Honey has been called liquid gold as it is one of nature’s sweetest gifts.
Moreover, honey is also one of nature’s purest foods. It is called by the nutritionists functional food, which means it is all-natural product with a large number of health benefits.
It is a fact that raw and un-pasteurized honey contains a whopping 22 amino acids, as well as 27 minerals, like zinc, magnesium, iron, selenium, calcium, and potassium. Honey is an excellent source of vitamins, such as vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.
Some nutritional live digestive enzymes, like catalase, diastase, glucose oxidase, invertase, acid phosphatase, and inulase are found in honey. It is also abundant in antioxidants.
Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Well, not really as not all honey is the same.
Actually, most of the honey types you purchase at your local supermarket is not any healthier than the white sugar, particularly cheap honey. Plus, much of it is likely produced in China where health and safety regulations are lax as well as in many cases, non-existent.
The history of honey
Honey is an ancient delicacy that has been used for centuries as a sweetener and healing agent, too. That’s not all, there are more than 4,000 years of recorded honey usage as a medicinal agent.
The benefits of this golden treat was also touted by the ancient philosophers Aristotle and Aristoxenus.
Also, the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, used honey as the foundation for most of his medicinals.
The production of honey also grew in places like ancient Greece and Sicily since its healing properties became more widely known.
Nowadays, after processing and pasteurization of the honey, little, if any healing value is left in the supermarket variety honeys.
The FDA reports, the food safety divisions of the European Commission and the World Health Organization and also a lot of other regulating bodies concluded that honey have to include pollen in order to be considered as real.
Unluckily, most, if not all, of the commercial honeys found in supermarkets are ultra-filtered, i.e., a process, involving heating the honey to high temperatures that destroys any beneficial nutrients and enzymes, adding water to dilute it, and filtering it with high pressure technology to eliminate any pollen.
A professor at Texas A&M University, Vaughn Bryant, who is also a renowned melissopalynologist, actually tested 60 honey brands from 10 states and the District of Columbia.
The results of the study were reported by Food Safety News, proving that 76% of the honeys sold in supermarkets had all of the pollen removed, thus leaving their exact origins untraceable.
What’s even worse, 100% of the honey types that are sold at drugstores and honey packaged in the single serving portions don’t contain any pollen.
He also determined that 77% of the honey tested from big-box stores, such as Costco and Walmart, had a lack of pollen.
In addition, the American Honey Producers Association’s president, Mark Jensen, pointed out that the honey that is ultra-filtered is suspect.
Bear in mind, the only reason for filtering out the pollen is to hide where it actually comes from. Furthermore, most of the laundered honey comes from China, according to reputable honey producers.
But, 208 million pounds of honey was imported by the US alone from 2009- 2011. According to Food Safety News, 60% of this honey came from some Asian countries, which are traditional laundering points for Chinese honey.
And usually, these honey types are made from a concoction of cane, rice syrup, corn or beet sugar, or numerous other sweetening agents since it is easier, faster and cheaper than real honey.
The study also analyzed honey packaged in Greece, Italy, Hungary, New Zealand and Tasmania in order to get a clearer idea of where the fake honeys come from. It was concluded that honey from all of these countries, except Greece, contained plenty of beneficial pollen.
However, there are some simple ways to avoid spending your money on these counterfeit honey types.
Here is how to recognize cheap, knock-off honey:
- It is advisable to read the label. In case it contains added glucose or high fructose corn syrup, then it is not real honey.
- Taste the honey. In case you can taste things such as flowers or herbs, it’s real honey. Remember, fake honey is just sweet, and has a smidgen of honey-like flavor.
- Add several vinegar drops into a mixture of water and honey. If it foams up, the honey has been adulterated with plaster!
- Put a little bit of the honey on your thumb. If it spreads, it is not pure as pure honey will stay in one place.
- In case the honey does not crystallize over time, it is most probably ultra-filtered because pure honey will crystallize when kept in a fridge or over time.
- On the end of a matchstick, place a dab of honey and light it. It is pure honey if it ignites.
- Add several drops of iodine to a glass of water and add some honey in it. In case the honey turns blue, it has been mixed with corn starch and is not real honey.
- Add a spoon of honey in a glass of water. In case it dissolves, it is fake. Keep in mind pure honey will not dissolve in water, but it will sink to the bottom of the glass.
In order to give you a little more insight, here are the results of honey brands that do not contain pollen and should be avoided:
These honey brands tested positive for ultra-filtration
- Naturally Preferred Fireweed Honey
- Giant Eagle Clover Honey
- Market Pantry Pure Honey
- Fred Meyer Clover Honey
- Thrifty Bee Honey
- Archer Farms Orange Blossom Honey
- GE Clover Honey
- Safeway Clover Honey
- Busy Bee Organic Honey
- Walgreen MEL-O honey
- HT Traders Tupelo Honey
- CVS Honey
- Mel-o 100 % Pure Honey
- Sue Bee Clover Honey
- American Choice Clover Honey
- Winnie the Pooh, Pure Clover
- Great Value, Clover Honey
- Stop and Shop Clove Honey
- Full Circle Pure Honey
- Wegman Clover Honey
- Natural Sue Bee Clover Honey
- Haggen Honey, Natural & Pure
- Archer Farms Organic Classic Honey
- Rite Aid Honey
- Busy Bee, Pure Clover Honey
- Silver Bow Pure Honey
- Kroger Pure Clover Honey
- Western Family Clover Honey
- Valutime Honey