Honey Glycemic Index - Is Honey Bad for Diabetics?

While Manuka honey is considered to be a superfood, it is important to understand that its many health benefits might affect people differently, especially if there are any health concerns involved. Individuals who have diabetes for example are likely to look at the sugars found in Manuka honey differently than someone who doesn’t have diabetes. Thankfully tools like the glycemic index exist, and anyone who needs (or wants) to monitor their sugar intake can see what number is associated with various foods. If you want to know more about the glycemic index, and whether or not honey is safe for diabetics, then keep on reading.

Kiva Manuka Honey UMF 20+

The Glycemic Index

In order to understand Manuka honey and whether or not it is recommended for diabetics, it is important to understand the Glycemic Index associated with this product. The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system that ranges from 1-100, and is assigned based on how different foods that contain carbohydrates will affect blood sugar levels. In short, the higher the GI number, the higher likelihood of that particular food raising blood sugar levels.

Using the glycemic index is particularly useful for individuals with diabetes, because it is extremely important for them to monitor their blood sugar levels. One downfall to consider is that the GI doesn’t necessarily account for the quantity of food consumed. 

The Glycemic Index

  • Low: Less than 55
  • Moderate: 56-69
  • High: 70 and above

Where Does Manuka Honey Fall on the Index?

The glycemic index of Manuka honey is 57. While it does fall in the moderate range, it is on the lower end of this scale, making it a more suitable choice for diabetics, especially compared to refined sugar which typically has a GI rating of 65. While consuming Manuka honey might not raise your blood sugar levels as much as other sweeteners might, you can still expect there to be a spike.

Other Honey

Honey is made up of two different sugars, fructose and glucose. Fructose has a glycemic index of 23, whereas glucose has a glycemic index of 100 which is the highest number on the index. On average honey has a glycemic index of 58, but it can range from as low as 35 to as high as 75 depending on its source. The vast majority of honey, including Manuka honey, have nearly the same GI, but Manuka honey has other added health benefits that regular honey does not.

Is Honey Bad for Diabetics?

The question everyone wants answered is, is honey safe for people with diabetes? The short answer is yes, but there are a few factors and things to consider before reaching into your cabinet and pulling your Kiva Manuka honey out. Diabetics are often told that they should completely avoid sweet foods because they can cause a spike in the blood sugar levels, but of course there can be exceptions to this recommendation. An important thing to note is that Manuka honey is sweeter than table sugar, therefore if a diabetic chooses to use honey as their sweetener of choice they are able to use a smaller amount, while still getting the same sweet taste they might desire. Since Manuka honey (and all other honey) is a source of sugar and carbohydrates, it is only natural that your blood sugar will be affected in some way. When consumed in moderation and in smaller serving sizes, Manuka honey is typically a safe option for people with diabetes, but with that being said anyone with diabetes should always consult their healthcare provider before consuming any amounts of sugar, and find a range that is safe for them personally.

Manuka Honey Benefits for Diabetics

By this point, it is clear that consuming various types of sugars and sweeteners can cause a diabetic to experience increased blood sugar levels, which is a main concern associated with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. For those that want to add a little sweetness to their day, Manuka honey’s rating on the glycemic index makes it a more favorable choice for adding to foods and beverages.

Manuka honey is well known in (and beyond) the health food world due to the many health benefits associated with the product. Here are a few potential benefits associated with Manuka honey and diabetes.

Aids in Wound Healing

Long before Manuka honey became the well-known superfood it is today, there have been people from different cultures who were using it medicinally, thanks to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Some research suggests that Manuka honey might be more effective on treating diabetic wounds, versus “regular” wounds.

Suffering from diabetic foot ulcers is a common complication for diabetics, but Manuka honey has been known to help treat and heal this painful condition when used topically.

Methylglyoxal (MGO) is an organic compound responsible for the Manuka honey’s antimicrobial properties. The higher the MGO rating on the label of Kiva Manuka Honey, the more pure and potent you can expect your product to be. 

Wound healing with Manuka Honey

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

People with diabetes are at a greater risk for experiencing chronic inflammation. An associated risk to inflammation is insulin resistance, which can be extremely dangerous for diabetics. Manuka honey contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce diabetes related complications 

Affects the Production of Insulin

To put it simply, diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce insulin, or the insulin it does produce isn’t effective. Some research has found that consuming Manuka honey can actually increase insulin production. Manuka honey can cause C-Peptide levels to rise which is indicative of insulin production, thus making this golden sweetener a safer option for diabetics who closely follow the glycemic index.

Kiva Health Food 

When it comes to all the honey available on the market, they are not all created equal and therefore might not be a suitable option for diabetics. Some manufacturers unfortunately add sugars or syrups to their honey which results in a product that is not only not pure, but it is also not reliable when it comes to getting an accurate rating from the honey glycemic index.

In an instance where the individual's diabetes is well-managed and they are looking to add a sweetener into their diet, choosing an organic, raw, and unaltered honey is always the best choice. By shopping for Manuka honey at Kiva Health Food, the consumer can always rest assured that the product they are purchasing is raw, organic, and never has any additives or preservatives.

Final Thoughts

The general consensus is that Manuka honey is safe for diabetics, but it is important to understand that every person is different, especially when it comes to the type of diabetes, and the duration the person has had the disease. The honey glycemic index indicates that this form of sweetener falls into the moderate range, making it a better choice than reaching for table sugar or different types of honey. Manuka honey is a unique product for diabetics to have on hand because it not only can be used in food and drinks, but it can also be used topically. If you are diabetic, or know someone who is, make sure to always buy your Manuka honey from a trusted provider. Kiva’s Manuka honey is UMF certified, MGO certified, and can be traced from hive to jar. Subscribe, save, and enjoy your Manuka honey starting today. 

About the Author: Katie is a freelance writer from Denver, Colorado. In 2020 she became a Certified Holistic Nutritionist through AFPA, and loves to share her passion for health, wellness, and living a healthy lifestyle with others. You can find more of her articles at PopNourish.com