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Obesity May Speed Aging of the Liver


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

Obesity is associated with a significant number of health problems, including insulin resistance, cancer, and others, and now researchers may have uncovered a reason why. While most of your tissues and organs age at the same rate, certain factors may cause aging to accelerate.

For this reason, you may be “older” than your chronological age indicates, or certain organs may be more aged than others – a measure known as “epigenetic age.” One such factor linked to an acceleration of epigenetic aging is obesity, particularly in your liver.

Obesity Accelerates Aging in Your Liver

If you’re obese, new research found, your liver may be aging faster than the rest of your body, putting you at risk of chronic disease. For each increase in 10 body mass index (BMI) units, the epigenetic age of the liver grew by 3.3 years.1

Steve Horvath, a professor of human genetics and biostatistics at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, explained:2

“Assume there is a man who is 5-foot-8 and weighs 130 pounds. This slender man would have a body mass index of 20… Compare him to a man of the same age and height who weighs 230 pounds. The liver of this obese man — who has a BMI of 35 — would probably be five years older than that of the slender man.”

Obesity surgery had no apparent effect on the age of the liver, even when it resulted in rapid weight loss. Further, obesity did not appear to impact aging in fat, muscle, or blood – only the liver.

Hovath and colleagues were able to measure the precise epigenetic age of liver samples using an “epigenetic clock” that Hovath developed. It’s based on DNA methylation—a process by which a methyl group (one carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms) is added to part of a DNA molecule.

DNA methylation is a crucial part of normal cell function, allowing cells to “remember who they are and where they have been” and is important in regulating gene expression.

DNA methylation also suppresses the genes for things you don’t want, such as viral and other disease-related genes, and abnormal DNA methylation plays a critical role in the development of nearly all types of cancer.

The Fructose Connection: How It Causes Both Obesity and Liver Damage

The reason obesity might accelerate aging in your liver could have to do with an underlying cause of both weight gain and liver damage: fructose. You may already be aware that fructose – the sugar found in everything from high fructose corn syrup and fruit juice to agave syrup and honey – is harmful when consumed in excess.

This is precisely what most Americans do. However, you may be surprised to learn that fructose is, in many ways, very similar to alcohol in the damage that it can do to your body… and your liver.

Unlike glucose, which can be used by virtually every cell in your body, fructose can only be metabolized by your liver, because your liver is the only organ that has the transporter for it.3

Since nearly all fructose gets shuttled to your liver, and, if you eat a typical Western-style diet, you consume high amounts of it, fructose ends up taxing and damaging your liver in the same way alcohol and other toxins do. In fact, fructose is virtually identical to alcohol with regard to the metabolic havoc it wreaks.

According to Dr. Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, fructose is a “chronic, dose-dependent liver toxin.” And just like alcohol, fructose is metabolized directly into fat – not cellular energy, like glucose.

His findings were published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,4 where Dr. Lustig explained the three similarities between fructose and its fermentation byproduct, ethanol (alcohol):

  1. Your liver’s metabolism of fructose is similar to alcohol, as they both serve as substrates for converting dietary carbohydrate into fat, which promotes insulin resistance, dyslipidemia (abnormal fat levels in the bloodstream), and fatty liver
  2. Fructose undergoes the Maillard reaction with proteins, leading to the formation of superoxide free radicals that can result in liver inflammation similar to acetaldehyde, an intermediary metabolite of ethanol
  3. By “stimulating the ‘hedonic pathway’ of the brain both directly and indirectly,” Dr. Lustig noted, “fructose creates habituation, and possibly dependence; also paralleling ethanol”

Fructose Is a Leading Cause of the Obesity Epidemic

Fructose not only damages your liver; it’s also a leading cause fueling the obesity epidemic in both adults and children. In order for you to significantly gain weight, you must first become leptin resistant. Leptin is a hormone that helps you regulate your appetite. When your leptin levels rise, it signals your body that you’re full, so you’ll stop eating.

However, as you become increasingly resistant to the effects of leptin, you end up eating more. Many people who are overweight also have an impairment in their body’s ability to oxidize fat, which leads to a low-energy state. The question then is: what drives this basic process? Why do you become leptin resistant in the first place?

