Background: The composition of honey and its therapeutic benefits depend partly on the type of the trees from
which bees extract their nutrients. It is, therefore, expected that honey produced at various seasons or at different
locations might have different properties.
Objective: To investigate the glycemic response to three types of locally produced natural honey in comparison to
dextrose and table sugar.
Design: A cross-over study on healthy volunteers
Settings: College of Medicine, University of Basrah
Methods: Five apparently healthy volunteers, 3 males and 2 females, took part in the study. Each volunteer received,
the three types of honey (Seeba, Sarraji and Nahr-Khooz, one of them spring-type and other two are autumn-type),
dextrose, and sugar (75g in 200 ml distilled water) in a cross-over design. Blood glucose level was measured before
ingestion and 30 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hours and 2 hours after ingestion.
Results: The three types of honey raised the blood glucose level 30 minutes after ingestion by a range of 31-39% with
respect to pre-ingestion level. There was no statistically significant differences between the three types, although,
"Sarraji" type-an autumn-type, tended to result in a lower and "Seeba" honey-a spring type-in a higher blood
glucose levels. Generally, the effect of honey on blood glucose was more gentler, on a per gram basis, than dextrose or
table sugar, representing 61.8% of the level reached after dextrose or sugar load. Honey glycemic effect is also shortlived;
occurring mainly in the first hour after ingestion.
Conclusion: Different types of natural honey did not seem to differ significantly in their effect on blood glucose.
Their effect in raising the blood glucose is milder and shorter than that caused by same amount of dextrose or table
sugar. Studying the effect of smaller doses of honey in diabetic patients is recommended.