Un-Beelievable! Honey May Be Just As Bad As High Fructose Corn Syrup

Sorry to burst your sweet, clean-eating bubble, but it looks like honey is no better for your body than table sugar or the evil high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), according to a new study in The Journal of Nutrition.

When study participants ate honey every day for two weeks, they had raised triglycerides (which puts them at a higher risk for heart disease), glycemic response (meaning they’re hungry faster), and inflammation levels (which is connected to a higher risk for pretty much every disease). Furthermore, these levels were all just as high as when the same people ate sucrose or HFCS for the same period of time. (Learn Everything You Need to Know About Sugar.)

And if you’re thinking these people must’ve been downing a whole honey bear at once, we’re sorry to say they were consuming a perfectly realistic amount—two tablespoons, which, between tea, yogurt and granola, energy bars, salad dressings, and sauces and marinades, is pretty easy to reach (or surpass). (Real Women Share Their Daily Sugar Intake and Healthy Eating Habits.)

We’re as sad to hear this news as you, but the study was funded in part by the National Honey Board (who we bet is just as sad as both of us!) so the findings are pretty legit.

So what gives? Well, even though honey is an unprocessed sweetener, it’s still an added sugar, says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. Its chemical makeup is majority fructose—the same as articifical sweeteners—so your body doesn’t really differentiate a natural source from table sugar. (Find out more in Is Fructose the Reason You’re Not Losing Weight?)

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 30 grams a day. That doesn’t include sugar from fruit, vegetables, dairy, and grains, which are the real natural sugars and, conveniently, a great and healthy way to get your sweet fix.

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