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Everything Your Wanted To Know About Honey

Honey is essentially a highly concentrated water solution of two sugars, fructose and glucose, with small amounts of at least 22 other more complex sugars. Many other substances also occur in honey, but the sugars are by far the major components. Honey provides 64 calories in a serving of one tablespoon (15 ml) equivalent to 1272 kJ per 100 g.

Composition of honey

Mixed floral honey from several United States regions typically contains:

  • Fructose: 38.2%
  • Glucose: 31.3%
  • Maltose: 7.1%
  • Sucrose: 1.3%
  • Water: 17.2%
  • Higher sugars: 1.5%
  • Ash: 0.2%
  • Other/undetermined: 3.2%

We can see that this can vary considerably, and globally. A 2013 study of 20 different honeys from Germany found:

  • Fructose: 28% to 41%
  • Glucose: 22% to 35%

So, hHoney is composed primarily of fructose and glucose but also contains fructo-oligosaccharides (1) .Sugar accounts for 95–99% of honey dry matter.

Honey also contains many amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes (2). The composition of honey varies depending on the plants on which the bees forgae. Almost all natural honey contains flavonoides (such as apigenin, pinocembrin, kaempferol, quercetin, galangin, chrysin and hesperetin), phenolic acids (such as ellagic, caffeic, p-coumaric and ferulic acids), ascorbic acid, tocopherols, catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), reduced glutathione (GSH), Millard reaction products and peptides.

Color

The color in liquid honey varies from clear and colorless (like water) to dark amber or black. The various honey colors are basically all shades of yellow and amber. Color varies with botanical origin, age, and storage conditions, but transparency or clarity depends on the amount of suspended particles such as pollen (24). Less common honey colors are bright yellow (sunflower), reddish undertones (chest nut), grayish (eucalyptus) and greenish (honeydew).

Crystalization of Honey

Honey crystallization results from the formation of monohydrate glucose crystals, which vary in number, shape, dimension, and quality with the honey composition and storage conditions. The lower the water and the higher the glucose content of honey, the faster the crystallization. Once crystallized, honey turns lighter in color because the glucose crystals are white.

Honey is not for infants!

Never Give Honey to an Infant, under 1 year old. Botulism bacteria are present in honey naturally,  and while this is harmless to adults, and children over 1 year old, Infants do not have a developed immune system to defend against infection. ANd although it is extremely rare, the infection can cause a paralytic disorder in which the infant must be given anti-toxins and often be placed on a respirator in an intensive care unit,
Cereals that contain honey are ok because they are cooked.

Health and Medical Benefits of Honey

Honey has been reported to have an inhibitory effect on around 60 species of bacteria, some species of fungi and viruses. See this page for an examination of medical benefits to honey.

Antioxidant capacity of honey is another psoitive effect of honey c onsumption, along with helping in reducing symptopms of local allgergans. See this page for more information.

 

 

Nutrient Unit Value units per cup (339 g) per tbsp (21 g) per tbsp (21 g) per packet (0.5 oz)
( or 14 g)
Water g 17.10 57.97 3.59 2.39
Energy kcal 304 1031 64 43
Protein g 0.30 1.02 0.06 0.04
Total lipid (fat) g 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Carbohydrate, by difference g 82.40 279.34 17.30 11.54
Fiber, total dietary g 0.2 0.7 0.0 0.0
Sugars, total g 82.12 278.39 17.25 11.50
Minerals
Calcium, Ca mg 6 20 1 1
Iron, Fe mg 0.42 1.42 0.09 0.06
Magnesium, Mg mg 2 7 0 0
Phosphorus, P mg 4 14 1 1
Potassium, K mg 52 176 11 7
Sodium, Na mg 4 14 1 1
Zinc, Zn mg 0.22 0.75 0.05 0.03
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 0.5 1.7 0.1 0.1
Thiamin mg 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Riboflavin mg 0.038 0.129 0.008 0.005
Niacin mg 0.121 0.410 0.025 0.017
Vitamin B-6 mg 0.024 0.081 0.005 0.003
Folate, DFE µg 2 7 0 0
Vitamin B-12 µg 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Vitamin A, RAE µg 0 0 0 0
Vitamin A, IU IU 0 0 0 0
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) mg 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) µg 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Vitamin D IU 0 0 0 0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) µg 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturated g 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated g 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated g 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Cholesterol mg 0 0 0 0

 

References

  1. NIH
  2. USDA -- Honey Composition and Properties