Balancing Sweetness: Manuka Honey in Diabetic-Friendly Diets

Balancing Sweetness: Manuka Honey in Diabetic-Friendly Diets
Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

5 minutes

Executive Summary:

  • Manuka honey boasts a dense nutrient profile that supports immune response and overall wellness.
  • The lower glycemic index of Manuka honey compared to table sugar makes it a healthier alternative in a diabetic diet—when used in moderation.
  • Scientific trials and studies indicate that Manuka honey may support diabetic patients by enhancing their immune response, lowering blood glucose levels, reducing inflammation, reversing oxidative damage of the pancreas, and providing sustained energy release.
  • There are various simple ways to include Manuka honey in a healthy lifestyle—adding it to high-protein snacks and taking it as a pre-workout snack are just two.
  • Manuka honey should be included in a diabetic diet only in agreement with a medical professional.


Manuka Honey in Diets: Sweetness for Diabetics

Diabetes is a challenging disease marked by sacrifice. Careful monitoring of meals and blood sugar levels is a normal part of everyday life and often a burden. Enjoying a sweet treat is usually impossible—or not worth the risk—without serious consequences. 

So, it’s surprising to discover that Manuka honey may be a beneficial food in a diabetic diet. Its unique chemistry and wealth of nutrients support wellness—without causing havoc with blood sugar levels. So, let’s take a closer look.


Understanding Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is unlike any other. It is harvested in the lush Manuka Tea Tree forests in New Zealand and originates from nectar that is filled with beneficial nutrients—nutrients you don’t find in regular honey. 

Among other nutrients, Manuka honey contains:

  • Methylglyoxal (MGO)—a proven antibacterial and antifungal compound that provides natural immune support
  • A variety of antioxidants like Leptosperin, which is unique to Manuka honey. Antioxidants support cellular health and combat inflammation in the body.
  • Oligosaccharides and other nutrients support gut health by aiding digestion and the absorption of nutrients. 

The nutrients in Manuka honey provide a welcome wellness boost when added to a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. They support the natural immune response and aid digestion. Now, that's a superfood we can get behind.


Manuka Honey and Diabetic Diets

Did you know that even though its taste is sweeter, Manuka honey has a lower glycemic index than table sugar? Manuka honey’s GI is around 55, while table sugar is around 60.

Natural honey raises blood sugar levels more slowly due to its ratio of fructose to glucose. Fructose is absorbed more slowly in your digestive tract, so it sustains the overall energy release. Coupled with its wellness benefits, this makes Manuka honey a preferred candidate for a sweetener in a diabetic-friendly diet.

To benefit from its natural goodness while monitoring your blood sugar, it’s essential to enjoy Manuka honey in moderation. It’s a high carbohydrate food, so even with sustained energy release, it will increase your blood sugar. 


Scientific Backing and Recommendations

It may seem too good to be true, but science agrees—enjoyed responsibly, Manuka honey may be a healthy part of a diabetic diet. So, let’s take a closer look at the latest promising research for diabetics.

Manuka Honey Supports Immune Health and Wellness

Health and wellness is a top priority, especially if you suffer from diabetes. This is especially true since illness can create havoc with blood sugar levels and potentially lead to diabetic complications. But here’s the good news: Manuka honey’s beneficial nutrients can support your overall health and wellness.

Manuka honey contains MGO, a natural antibiotic nutrient that supports the immune system. Other nutrients present in Manuka honey also help maintain a healthy microbiome (gut health), which naturally enhances the immune response. This means you can maintain good health by supporting your body with ample nutrients, including those in Manuka honey!

Manuka Honey Supports Insulin Response and Appetite Control

Studies involving non-diabetic and diabetic people confirm that natural honey, like Manukora’s Manuka honey, supports regular blood glucose levels. This is especially helpful for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes, which can be controlled by lifestyle changes and a healthy diet.

The high fructose concentration in Manuka honey supports a healthy body weight by positively impacting appetite control. It helps you feel full for longer, which reduces your calorie intake. This benefit helps manage type 2 diabetes and reduces the risk of developing diabetes in non-sufferers.

The Antioxidants in Honey Support Pancreatic Health

One of the most exciting results of including Manuka honey in your diet is the impact its beneficial nutrients may have on your organ systems. 

The high concentration of antioxidants in Manuka honey, like Leptosperin, may reverse oxidative stress (cellular damage) in the body and support the body’s natural inflammatory responses. This has the potential to help maintain the overall health of your organs—including your pancreas, where insulin is produced. 

While further studies are necessary, the current and past studies on Manuka honey’s powerful nutrients are promising.


Practical Tips on Incorporating Manuka Honey

To enjoy the goodness of Manuka honey, consider these simple tips:

  • Moderation is key. A single teaspoon a day is sufficient to enjoy the health benefits of the nutrients in Manuka honey.
  • Pair Authentic Manuka honey with a high-protein food to further stabilize your blood sugar levels. Manukora’s Manuka honey is deliciously enjoyed with nuts, in a protein-based smoothie, sugar-free peanut butter, or even drizzled as a sweet addition to your favorite cut of meat (after it’s cooked).
  • Count your portion of honey as part of your calorie intake to avoid overindulging.
  • Move your body after enjoying Manuka honey—it makes a great pre-workout (or pre-walk) snack.
  • Monitor your blood sugar carefully to understand how your body responds to Manuka honey—everyone is unique.


Manuka in Moderation: A Diabetic’s Ally

Manuka honey may support the health and wellness of those suffering from diabetes. Its dense nutrient profile provides benefits that outshine the empty calories of table sugar, and its lower glycemic index makes it a preferred choice as a natural sweetener.

According to scientific studies, the compounds found in Manuka honey may further support the body in various ways, helping to maintain regular blood glucose levels. So, go ahead: Enjoy Manuka honey in moderation as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle! However, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, we always recommend checking with your physician before adding a new source of glucose to your regular diet.


The glycaemic index of Manuka honey - ResearchGate

What is the Glycemic Index of sugar? - Sugar Nutrition Resource

The glycemic and peak incremental indices of honey, sucrose and glucose in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: effects on C-peptide level-a pilot study - Pubmed

The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity - Pubmed

Effect of honey versus sucrose on appetite, appetite-regulating hormones, and postmeal thermogenesis - Pubmed

Pancreatic regenerative potential of manuka honey evidenced through pancreatic histology and levels of transcription factors in diabetic rat model - Science Direct

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