Health Benefits and Risks of Honey

Health Benefits and Risks of Honey

For most people, honey is a sweet treat that could even have added health benefits. However, there are a few specific risks that you need to consider when serving honey to your friends or family. Let's take a look at how honey can both help and harm people.

Health benefits of honey

Honey is extremely useful for soothing a sore mouth or relieving an irritating cough. Mix some honey with hot water and lemon to create a soothing drink when you have a cough or cold.

Some research suggests that honey has antibacterial properties. For this reason, some people apply honey to burns or wounds to improve healing. Talk to a doctor before you apply honey to any part of your body to see if it is an appropriate treatment for you.

Who should avoid eating honey?

Most people can eat honey without coming to any harm, but there are a few groups of people who should avoid it.

  • Babies: Honey is a natural product, and so there’s a small risk that it can contain botulism spores, which can cause sickness in babies. Therefore, it’s best to avoid giving honey to infants under one year old, although adults and older children can safely enjoy it.
  • People with pollen allergies: Honey is made from pollen and can cause allergic reactions in a few people.
  • Diabetics: People with diabetes can enjoy honey, but only in small quantities. Honey is very high in natural sugars, which means that eating too much of it can cause your blood sugar to spike. However, honey is sweeter than table sugar, so diabetics may be able to reduce sugar consumption by using a small amount of honey instead of the sugar they would normally use.
  • Vegans: Many vegans regard all animal products, including honey, as forms of exploitation. They may also regard eating honey as unethical because even careful beekeepers can’t avoid injuring or killing some bees while harvesting the honey.


Honey is delicious and could help you feel better when you have a cough or cold. As honey is so high in sugar, it’s important to enjoy it in small quantities as part of a varied and balanced diet. It’s particularly important to limit your consumption of honey, as well as other sweet foods, if you have diabetes.

If you’re not sure whether honey is suitable for you to eat, talk to your doctor. A doctor or nutritionist can provide advice about how to create a suitable diet plan.


Hannah Whiteoak is a professional freelance writer from the United Kingdom. She’s been writing full-time for roughly five years and specializes in science and health topics.


“Find a Vitamin or Supplement: Honey” (WebMD)
“I have diabetes, and I’m wondering if I can substitute honey for sugar in my diet?” (Mayo Clinic)
“Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity” (NCBI)
“Is it true that honey calms coughs better than cough medicine does?” (Mayo Clinic)
“Is Honey Vegan?” (Grassroots Veganism)