Honey and HFCS - What's Their Relationship?You might think that you’re eating healthier because you’ve replaced refined white table sugar with honey, but think again. I’m currently reading Sweet Deception by Dr. Joseph Mercola and was amazed to learn about the process of forced honey production and its correlation with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

What I have learned from Dr. Mercola’s book is that there are bee farms that produce 2/3 of the annual honey production in North America by force feeding their bees high fructose corn syrup or other sugars, and keeping them under 24-hour hive lighting so that they will produce honey year round (the remaining 1/3 of honey produced in N.A. is pure honey). These tactics result in the bees producing a product that is only partially real honey; the other portion of the “honey” is high fructose corn syrup!

I am just astounded to learn this. When you buy what you think is honey in the cute little containers in the store, you do not see high fructose corn syrup listed on the label (if you have seen it, please leave a comment as I’ve never come across it). This is very sneaky; you think you’re buying honey, when in actuality, you’re purchasing a combination of some honey and HFCS! It’s just amazing to me, especially since I grew up seeing my dad harvest honey from his own hives. I watched him do that and then jar the pure honey and honeycomb. As a kid, I didn’t appreciate it, but thinking back, I sure do now!

So how do you know if you’re buying honey that contains HFCS if it’s not even listed on the label? Well, unless it states that it is raw, natural, 100% certified organic honey, then you’ve got HFCS in that bottle sitting in your cupboard. This quality of honey is also referred to as “baker’s honey”, so you guessed it: any food product you buy that contains honey as an ingredient also contains high fructose corn syrup (again, unless it states it is raw, natural, pure organic honey).

You can also tell if you have pure, raw honey by whether it burns at 140 degrees. If it burns, it’s not real honey. Of course, the force-produced honey is cheaper than raw honey, but if you are like many people who want to avoid high fructose corn syrup, you won’t want that bottle of “honey”.

Please remember that I’m not one to recommend sugar in any form, and raw honey is another form of sugar. Even so, I think it’s important to spread the word on this topic in case you are interested in using honey as a sweetener. There are many who use honey instead of table sugar, thinking that it’s better for them. How many of these people know that they are ingesting HFCS, an ingredient that stops your brain from getting the signal that you’re not full (when you really are!) because your body doesn’t “see” the fructose.

If you do not have a problem with sugar addiction and want to use raw honey as a sweetener, just look for “100% certified raw organic honey” on the label. It will cost a few dollars more, but you are also getting the benefit that it is harvested without using potentially toxic chemicals, chemicals that are widely used in conventional beekeeping today (my dad didn’t use any chemicals).

I recommend learning more about this topic, sugar, and the artificial sweetener industry in Sweet Deception:

Sweet Deception

Note: I have updated my previous post Bread Made Without High Fructose Corn Syrup? to include a link to this post. The Aunt Millie’s bread that I highlighted in my previous post actually does contain high fructose corn syrup, because it contains honey (not pure, raw, organic honey).

Photo Credit: Danny Perez Photography