Why is Cultured Honey Not Necessarily a Healthful Food?
For many generations, honey is considered by many as a health-giving food because of the many benefits that can be derived from consuming it. This is because honey contains natural ingredients derived from flowers or fruits that honey bees collect in their hives to feed the colony of honey bees and of course, man. Honey is recognized as an important food source with curative properties. Nowadays, cultured honey bees supply the high demand for honey.
Honey contains naturally derived sugars like glucose and fructose that play important roles in preventing fatigue during exercise. Glucose is easily absorbed by the body that serves as an immediate energy source giving that instant boost of energy. Fructose is responsible for sustaining that energy boost because this type of sugar is absorbed by the body slowly. Compared to other types of sugar, honey is known to keep the body’s blood sugar fairly constant. This is great news to people with diabetes whose blood sugar levels can fluctuate to dangerous levels.
Cultured Honey Bees
Recently, however, this author discovered that not all sugars found in honey are derived by honey bees from nature. This presents questions on the health benefits that can be derived from honey. He found out that honey bees, to be specific -- cultured honey bees, collect their “nectar” from restaurants. Cultured honey bees prowl the cities as cultured honey bees are known to collect nectar and pollen within a radius of about four kilometers from their hive, or culture box, for that matter. He observed this not only once, but twice, while dining in open area restaurants. Honey bees alight and collect their “nectar” from soft drink bottles and cups of dining customers.
A cultured bee found flying around and alighting on a cup of iced tea in a restaurant.
Man-made Sugar, No Big Deal?
You may say that this feeding habit of bees on man-made sugars may not be a big deal because what the bees feed on are still considered as sugars like anything else. In fact, during lean times when flowers are not in abundance, cultured honey bees are given supplemental refined sugars. But think about the possibility that these bees may be able to pick up disease-causing bacteria or viruses in the course of their “nectar” collection. Once the used up bottles and cups are thrown into the waste bins, the honey bees could fly and take a sip in those refuse along with flies and cockroaches. How about the possibility that some customers in restaurants may have hepatitis or similar disease that can be carried by honey bees as vectors?
Honey Bees Sanitize their Hive
The honey bees are known to sanitize their hive while they deposit the nectar and pollen into the compartments. But we do not know if possible human diseases carried through the “nectar” can be neutralized by those bee products like propolis and royal jelly which are known as natural antibiotics. Propolis and royal jelly are derived from botanical sources like tree buds and sap flows.
Research can give light to the questions posed above. One possible research design is to compare the quality of honey produced near the city and those obtained from the rural areas, far from unnatural nectar sources.