Before we get to honey we have a question from one
of our readers.
What is your opinion of Splenda?
Splenda is made by chlorinating sugar (sucrose). Three
of the hydroxyl groups on the sucrose molecule are replaced by
chlorine. DDT, an extremely toxic pesticide, is another
compound made by chlorinating positions on a hydrocarbon ring
structure. The data so far would indicate that Splenda
(Sucralose) is not as dangerous as Aspartame but the
following have been observed in laboratory animals.
Shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage)
Enlarged liver and kidneys.
Atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus
Increased cecal weight
Reduced growth rate
Decreased red blood cell count
Hyperplasia of the pelvis
Extension of the pregnancy period
Decreased fetal body weights and placental weights
A list of products where it is found:
Baked goods and baking mixes
Confections and frostings
Fats and oils (salad dressings)
Fruit and water ices
Jams and jellies
Processed fruits and fruit juices
Sweet sauces, toppings and syrups
Beverages and beverage bases
Coffee and tea
Dairy product analogs
Frozen dairy desserts and mixes
Gelatins, puddings and fillings
My Opinion: I would not use it.
Honey and Meli Maenomenon.
Pediatric Warning: Honey and Children Under Two
Children under the age of one (to be really safe probably two
years old) should not ingest honey. Honey contains clostridium
botulinum spores. In the human with a mature immune system, the
spores will not germinate in the gastrointestinal tract. However, in the immature immune system of the infant, the spores can germinate and cause botulism, a descending flaccid paralysis caused by the neurotoxin of clostridia botulinum. It also does not matter if the honey is pasteurized, since the typical pasteurization temperature is not high to kill the spores.
Composition of Honey
Honey is a highly processed (by bees in this case) substance
that is usually around 40% by weight fructose. The typical
composition in 100 grams of honey is:
Water 17.1 g (12.2-22.9 g)
Fructose 38.5 g (25.2-44.4 g)
Glucose 31.0 g (24.6-36.9 g)
Maltose 7.20 g (1.70-11.8 g)
Sucrose 1.50 g (0.50-2.90 g)
Back to our familiar "fructose short-circuits glycolysis."
Once again we visit the near equal amounts of fructose and
glucose entering the bloodstream at the same time. Also, each
gram of maltose will yield two molecules of glucose for each
molecule of maltose. Each gram of sucrose will yield one
molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose for each
molecule of sucrose. As mentioned previously, (now almost
ad nauseum) the fructose enters the metabolic pathway for
glucose below where glucose enters. This short circuits the
glycolytic path for glucose and temporarily blocks the
metabolism of the glucose. Excess insulin is secreted and
in about two hours when both sugars are metabolized, there
will be too much insulin in the bloodstream and voila ...
hypoglycemia. Or, if you in the middle of the Ironman or a
training run or ride -the Bonk! I hate this bicycle and
why am I doing this stupid triathlon?
Honey may be naturally processed by bees but it is still
a large dose of fructose and glucose.
Even though honey is a more natural substance, it really is no
safer than sucrose. All the problems associated with sucrose
are also associated with honey. Lowered immune system function
that can lead to cancer. Damage to the vascular system
leading to heart disease and adult onset diabetes mellitus with
gangrenous toes and all -are at the end of the sugar freeway.
There is also some discussion about additional nutrients found
in honey. However, the amounts are miniscule and really not
worth the health risk of large doses of simple sugars. I
think one of the best quotes I have found regarding this is:
"Added sugar contributes nothing but calories and is known as a
dead food. All you have to do to improve your nutrition is
consume products without any added sugar. Anyone interested in
improving their nutrition and personal health should avoid added
sugar in their diet."
This is from the following website:
The MericleDiet is one of the few diets that really makes it
as easy as it can be to get off of "added sugars."
Meli Maenomenom and Some Ancient History
The nature of honey depends on from which flowers the honey
bees get their nectar. Clover honey is very popular and does
not constitute a significant toxic health threat on an acute
basis. However, honey gathered from Rhododendron in the
Black Sea area is very toxic. Xenophon, the author of The
Anabasis, who was also a very brilliant military leader and
a follower of Socrates, found out the hard way. In 401 B.C.,
following a less than optimal campaign in Persia, he elected
to lead 10,000 Greek soldiers through the mountains of
Kurdistan, Georgia and finally Armenia. They noticed a large
number of bee hives when they made camp in Colchis. They
raided the hives and devoured the honey. Soon they were all
acting like intoxicated madmen, had fits of vomiting and
collapsed by the thousands.
Toxic Honey -A Weapon
Pompey, a few years later, in 67 B.C. did not fare as well.
While campaigning against Mithridates king of Pontus,
he camped in the same area. Some allies of Mithridates
(the Heptakometes) had placed toxic honeycombs all along
the way. Pompey's army feasted on the honeycombs and soon
they were easily slaughtered. Similar tactics were used
against Russian foes of Olga of Kieve in 946 A.D. and Tartar
soldiers were massacred by the Russians in 1489 after
ingesting toxic honey in the same area.
Meli Maenomenon (Mad Honey)
This honey soon became known as mad honey. While there has been
some debate on this subject it apparently is significant enough,
even here in the US, that poison control data bases all make
mention of toxic honey poisoning. Early symptoms include
tingling, numbness, dizziness, impaired speech, and even
hallucinations. Larger amounts of ingested "meli maenomenon"
result in vertigo, delirium, nausea and vomiting, impaired
breathing, bradycardia, hypotension, cyanosis, muscle paralysis
and unconsciousness. Extreme ingestions can cause ventricular
tachycardia and other serious cardiac arrhythmias.
Acute Myocardial Infarction vs Toxic Honey Ingestion
In most emergency rooms in northern California, one of
the differential considerations for acute myocardial
infarction (heart attack) is mad (toxic) honey ingestion.
Today's Health Tip:
Honey is really no safer than sucrose. I would try to limit
the ingestion of honey just as you would any other simple
Stryer Biochemistry Fourth Edition
Dan McFeeley (The Ancient History)
His only address is:
This however, at least for me, was
a broken link.
Thanks for your attention.
Copyright 2005 John Mericle M.D. All Rights Reserved
http://DrMericle.com is devoted to achieving optimal health and peak performance through diet and lifestyle change. Dr. Mericle brings together a unique blend of formal training in organic chemistry and biochemistry, medical education, 29 marathons, 3 Hawaii Ironman competitions and a lot of practical real life experience.