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I received this question from one of our readers:

“Dear Bev:  I am a diabetic.  What are the effects of honey and cinnamon on diabetes?  Can people with diabetes eat honey?”

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Most of you now know the amazing benefits of honey.  But diabetics must remember that honey does contain carbohydrates (about 17 grams), and if taken in large amounts it can increase blood sugar levels.  So it should be used in moderation.  For most diabetics, honey consumption in moderation should be fine.  Honey is also much sweeter than sugar (about 3  times sweeter), you really don’t need to use as much honey as a sweetener. Also, honey does not raise sugar levels as quickly as sugar does.

Keep in mind that honey is much more superior than sugar nutritionally. It contains vitamins, enzymes, and minerals.   The good news is that many studies have shown that pure, raw honey is a healthier choice for diabetics than sugar or other sweeteners.

If you decide to use honey in your diet, to be safe, check with your doctor first.  And be sure to buy raw, pure honey.  You don’t want to buy inferior honey that is loaded with corn syrup or other fillers and chemicals. Also, certain types of honey are better for controlling blood sugar level such as alfalfa honey.

Let’s discuss cinnamon for a minute. It has the ability to boost insulin activity approximately 20 fold, and this greatly improves blood sugar regulation –  good news for diabetics!

When you eat cinnamon, it will slow the emptying of your stomach. This will reduce sharp rises in blood sugar following meals, and improves the effectiveness of insulin.  Cinnamon also improves circulation in the body with blood thinning compounds.  So, adding cinnamon to your diet is inexpensive and safe.

What is the safest cinnamon to consume?

The two major types of cinnamons are Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon, native to Sri Lanka, is not what you typically find in your grocery store.  The less expensive Cassia cinnamon is what you will find.  Ceylon cinnamon has a better quality because it is more delicate and has a sweeter flavor.  Also, Cassia cinnamon, in high doses can cause problems with your liver.  So, if you are going to take cinnamon regularly, opt for Ceylon cinnamon.  It is a bit more pricey but well worth the price.

So back to our question – “Can people with diabetes eat honey?”  The cinnamon and honey combination should be a blessing to most diabetics, but like I mentioned earlier, use with caution, check its effect on your blood sugar and communicate with your doctor if you have any questions.

 

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