Harmful Effects of Consuming Adulterated Honey!

A recent study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found that from a batch of 13 raw honey brands, 10 were guilty of adulteration. But, what does this mean? Raw honey comes from the excretion of honey bees and is typically left in the honeycombs to mature. Upon maturity, the honey is extracted and bottled for consumers who want the product for its numerous health benefits.

Unfortunately, the process is not as linear as it sounds. To make ends meet, large brands use additives such as sugar syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose syrup, rice syrup and more. Honey that contains these additives is called adulterated honey.

Harmful Effects of Consuming Adulterated Honey

Side effects of honey

As honey is adulterated in a manner that doesn’t always impact its taste, many laymen cannot always place their fingers on why the practice is unethical. The truth is that honey isn’t just a sweetener – it has numerous medicinal benefits due to its high nutritional content. It is majorly consumed as a cold and cough remedy. The potency of honey is often impacted the minute an adulterant is added to the liquid, which means that millions of consumers are cheated out of the health benefits that they wish to enjoy!

More importantly, adulterated honey can have more disadvantages than we think. According to a study by Wan Ismail, Wan Iryani (2018), regularly consuming adulterated honey can lead to the following health problems:

1.      Obesity

Many people turn to honey due to its weight-management properties. Honey and warm water is the most used weight loss remedy. However, by inadvertently consuming adulterated honey, they end up fighting obesity and its related problems. In the aforementioned study, rats fed adulterated honey over a period of 8 weeks showed an increase in fat pads as well as BMI, even though the consumption of the honey was not high.

Disadvantages of honey

Why does this happen?

One of the most common adulterants used in honey is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). This sweetener is known to lead to obesity, along with high fat deposits on the abdominal tissues, along with higher triglyceride levels. Fructose also contributes to visceral fat accumulation – a phenomenon in which fat specifically accumulates around the organs, thereby inhibiting their functions. One of the most dangerous conditions that can stem from HFCS consumption is fatty liver disease.

2.      Increased blood sugar levels

Pure honey is known to have a low glycemic index, which is why it is favoured by diabetics around the world. Adulterated honey, on the other hand, is dangerous for diabetics as it can lead to increased blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) and even cause type 2 diabetes in those who do not already have it.

Adulterated Honey increased blood sugar levels

Why does this happen?

Apart from HFCS, other adulterants such as inverted beet syrup, corn syrup, fructose syrup and sucrose syrup all impact the body’s insulin resistance and lead to high blood sugar levels. This is because many of these sugars cannot be used by the human body, which is why they get stored in the liver in the form of fat or glycogen.

Remember, diabetes is an untreatable condition, and the only way to prevent diabetes-related ailments (such as diabetic nephropathy and neuropathy, amongst others) is to monitor one’s sugar levels. This cannot be accurately done when you’re consuming adulterated honey!

3.      Increased inflammation

Pure honey (particularly variants such as Eiwa Honey’s Neem Honey) can fight inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause for many health problems such as heart disease, digestive problems, cancer, joint pain, skin problems and more. Adulterated honey that has high levels of HFSC can lead to an increase in inflammation in the body, leading to a multitude of health concerns.

Adulterated Honey increased inflammation

Why does this happen?

Certain types of sugar, particularly HFSC, can lead to an increase in the number of inflammatory cytokines in the body. Additionally, such sugars also impair the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids, thereby negating the body’s natural ability to fight inflammation. Randomised clinical trials have also shown that ingesting such sugars can increase the amount of uric acid in the body, which also increases inflammation.

4.      The Threat of Toxicity

Now, most people who want to gain honey’s natural health benefits consume the nectar on a daily basis. As a general rule of thumb, people believe that having 1-2 tablespoons of honey in a single day is the right amount. However, what happens when the honey is adulterated?

Based on the adulterants that are used in honey, consuming 1-2 tablespoons of the product can be quite harmful as it can expose you to a number of toxic side effects. For instance, rice syrup is one of the most common adulterants and is used widely in China. A cheaper substitute of the same is brown rice syrup, which is being increasingly used in the market. Brown rice syrup is an extremely dangerous adulterant as it has high arsenic content.

Arsenic is poisonous to humans and can lead to numerous fatal diseases!


Why does this happen?

Arsenic has been linked with cancer throughout numerous studies. Consuming high amounts of adulterated honey that contains brown rice syrup can lead to arsenic poisoning, along with a host of problems such as muscle cramps, abnormal heart beats, vomiting, abdominal pain and more.

Unfortunately, arsenic is a slow and silent killer. The first symptoms of arsenic poisoning, such as changes in skin colour, can occur even 5 years after sustained consumption of this toxic ingredient.

Final Thoughts on Adulterated Honey

Final Thoughts on Adulterated Honey

Though there are various tests in the market to test whether honey is adulterated, the fact of the matter is that most brands have found a way to pass those tests even after adding adulterants. What’s scarier is the fact that there are no effective toxicology tests for certain adulterants like inulin sugar, which means that honey with the same may pass tests without raising any red flags!

With adulterated honey causing so many health problems, it is essential to implement a technological solution that eradicates adulteration right from the grassroot levels. At Eiwa, we use innovative honey pods with automated extraction tools that prevent any adulteration or contamination of the product. Explore our delicious flavours today and enjoy the health benefits of honey without worrying about adulterants or ill-effects!