Dr. Richard Johnson is the head of nephrology at the University of Colorado and is actively engaged in clinical research. Over the past 25 years, much of his research (which is funded by the National Institutes of Health) has focused on fructose and obesity-related diseases.

His hypothesis is that, rather than being driven by eating too many calories and lack of exercise, obesity is primarily driven by eating too much refined sugar, particularly fructose.

Dr. Johnson’s research clearly shows that refined sugar (in particular fructose) is exceptionally effective at causing leptin resistance in animals, and it’s very effective at blocking the burning of fat.

“When you give fructose to animals, they lose their ability to control their appetite, they eat more, and they exercise less. Fructose looks like it’s playing a direct role in weight gain,” he says.

His research also reveals that fructose has effects independent of this mechanism to induce this metabolic syndrome. Whereas fructose increases weight through the standard mechanism of stimulating more food intake and blocking the burning of fat, even when you control caloric intake, fructose can affect body composition.

This is because when you eat fructose, you actually generate more fat in your liver for the same amount of energy intake, compared to other types of sugar… For example, if you calorically restrict an animal but give it a high-fructose diet or a high-sugar diet, it will still produce fatty liver and will still become insulin resistant. According to Dr. Johnson, fructose has two effects:

  1. It stimulates weight gain through its effects on your appetite and by blocking the burning of fat
  2. It also changes your body composition to increase body fat even when you are on a caloric restriction

How Much Fructose Is Safe to Eat?

Four out of five Americans have insulin and leptin resistance. This also includes people who are overweight, diabetic, hypertensive, or taking a statin drug. If you fall into this category, it would be prudent for you to restrict your fructose consumption to about 15 to 25 grams of fructose per day from all sources.

Those who are normal weight and relatively healthy may also benefit from reducing their intake of fructose, particularly from foods containing high fructose corn syrup or sugar, as the effects of high sugar and HFCS intake may have effects that build up over time.

Fruits also have fructose but contain many beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. For someone who is obese, one has to be careful with eating fruits that have substantial fructose content. Some fruits, such as lemons and limes, have minimal fructose content and are safe. Other fruits, such as grapefruit, kiwi, and berries, also have relatively low fructose content and high levels of nutrients. However, fruit juices, dried fruits, and some fruits that are rich in fructose (such as pears, red apples, and plums) should be eaten relatively sparingly.

According to Dr. Johnson, if you exercise regularly, a small amount of fructose can actually be quite beneficial, because the fructose will accelerate glucose absorption in your gut and improve muscle performance. But it really depends on how your body metabolizes the fructose. Your body normally cannot absorb fructose well. But the more fructose you eat, the more the transporters that allow for fructose uptake in your gut are turned on. Hence, the more fructose your body will absorb. Lean children, for instance, tend to only absorb about half of the fructose they consume, whereas obese children who have fatty liver disease absorb close to 100 percent. This may further explain the featured finding that obesity is linked to accelerated aging in your liver.

The 19 Best Foods for Your Liver

If you’re overweight or obese, in addition to losing weight you may want to focus on including more liver-protective foods in your diet. A first step would be to be sure you’re drinking enough water, which will help flush toxins and waste products from your body. A general guide is to drink enough water so that your urine is pale yellow in color. As for foods, the right combination of nutrients will help keep your liver functioning optimally. Some of the best foods for your liver have been compiled by Rodale News and are listed below:5

