Some research suggests honey lowers triglycerides, but scientists are unsure how this works. Honey is a source of fructose, and previous research links this form of sugar with high triglycerides.

For example, a 2019 review notes that several previous studies have linked fructose intake with elevated triglyceride levels.

However, there is some evidence honey may not have this effect. This could be because of the other substances that honey contains.

This article will explore whether honey lowers triglycerides. It will also describe the effects of honey versus sugar, how much honey to eat, how to use it in food, and other foods that lower triglycerides.

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Scientific evidence suggests that honey can lower triglyceride levels, but it is unclear exactly how this happens.

A 2021 review and analysis of seven clinical trials found that natural honey significantly reduces triglycerides. The review also found that honey consumption had links to higher “good” cholesterol and lower levels of “bad” cholesterol.

A 2022 review also suggests that natural honey leads to reduced triglycerides. Though scientists are not sure of the causes of this effect, one reason may be that honey contains compounds similar to niacin, or vitamin B3.

Niacin, which doctors can prescribe as nicotinic acid, helps reduce triglycerides. Another reason could be that honey causes the body to release insulin, which could lower triglyceride levels.

However, not all studies have reached the same conclusions. A 2015 study comparing honey, sucrose, and high-fructose corn syrup found they all had the same effect, raising triglyceride levels. Overall, more research into the topic is necessary.

There are many types of sugar. Table sugar, or white sugar, is sucrose. Many food products contain other types of sugar, such as drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup.

Compared with these added sugars, honey is the only type that may decrease triglyceride levels. While a diet generally high in fructose links with high triglycerides, honey appears to reduce them in moderate amounts, although not all studies have found this.

While honey contains fructose, it also has other, more complex sugars. Additionally, it is a source of certain enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which may change its effects on the body.

Manuka honey comes from the nectar of the manuka tree. It contains the same compounds as other honey but has additional antibacterial, antioxidant, and anticancer properties.

One unique characteristic of manuka honey is its higher phenol content. Some evidence suggests that certain phenolic compounds in honey may impact lipid levels. However, no studies have compared manuka with other types of honey in relation to lowering triglycerides.

It is unclear how much honey people with high triglycerides should eat per day. In the 2021 review, the trials the scientists analyzed used a wide range of amounts, from 20–75 grams (g).

Because of this range, the authors could not say the best dosage. However, all the trials showed some benefit, so the authors recommend eating a small amount of honey each day, exceeding no more than 75 g.

It is important to remember that, despite honey’s benefits, it is still a type of added sugar. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), added sugars should not exceed 10% of someone’s daily calories.

Consuming 75 g of honey equates to around 228 calories. If a person eats 2,000 calories per day, this amount of honey would exceed the CDC’s range at 11.4% of a person’s caloric intake.

This also does not take into account any other added sugars a person may potentially consume. However, because honey is sweeter than table sugar, eating this much may not be necessary.

An easy way to use honey is to use it instead of sugar. For example, a person can use it to sweeten:

  • drinks, such as tea
  • plain cereals, such as oatmeal
  • fruit, such as apples or berries
  • plain or Greek yogurt
  • homemade dressings, sauces, and marinades
  • glazes for vegetables or meat

People may also be able to find store-bought products that only contain honey as a sweetener. However, it is important to read the label carefully. Other added sugars can appear under many names, such as:

  • glucose
  • dextrose
  • maltodextrin
  • corn syrup
  • molasses

These ingredients will add to a person’s sugar intake.

In addition to honey, other foods may help lower triglycerides.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends a generally heart-healthy diet, focusing on:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • dairy that is low in fat or fat-free
  • lean sources of protein, such as tofu or chicken
  • healthy fats from oily fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds

A 2017 review also found evidence that certain functional foods may lower triglycerides, including:

  • soy protein
  • green tea
  • red yeast rice
  • products containing plant sterols
  • foods containing omega-3s from marine sources

There is a small amount of evidence that seaweed and garlic may also have some benefits, but more research is necessary to determine their effectiveness.

Some evidence suggests honey in moderate amounts may lower triglyceride levels. Honey contains more complex sugars than simpler sugars, such as white sugar. It also has a range of other trace nutrients, which may explain its benefits. However, more research is necessary, as not all studies have had the same findings.

When choosing how much honey to eat, keep in mind that 10% or less of a person’s daily calories should come from added sugars. People can use small amounts of honey to replace sugar and to sweeten foods or beverages, such as oatmeal, tea, and yogurt.

It is important to combine these changes with an overall heart-healthy diet. People can speak with a doctor or dietitian for more help adjusting their diet to lower triglycerides.