Paleo is a unique diet that works to detox the body from modern-day illnesses by sticking to a diet that humans survived off of during the Paleolithic era some 2 million years ago.
The idea of the diet is to promote good health, lose weight, and often to try to eat your own grown food without relying on capitalism and agriculture.
As the requirements for a paleo diet are fairly strict, it’s often difficult to tell what types of foods can be considered paleo or not. Honey is the best example for this.
While honey is high in sugar (which isn’t paleo), it has been around for millions of years and technically isn’t always a product of agriculture (which is paleo).
The debate is a unique one. If you’re interested in starting a paleo diet, or perhaps you’re in the midst of the diet and you’re curious about what you can and cannot eat, here is everything you need to know about whether honey is paleo or not!
So, is honey paleo?
Honey has been around for millions of years. Bees have not always been domesticated, so when the earliest humans discovered the sweet honey that bees created, they would risk injuries (or even their lives) to reach the sweet stuff hidden in tall trees.
Humans would balance on branches and crawl ever-so-slowly to reach the beehive without waking up the bees, which was far harder than it is now.
Nowadays, honey can be simply bought from grocery stores and markets. The honey is mostly sourced from bee farms that raise bees purely for the honey they create, with a specific process of gathering the honey that involves smoking and sedating the bees.
So, is honey paleo? If humans in the Paleolithic era were able to eat honey, then can I?
The answer to this question isn’t a straightforward one. Unfiltered, raw honey that is bought locally is considered a paleo food. Other forms of honey, however, are not considered paleo – nor are the foods that contain said honey.
The argument to whether honey is paleo or not is similar to the argument that asks whether honey is vegan or not. Sure, taking honey from bees isn’t going to negatively impact their health (unlike using cows for meat and dairy), but honey derives from bees and is still therefore an animal product.
Likewise, if raw and unfiltered honey is considered paleo, then why aren’t other types of honey?
To answer the question very simply, raw and unfiltered locally produced honey is a paleo diet. Any type of honey that isn’t raw or unfiltered is not considered paleo.
What can I eat in a paleo diet?
Let’s take a look at the definition of the paleo diet. For food to be considered paleo, here are the requirements:
- High in protein
- Low in carbohydrates
- Low in sodium
- Low on the glycemic index (sugar)
- High in fiber
- High in potassium
- Moderate to high fat
- High in vitamins and minerals
Now, it’s no secret that honey is incredibly sweet, even in a raw and unfiltered form. Honey contains around 50% glucose and 50% fructose with high calories (around 64 calories per tablespoon of honey) derived from carbohydrates and natural sugars.
The emphasis on the words “natural sugars” cannot be understated, because the word “natural” is the reason why honey is considered paleo.
Dieters who enjoy baking won’t use sugar to sweeten their cakes and whatnot. Instead, they will use honey which is equally sweet and far more healthy due to the unprocessed and unfiltered nature of it. However, if you use filtered honey that contains artificial sweeteners, then this will not be considered paleo.
As most people stick to a paleo diet for weight loss reasons, they may only limit themselves to raw honey (or raw honey in other paleo foods) on special occasions. It’s not healthy for anyone to eat honey daily due to the spike in blood sugar levels, after all!
Something people won’t know about honey is that raw honey can contain up to 0.06 grams of protein. While this isn’t enough to supply a daily amount of protein, it’s a nice nutritional benefit that contributes to the paleo diet.
Honey is also full of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B, zinc, iron, copper, and more. This is because the root of honey (pardon the pun) comes from nectar-producing plants.
In a strange and magical way, by consuming raw honey, you are consuming the natural sugars and vitamins from nectar-producing plants.
Health Benefits of Honey
Despite the high natural sugar content, there are several health benefits of raw honey. The first health benefit of honey is that it can soothe a cough or cold.
People will often drink hot water with lemon and honey to soothe a sore throat, and this is because honey contains dextromethorphan – a cough suppressant that is found in Robitussin DM (better than Benadryl!).
Honey is also said to help reproductive health. A type of raw honey called Royal Jelly is proven to aid premenstrual and menstrual pains, and the antioxidants help to prevent aging in the ovaries and (apparently) sperm.
Raw Manuka honey is also said to promote digestive regularity, especially for people with IBS. It helps to soothe the stomach, therefore supporting those struggling with diarrhea or constipation.
For these reasons, honey is considered paleo due to the health benefits of natural raw honey. If people back in the Paleolithic era could eat raw honey and experience these benefits, then so can we!
To put it simply: raw and unfiltered honey that is locally sourced and produced is considered paleo. This is because, despite the natural sugar content, raw honey used to be found and consumed in the Paleolithic era and comes with a variety of health benefits.
However, due to the natural sugar content, honey is only recommended to be consumed on special occasions for those who are on the paleo diet for weight loss reasons.