Fermented foods: Fermented foods like cultured vegetables provide your body with beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion and provide detoxification support. The fermented food kimchi, for instance, has been found to help your body break down pesticides.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, and daikon): These help your liver neutralize toxins, including chemicals, pesticides, medications, and carcinogens.
Dark green leafy vegetables (kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and dandelion greens): These contain rich amounts of sulfur, which helps your liver with detoxification. Dandelion greens in particular are known for supporting liver detoxification and health.
Sea vegetables: Various types of seaweed and brown algae also support detoxification and may also help prevent your body from absorbing heavy metals and other environmental toxins. Be sure the sea vegetables come from a non-polluted water source.
Sprouts: Sprouts contain high levels of enzymes that serve as catalysts for important body functions. Recent research suggests that broccoli sprouts may help your body detox environmental pollutants such as benzene.6 From my perspective, broccoli, watercress, and sunflower sprouts are foods that virtually everyone can and would benefit from growing.
Garlic, onions, shallots, and leeks: These foods are rich in sulfur, including the sulfur-based compound allicin, which is critical for liver detoxification.
Organic, pastured eggs: Eggs are a high-quality source of protein that includes all eight essential amino acids. Your liver needs these to help detoxify your body. Choline, found in egg yolks, also helps protect your liver from toxins.
Artichokes: These contain cynarin and silymarin, which support liver health.
Mushrooms: Maitake, shiitake, and reishi mushrooms are known for their potent immunosupportive agents and also contain L-ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant to help neutralize free radicals.
Berries: Berries are rich in phytochemicals, including anthocyanin, which might inhibit the proliferation of liver cancer cells.
Coconut oil: This healthy saturated fat is so easy for your body to digest that no pancreatic fat-digesting enzymes are needed. This puts less stress on your liver and helps it function optimally.
Avocados: These contain healthy monounsaturated fat, oleic acid, and glutathione, which is important for liver health.
Organic, unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil: High-quality olive oil contains anti-inflammatory compounds that help your liver decrease oxidative stress in your body (consume this oil unheated).
Flax seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds: These contain plant-based omega-3 fats to fight inflammation along with healthy fiber.
Herbs: Many herbs support liver detoxification and function. This includes ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, fennel, and turmeric (curcumin).
Organic, grass-fed meat: By avoiding meat raised on confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and instead choosing grass-fed meat exclusively, you’ll help avoid pesticides, chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics that further tax your liver.
Wild-caught sardines, anchovies, and salmon: These provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. You can also find these in krill oil.
Whey protein powder: Whey protein provides the amino acids necessary for glutathione production, which is essential for liver protection and function. Choose organic whey protein from grass-fed cows.
Spirulina: This blue-green algae is a potent detoxifier. Animal studies suggest spirulina can also protect your liver, probably as a result of its high antioxidant properties and its ability to synthesize or release nitric oxide.

Is Coffee Beneficial for Your Liver?

Coffee has earned a negative reputation due to its caffeine content, but accumulating research suggests it may have beneficial effects, especially on your liver. One recent study revealed that people who drink three cups of coffee a day were 25 percent less likely to have abnormal liver enzyme levels than those who drank none,7 and this was true whether the coffee was caffeinated or not.8 Other research found that drinking two or more cups of coffee a day may reduce your risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66 percent.9

And a Japanese study found those who drank coffee daily, or close to it, had about half the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer, than people who never drank coffee;10 coffee is also associated with less severe liver fibrosis, lower levels of fat in your liver, and lower rates of hepatitis C disease progression.11 If you’re interested in the health benefits, drink your coffee black, without sugar, non-dairy creamer or cream, or flavorings. If you really can’t stand your coffee black, you could try adding non-dairy alternatives like unsweetened almond or coconut milk. Also, make sure it’s organic to avoid more pesticide exposures to your liver.

Are You Struggling with Obesity?

If you’re currently struggling with weight control, I urge you to read my top tips for conquering obesity now. However, a simple change for most people to make would be replacing sugary beverages with pure water and, on occasion, a healthy, anti-obesity option like hibiscus extract tea, which also offers liver-protecting potential. In addition, intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to help you resolve your insulin and leptin resistance. It’s also one of the fastest ways to shed excess pounds, as it helps shift your body from burning sugar to burning fat as its primary fuel. To me, the most remarkable aspect of intermittent fasting is that once you make the transition, your hunger and cravings for sweets virtually disappears.

Granted, in order to get it right, you need to severely restrict your sugar and fructose intake. A healthy diet becomes all the more important when you start intermittently fasting. Ideally, you’ll want to swap your non-vegetable carbs for healthy fats. Most benefit from anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of their daily calories in the form of healthy fat, such as avocado, olives, eggs, butter, nuts (I prefer macadamia and pecans), and coconut oil for example. This is done until the insulin resistance resolves and one has normal weight, no diabetes or hypertension, and is no longer taking statin drugs. Then one can decrease the fat and replace them with healthy carbs. For a more in-depth review, please see this previous article on how intermittent fasting can help you live longer.


