|Honey is one of the few sweeteners allowed on Phase 2. (Honey is still disallowed on Phase 1, because it does have an exceptionally high sugar content.) Honey is generally accepted to be a “healthier” sweetener, and this isn’t without reason.|
Honey has been shown to have a variety of health benefits. Much of honey’s health-promoting power comes from the pollen inherent in its composition. Local honey has been shown to help people with allergies, due in large part to the pollen content.
Unfortunately, not all honey you buy at the store is created equally. Most honey is refined, filtered and cut, far removed from its natural and most healthy state. In fact, much of the honey you get at the store (and especially the honey you find in the small, individual packets) contains none of the health-promoting benefits of honey, at all. Most, if not all of the pollen has been removed. In fact, the USDA guidelines state that if a honey product has had the pollen filtered out, it ceases to be honey. So often, the honey you buy in the store isn’t actually honey at all!
A study conducted by Food Safety News in 2010 found that 76 percent of all honey bought in stores wasn’t actually honey at all; all traces of pollen had been removed. 100 percent of drugstore honey and honey sampled from fast food purveyors contained no pollen. On the other hand, honey purchased at co-ops and natural food stores contained the full amount of expected pollen.
So, why even extract pollen from honey? One reason cited was consumer expectations; consumers want a crystal clear honey. Another reason cited was that honey stripped of its pollen content can’t be traced. Much of the filtered, non-honey honey in the United States originated in China. Chinese honey is notoriously contaminated, sometimes with illegal animal antibiotics, and therefore the US imposed strict tariffs and trade regulations on Chinese honey. Much of that honey still gets imported illegally into the United States. It is odd that the trade for a sweetener sounds like an illegal drug trade, but this is what happens when big business gets involved with what is otherwise a healthy, wonderful food.
If you are on Phase 2, try finding honey from local beekeepers that take pride in the honey they produce. The taste will likely be superior, and the health effects potentially profound!