Honey is one of nature’s sweetest gifts. It is also one of nature’s purest foods. Nutritionists call it a “functional food,” meaning it is all natural and has numerous health benefits. In fact, raw (unpasteurized, or never heated beyond the temperature of the beehive) honey contains a whopping 22 amino acids, 27 minerals including calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and even selenium. It is rich in vitamins as well like vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin.
And if you are looking for some nutritional digestive enzymes, honey has many including diastase, invertase, catalase, glucose oxidase, acid phosphatase, and inulase. Honey is also rich in antioxidants.
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.
This is a technique that mirrors the manufacturing practices of the Chinese and East Indians, who export literally tons of contaminated honey, which leaves officials unable to track its origins.
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.
How to recognize cheap, fake honey
- Always read the label. If it contains added glucose or high fructose corn syrup, it is not real honey.
- Taste your honey. If you can taste things like flowers or herbs it’s real honey. Fake honey is just sweet, with a bit of “honey-like” flavor.
- Put a small drop of your honey on your thumb. If it spreads it is not pure since pure honey will stay in one place.
- Add a few drops of vinegar into a mixture of water and honey. If it foams up, your honey has been adulterated with plaster.
- If your honey does not “crystallize” over time, it is likely fake since pure honey will crystallize when you keep in your fridge or over time.
- Add a few drops of iodine to a glass of water and then add some honey. If your honey turns blue, it has been combined with corn starch and is not real honey.
- Place a dab of honey on the end of a matchstick and light it. If it ignites, it is pure.
- Place a spoon of honey in a glass of water. If it dissolves it is fake. Pure honey will not dissolve in water and will sink to the bottom of the glass.
To give you a little more insight, below are the results of honey brands that failed the pollen test and should be avoided.
Honey brands that tested positive for ultra-filtration (fake honey)
Testing on these honeys revealed they have no pollen.
- American Choice Clover Honey
- Archer Farms Orange Blossom Honey
- Archer Farms Organic Classic Honey
- Busy Bee Organic Honey
- Busy Bee, Pure Clover Honey
- CVS Honey
- Fred Meyer Clover Honey
- Full Circle Pure Honey
- Giant Eagle Clover Honey
- GE Clover Honey
- Great Value, Clover Honey
- Haggen Honey, Natural & Pure
- HT Traders Tupelo Honey
- Kroger Pure Clover Honey
- Market Pantry Pure Honey
- Mel-o 100 % Pure Honey
- Natural Sue Bee Clover Honey
- Naturally Preferred Fireweed Honey
- Rite Aid Honey
- Safeway Clover Honey
- Silver Bow Pure Honey
- Stop and Shop Clove Honey
- Sue Bee Clover Honey
- Thrifty Bee Honey
- Valutime Honey
- Walgreen MEL-O honey
- Western Family Clover Honey
- Wegman Clover Honey
- Winnie the Pooh, Pure Clover