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Glen Campbell “I’ll Be Me” Movie Documents His Final Years With Alzheimer’s Disease


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

Country music legend Glen Campbell is dying of Alzheimer’s disease. In an effort to raise awareness of the illness he and his family made the brave decision to bare their lives by creating a documentary of Glen’s farewell tour. I highly recommend that you watch this film with your loved ones… and a box of Kleenex.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Glen’s disease was the preservation of his musical abilities despite severe cognitive impairment. Although he rarely knew where he was or even how to tie his shoes, he was able to perform songs in front of live audiences. With redirection and prompting, he managed to participate in 151 concerts across the United States within the span of ~18 months. Accompanied by his gifted guitarist son and daughter, and his doting fourth wife Kim, Campbell was able to maintain his musical self for longer than his physicians ever anticipated.

The documentary held nothing back – from violent outbursts brought on by paranoid delusions of golf club theft, to inappropriate table manners, to hypersexuality triggered by too high a dose of Aricept – the trials and tribulations of being a caregiver for someone with dementia were painfully acute. In brief moments of insight, Glen himself would manage to stammer a “Thank you. For being so nice to me. I have been an ass.”

One of the saddest moments of the movie was a brief clip of his daughter testifying before congress. She explains that memories are what lives are made of – and that although she is holding fast to the memories made with her dad, she knows that soon he will not even know who she is, and that their time together will be meaningless to him. Campbell listens silently next to her with a pained expression and misty eyes.

The movie’s final song, artfully strung together from clips of Glen singing repeat phrases into a studio mic, is haunting:

“I’m Not Going To Miss You”

I’m still here, but yet I’m gone
I don’t play guitar or sing my songs
They never defined who I am
The man that loves you ’til the end
You’re the last person I will love
You’re the last face I will recall
And best of all, I’m not gonna miss you.
Not gonna miss you.
I’m never gonna hold you like I did
Or say I love you to the kids
You’re never gonna see it in my eyes
It’s not gonna hurt me when you cry
I’m never gonna know what you go through
All the things I say or do
All the hurt and all the pain
One thing selfishly remains
I’m not gonna miss you
I’m not gonna miss you

Alzheimer’s is a terrible, cruel disease. I share the frustration of the Mayo Clinic neurologists who treated Glen Campbell – unable to do much more than simply document his decline and mentally prepare his family for the next stages of the disease. To all those who are taking care of people with Alzheimer’s I offer my sincere admiration and respect. To those who face a genetically higher-than-average chance of contracting the illness (such as myself), I tremble and hope for a cure.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Honey


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

Honey has been valued as a natural sweetener long before sugar became widely available in the 16th century. Honey production flourished in ancient Greece and Sicily, for instance, while animals other than humans – bears, badgers, and more – have long raided honeybee hives, risking stings for the sweet reward.1

Honey is truly a remarkable substance, made even more extraordinary by the process with which it is made. This blend of sugar, trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids is quite unlike any other sweetener on the planet.

And while honey is high in fructose, it has many health benefits when used in moderation (assuming you’re healthy). Before I delve into those, here’s a brief “lesson” on how honey is made…  

How Honey Is Made (Fascinating!)

It takes about 60,000 bees, collectively traveling up to 55,000 miles and visiting more than 2 million flowers, to gather enough nectar to make one pound of honey.2

Once the nectar is gathered, the bee stores it in its extra stomach where it mixes with enzymes, and then passes it (via regurgitation) to another bee’s mouth. This process is repeated until the nectar becomes partially digested and is then deposited into a honeycomb.

Once there, the honeybees fan the liquid nectar with their wings, helping the water to evaporate and create the thick substance you know as “honey.” This honeycomb is then sealed with a liquid secretion from the bee’s abdomen, which hardens into beeswax. As Live Science reported:3

Away from air and water, honey can be stored indefinitely, providing bees with the perfect food source for cold winter months.”

