Today’s Superhuman Food Pyramid topic is about regular honey and how it can be bad for you. There is a previous article that discussed both the health benefits and risks of raw pollinated honey. It is important to make a distinction between these two broad classes of honey.
Regular honey as used here refers to the commercial kind which is widely distributed in grocery stores. The main difference between raw and regular is that the latter underwent heat treatment or pasteurization. Just like in milk, the purpose is to kill possibly harmful microorganisms and make the honey safer for general consumption.
This process of cleaning up the honey has a trade-off however. It makes the honey far less nutritious and beneficial. The antioxidant and antibacterial properties of raw honey are present because it is mostly left unprocessed.
Read on to find out more about the negative effects of regular honey…
Regular Honey Health Risks
The general advantage of raw food over processed products is that it still contains a lot of the active enzymes that your body needs. Processed food typically just contains highly refined carbohydrates. All those nutrient substances that honey boasts like B-complex vitamins get broken down or evaporated after the pasteurization process. What remains unfortunately is a syrupy liquid that’s mostly composed of sugar compounds.
Sugar is found in natural food but in such sources it comes with enzymes that, among other beneficial functions, actually help your body digest the complex carbohydrates. Consuming food products with refined ingredients like regular honey only makes your body work harder because it has use up its own resources.
The confusing thing about the supposed need to pasteurize honey is that this food in its raw natural state is not a very conducive venue for microorganisms to thrive in. Honey was in fact used to treat wounds because of its antiseptic properties.
Perhaps the most commonly known microbial threat that comes with honey is Clostridium botulinum. Dormant spores can turn active in an infant’s underdeveloped digestive system. An adult’s intestines however are usually more than capable of handling this bacterium. The risk can be easily managed by simply not giving any raw honey to 1 year old children and younger. Is this enough reason to also wipe out all the good vitamins and minerals with heat?
Another effect that high temperatures seem to have on honey and sugary foods in general is that it increases the amount of a particular substance called hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). It’s hardly present in fresh food but processed ones that undergo heat treatment have it in varying amounts depending on the amount of heat applied. Usually the higher the temperature, the more HMF is found.
Initial research on the substance shows that it can potentially damage DNA. HMF is also found in high fructose corn syrup. Since this sweetener is also used to feed honey bees, HMF has been identified as one of the possible toxins that are killing off honey bees.
In the next post, I’ll tell you about the negative effects of agave syrup and why you should avoid it to succeed in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the herbs, spices and sweeteners on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
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