Winnie the Pooh’s favorite condiment can be used as everyone’s preferred sweetener

Honey is known to be a natural sweetener and warrior against bacteria. Most prefer the natural taste of honey rather than artifical sweeteners.

Melody M. Henderson, senior health education major, said honey fights bacteria, has antioxidants and is good for a sore throat.
“It’s just sort of a better option, in my opinion,” Henderson said, when the alternatives are sweeteners such as sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Henderson said she drinks tea with lemon and honey to make her throat feel better but it still has a lot of sugar and should be consumed in moderation.

People often think it is healthier than sugar but “honey is also a simple carbohydrate so they both react in the body the same way,” said Dr. Melissa Wigginton, assistant professor of health science.

Wigginton said the only difference is that it might take less honey to sweeten a drink than sugar, so it would be better in the sense that less sweetner is being used and honey has health benefits.

Dr. Margaret Barth, professor and program director for Nutrition and Food Sciences, referenced the research of a colleague, Dr. Nicki Engeseth at the University of Illinois. Accor-ding to Engeseth’s research, honey has a small percentage of proteins and has some vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Its properties depends on the floral variety of the honey.

Honey is primarily fructose and glucose sugars, Barth said, but it has a milder impact on blood sugar than cane sugar does, meaning there is less of a peak and less of a drop in energy.

Some honey is found to have antibacterial properties, Barth said, so it is often used as a “wound dressing.” Honey also encourages the growth of skin tissue.

However, Wigginton warned against giving honey to infants and children — especially under 1 year old — because of the risk of botulism, a food-borne illness. Botulism can be deadly to infants.

There is less of a risk if the honey was carefully packaged. “But that’s going to be true with any type of food item, not just honey,” said Wigginton.

Honey has 60 calories per tablespoon, Barth said, but it is more nutritive than sugar. However, whether or not honey should be used as a sweetener is a matter of personal preference.

About Sarah Schopick

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