I have nothing against artificial sweeteners. I just love honey
Sure, honey contains a few more calories, but the trade-off is well worth it when you consider the benefits that come with natural honey.
For one, there’s the flavour. It’s much more complex than the sterile sweetness you get with sweeteners. As the bees go from plant to plant, flower to flower, the nectar they collect from each one carries specific compounds that give the resulting honey a rich and diverse flavour profile.
Honey is also linked with many health benefits. It promotes sleep, supports digestion, and it's an amazing source of antioxidants. It’s so much more than ‘just sugar’, it contains essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and serves as a natural prebiotic. Whilst I don't believe sweeteners are awful for you, there are reports about some being carcinogenic and do we really know the long term risks of consuming them every day?
Broadly speaking, there are two types of honey. Polyfloral and monofloral. Polyfloral comes from bees that harvest nectar from a wide range of plants, giving the honey an even and rounded flavour. Monofloral comes from bees that spend most of their time harvesting honey from one particular species of plant. As a result, this honey carries specific flavour, aromatic and even medicinal qualities of the plant the nectar comes from. For example, monofloral lavender honey is light in colour, naturally relaxing, and actually tastes like lavender! Whereas buckwheat honey is dark and has an earthy sweetness. The most famous type of monofloral honey, and the most expensive, is Manuka. You’ve probably seen it on the shelves at the supermarket and thought, how much?
This honey is made by bees that only harvest nectar from the manuka tree which basically only grows in New Zealand and only flowers for 2-6 weeks each year, meaning there is a very small window when the bees can actually collect nectar from it. The honey also picks up a range of highly sought-after medicinal properties from the tree. In particular, manuka honey contains high levels of methylglyoxal (MGO) which has powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial qualities. The more MGO the honey contains, the more expensive it is. The highest grade manuka, with the most MGO, is even used by doctors! It’s so powerful that it can help regenerate damaged tissue, and is therefore an effective treatment for burns.
I’ve never had Manuka honey. Can’t afford it. But maybe one day if I sell enough Sleep Toniqs, I’ll be rich enough to eat all the manuka honey I want.
In the meantime, I'll make sure I use normal honey as much as possible. I love the taste, love the benefits, and love that it's natural.