In this article, we take a look at the question is honey paleo friendly and if it is how much you can eat it on the paleo diet.
To begin let’s first take a brief look at the history of honey and how it was first started getting used by humans.
Humans have been using honey as a natural sweetener and a medical remedy for thousands of years. Our Palaeolithic ancestors more than likely enjoyed the occasional sticky treat from a nearby wild hive. Mastering fire would have given early settlements the ability to smoke out bees and harvest enough honey to last an entire tribe for weeks.
A cave painting discovered in Spain suggests that humans have been beekeeping since as early as 8,000 years ago. Modern archaeologists have even found pots of honey dating back to ancient Egypt that is still perfectly preserved.
Glucose and Fructose
Honey is certainly a food that was available to our ancient ancestors. While honey is technically Paleo-friendly, it should be used sparingly in your daily diet. Honey is high in glucose, but also contains a significant amount of fructose. Our bodies can use glucose as a fuel source for all of our cells, particularly our energy-hungry brain cells. We can also store excess glucose in the form of glycogen so that we’re able to meet our energy needs later on, even if we have don’t have access to food. Fructose, unfortunately, is a different story.
A decent amount of fructose is found in every tablespoon of honey. This sugar can only be metabolized in our livers, much like alcohol or poison, and is not an efficient fuel source. Consuming high levels of fructose will eventually overwork your liver, leading to insulin resistance and fatty liver disease. Too much fructose can eventually lead to some serious health complications such as diabetes, obesity and digestive problems.
Honey as a Health Food
Luckily for the Pooh Bears of us out there, honey isn’t all bad. In addition to fructose and glucose, honey contains other sugars called oligosaccharides that help to feed your gut flora and keep your digestive system running smoothly. Honey has also been shown to increase antioxidant activity in humans and helps to protect your cells from oxidative damage caused by aging. There is even evidence that eating a small amount of honey can help to lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol while raising levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
Honey is perhaps most famous for its role as a natural antibiotic. Long before penicillin, our ancestors were using honey as an antiseptic to prevent open wounds from getting infected. Studies have proven that honey does indeed inhibit bacterial growth at concentrations of between 30% to 100%.
Honey can help us with more than just surface wounds, though. Eating honey has been shown to boost the immune response in rats, presumably by stimulating antibody production. Supplementing our diet with just a small amount of honey can help to keep our immune system in working order.
So is Honey Paleo? Honey and the Paleo Lifestyle
Humans have been enjoying honey since before any existing written records. While honey contains a significant amount of fructose, this doesn’t mean that Paleo followers have to cut it out completely. The health benefits of honey outweigh any potential negative effects when it’s eaten in moderation. Feel free to sweeten up your delicious paleo desserts and snacks with just a tiny spoonful of thick, delicious honey.
While you can buy honey at pretty much any supermarket, you may find that finding raw or organic honey is a bit harder. When you do find it, you will probably see that the price for it is pretty high. If you’re looking to save a dollar or two, then Amazon has honey for a pretty good price. If you’re interested, be sure to check out their range of honey.
As for the answer to the question is honey paleo? Yes, it is.