There are more than 300 kinds of honey in the US, each with a unique color and flavor that is dependent upon the nectar source. Lighter colored honeys, such as those made from orange blossoms, tend to be milder in flavor while darker-colored honeys, like those made from wildflowers, tend to have a more robust flavor.4

5 Honey Facts You Might Not Know

Honey, particularly in its raw form, offers unique health benefits that you might not be aware of. Among them…

1. Honey Makes Excellent Cough “Medicine”

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists honey as a demulcent, which is a substance that relieves irritation in your mouth or throat by forming a protective film.5

Research shows honey works as well as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over the counter cough medications, to soothe cough and related sleeping difficulties due to upper respiratory tract infections in children.6

2. Honey Can Treat Wounds

Honey was a conventional therapy in fighting infection up until the early 20th century, at which time its use slowly vanished with the advent of penicillin. Now the use of honey in wound care is regaining popularity, as researchers are determining exactly how honey can help fight serious skin infections.

Honey has antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidants activities that make it ideal for treating wounds. In the US, Derma Sciences uses Manuka honey for their Medihoney wound and burn dressings.

Manuka honey is made with pollen gathered from the flowers of the Manuka bush (a medicinal plant), and clinical trials have found this type of honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including resistant varieties such as:

  • MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
  • MSSA (methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus)
  • VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci)

Compared to other types of honey, Manuka has an extra ingredient with antimicrobial qualities, called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). It is so called because no one has yet been able to discover the unique substance involved that gives it its extraordinary antibacterial activity.

Honey releases hydrogen peroxide through an enzymatic process, which explains its general antiseptic qualities, but active Manuka honey contains “something else” that makes it far superior to other types of honey when it comes to killing off bacteria.7

That being said, research shows that any type of unprocessed honey helped wounds and ulcers heal. In one study, 58 of 59 wounds showed “remarkable improvement following topical application of honey.”8

3. Honey Improves Your Scalp

Honey diluted with a bit of warm water was shown to significantly improve seborrheic dermatitis, which is a scalp condition that causes dandruff and itching. After applying the solution every other day for four weeks, “all of the patients responded markedly.” According to the researchers:9

Itching was relieved and scaling was disappeared within one week. Skin lesions were healed and disappeared completely within 2 weeks. In addition, patients showed subjective improvement in hair loss.”

4. Help Boost Your Energy

A healthy, whole-food diet and proper sleep is the best recipe for boundless energy, but if you’re looking for a quick energy boost, such as before or after a workout, honey can suffice. This is particularly true for athletes looking for a “time-released fuel” to provide energy over a longer duration.10

5. Reduce Allergy Symptoms

Locally produced honey, which will contain pollen spores picked up by the bees from local plants, introduces a small amount of allergen into your system. Theoretically, this can activate your immune system and over time can build up your natural immunity against it.

The typical recommendation is to take about a teaspoon-full of locally produced honey per day, starting a few months PRIOR to the pollen season, to allow your system to build up immunity. And the key here is local.

This approach only works because it has pollen of local plants you may be allergic to. Honey from other parts of the country simply won’t work. While research on this has yielded conflicting results, one study found that, during birch pollen season, compared to the control group, the patients using birch pollen honey experienced:11

  • 60 percent reduction in symptoms
  • Twice as many asymptomatic days
  • 70 percent fewer days with severe symptoms
  • 50 percent decrease in usage of antihistamines

Interestingly enough, there were few differences between the two honey groups (those who took regular honey, versus those who took honey that contained birch pollen.) However, the birch pollen honey group used less histamines than those who used regular honey. The authors concluded:

“Patients who pre-seasonally used birch pollen honey had significantly better control of their symptoms than did those on conventional medication only, and they had marginally better control compared to those on regular honey. The results should be regarded as preliminary, but they indicate that birch pollen honey could serve as a complementary therapy for birch pollen allergy.”

Honey for Herpes

Good-quality honey offers several topical wound-care benefits that can explain some of its success as a remedy for herpes sores:

  • It draws fluid away from your wound
  • The high sugar content suppresses microorganism growth
  • Worker bees secrete an enzyme (glucose oxidase) into the nectar, which then releases low levels of hydrogen peroxide when the honey makes contact with your wound

In one study, 16 adult subjects with a history of recurrent labial and genital herpes attacks used honey to treat one attack, and a commonly prescribed antiviral drug, Acyclovir cream, during another. (It’s important to realize that neither the drug nor the honey will actually cure genital herpes. They only treat the symptoms.)

