Honey is one of nature’s sweetest gifts and its health benefits are simply countless. Honey is also one of nature’s purest foods.
Raw (unpasteurized, or never heated beyond the temperature of the beehive) honey contains a whopping 22 amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, 27 minerals including calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and even selenium. It is rich in vitamins as well as vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, not really. Not all honey is the same.
In fact, most of the honey you buy at your local supermarket is not any healthier than white sugar, especially cheap honey. And much of it is likely manufactured in China where regulations on health and safety are in many cases, non-existent.
According to the FDA, the food safety divisions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission (EU) as well as numerous other regulating bodies, in order for honey to be considered REAL, it must contain pollen. Without the presence of pollen, the FDA cannot conclude whether the honey is from legitimate and/or safe sources.
And most, if not all, of the commercial honey sold in supermarkets, are ultra-filtered, a process that includes heating the honey to high temperatures that kill off any beneficial nutrients and enzymes, adding water to dilute it, and then filtering it using high-pressure technology to remove any pollen.
According to studies performed at the Texas A&M University, 76 percent of the honey from supermarkets had all of the pollen removed, again leaving their exact origins untraceable.
Even worse, 100 percent of the honey sold at drugstores and those packaged in the single serving portions served at restaurants, had no pollen at all.
The study did show that if you choose to buy an organic brand from your local supermarket, only 29 percent of these are lacking pollen so it is a much safer bet, but it is still a gamble.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to avoid spending your money on this artificial honey, so here’s how to spot them:
1. Carefully read the label: This is the very first step that will help you choose the right, additive-free honey. Producers have to label the content and the percentage by a certain amount.
2. Caramelization: Heat up a few teaspoons of honey in your microwave. High heat works fine. Real honey will eventually caramelize, and fake honey will become all foamy and bubbly due to all of the added ingredients.
3. Paper: Fake honey is high in water, so try putting a few drops of your honey on a sheet of paper, and if it gets absorbed, it is adulterated. All-natural honey won’t absorb in the paper.
4. Water and honey: This is probably the easiest way to tell if there are added ingredients inside of your honey. When soaked in water, real honey makes lumps and falls to the bottom, while fake honey melts.
5. Honey and bread: Spread some honey on a slice of fresh bread, and if natural, the bread will harden. In the case of fake honey, the surface of the bread will become damp.
6. Crystallization: Real honey crystallizes after a while, and fake honey will keep its liquid, syrup-like composition.