the medium Glycaemic Index (GI) range and individuals with diabetes should not be consume it regularly.
However, if you take Manuka honey as a substitute for sugar, then make sure you have only a little. It is recommended to test your blood sugar levels afterwards to monitor any spikes.
More suitable types of honey for people with diabetes are those with a lower GI level, such as Iron Bark honey and Yellow Box Honey. But again, they need to be consumed in moderation.
It is highly recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider before adding Manuka honey or any other honey to your diet.