Interestingly, honey provided significantly better treatment results. For labial herpes, the mean healing time was 43 percent better, and for genital herpes, 59 percent better than acyclovir. Pain and crusting was also significantly reduced with the honey, compared to the drug. Two cases of labial herpes and one case of genital herpes remitted completely with the honey treatment, whereas none remitted while using acyclovir.12

3 DIY Honey Home Remedies

Honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture, making it an ideal addition to moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners. Along with its antimicrobial properties, honey makes a wonderful addition to homemade personal care products. The National Honey Board has a few you can try out for yourself:13

  1. Honey Hair Conditioner: Mix ½ cup honey with ¼ cup olive oil. Work a small amount through your hair until coated. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let sit for 30 minutes. Shampoo as normal and rinse.
  2. Honey Body Moisturizer: Mix 5 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons rose oil, and 2 cups almond oil in a medium-sized bottle. Apply as needed onto wet skin.
  3. Honey Almond Scrub: Mix 3 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 6 ½ tablespoons of finely crushed almonds. Rub the exfoliating scrub onto your face gently and rinse with warm water.

The Organic Consumers Association has also published this simple honey lemon cough syrup that’s useful to keep on hand during the winter months:14

Honey Lemon Cough Syrup

Lemon helps promote health by quickly alkalinizing your body, and honey will kill most bacteria while soothing your throat. This is a perfect choice for a quick cough remedy.

  • Put a pint of raw honey in a pan on the stove on VERY low heat (Do not boil honey as this changes its medicinal properties).
  • Take a whole lemon and boil in some water in a separate pan for 2-3 minutes to both soften the lemon and kill any bacteria that may be on the lemon skin.
  • Let the lemon cool enough to handle then cut it in slices and add it to the pint of honey on the stove.
  • Let mixture cook on warm heat for about an hour.
  • Then strain the lemon from the honey making sure all lemon seeds are removed.
  • Let cool, then bottle in a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator.

This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator. To soothe a cough, take 1/2 teaspoon for a 25 lb. child and 1 teaspoon for a 50 lb. child, about 4 times a day, or as often as needed. Adults can take 1-tablespoon doses.

Is Honey a Healthy Natural Sweetener? How to Avoid Fake Honey

As far as natural sweeteners go, honey does have a place. The main thing to remember when it comes to honey is that not all honey is created equal. The antibacterial activity in some honeys is 100 times more potent than in others, while processed refined honey will lack many of these beneficial properties altogether. Your average domestic “Grade A” type honey found in the grocery store is likely highly processed.

It’s also been found that more than 75 percent of the honey on American supermarket shelves may be ultra-processed—to the point that all inherent medicinal properties are completely gone—and then smuggled into the country by the barrel drum. Nearly all of this “fake” honey is made in China. Some of these brokers will even create bogus country of origin papers. All 60 jars of “honey” tested by Food Safety News (FSN) came back negative for pollen, which is a clear sign of ultra-processing.15 According to FSN:

“The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies. The food safety divisions of the World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others have also ruled that without pollen, there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.”

In their investigation, FSN discovered the following:

  • 76 percent of honey samples bought at grocery stores (such as TOP Food, Safeway, QFC, Kroger, Harris Teeter, etc.) were absent of pollen
  • 77 percent of the honey from big box stores (like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Target) were absent of pollen
  • 100 percent of the honey sampled from drug stores (like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS Pharmacy) were absent of pollen

The good news is all of the samples from farmers markets, co-ops, and natural stores like Trader Joe’s had the full, proper compliment of pollen, as did organic brands from common grocery stores. When choosing honey, be sure it is raw, unfiltered, and 100% pure, from a trusted source.

Honey Should Be Consumed Only in Moderation

Honey has many healthy attributes, but it is also high in fructose, averaging around 53 percent. Each teaspoon of honey has nearly four grams of fructose, which means it can exacerbate pre-existing insulin resistance and wreak havoc on your body if consumed in excess. So when consuming honey, carefully add the total grams of fructose (including fruits) that you consume each day, and stay below 25 grams of total fructose per day.

Keep in mind, though, that if you have insulin resistance (i.e. if you are taking drugs for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, or if you’re overweight) you’d be better off avoiding all sweeteners, including honey, since any sweetener can decrease your insulin sensitivity and worsen your insulin resistance. If you’re healthy, however, eating raw honey in moderation could provide many of the benefits listed above.


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