Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Honey Recommended over Sugar for Type 1 Diabetic Patients

Anectdotally accepted for years, now encouraging confirmation that honey is better than sugar -  even for diabetics...

Honey and Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Source: Type 1 Diabetes - Complications, Pathogenesis, and Alternative Treatments
InTech Open, November 2011 

Aim of the Study
The aim of this work was to compare the effects of honey, sucrose and glucose on plasma glucose and C-peptide levels in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is by far the most common metabolic and endocrinal disease in children (Peters & Schriger, 1997). The major dietary component responsible for fluctuations in blood glucose levels is carbohydrate. The amount, source (Jenkins et al., 1981; Gannon et al., 1989) and type (Brand et al., 1985) of carbohydrate appear to have profound influence on postprandial glucose levels. The chronic hyperglycemia of diabetes is associated with long-term damage, dysfunction and failure of various organs especially the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels (American Diabetes Association, 2001)...

Honey is the substance made when the nectar and sweet deposits from plants are gathered, modified and stored in the honeycomb by honey bees. It is composed primarily of the sugars glucose and fructose; its third greatest component is water. Honey also contains numerous other types of sugars, as well as acids, proteins and minerals (White et al., 1962; White, 1980; White, 1975). The water content of honey ranges between 15 to 20% (average 17.2%). Glucose and fructose, the major constituents of honey, account for about 85% of the honey solids...

C-peptide is considered to be a good marker of insulin secretion and has no biologic activity of its own (Ido et al., 1997). Measurement of C-peptide, however, provides a fully validated means of quantifying endogenous insulin secretion. C-peptide is co-secreted with insulin by the pancreatic cells as a by-product of the enzymatic cleavage of proinsulin to insulin. Consequently, serum C-peptide level can be used as a true indicator of any change in the insulin level, which is the main determinant of plasma glucose level... 

Conclusions and recommendations
1. Honey has a lower glycemic and peak incremental indices compared to glucose and sucrose in both type 1 diabetic patients and non-diabetics. Therefore, we recommend using honey as a sugar substitute in type 1 diabetic patients.

2. In spite of its significantly lower glycemic and peak incremental indices, honey caused significant post-prandial rise of plasma C-peptide levels when compared to glucose and sucrose in non-diabetics; indicating that honey may have a direct stimulatory effect on the healthy beta cells of pancreas. On the other hand, C-peptide levels were not significantly elevated after honey ingestion when compared with either glucose or sucrose in type 1 diabetic patients. Whether or not ingestion of honey in larger doses or/and for an extended period of time would have a significant positive effect on the diseased beta cells, needs further studies.

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