Is a Spoonful of Honey a Day Good for You?

Medically Reviewed on 10/6/2021
benefits of honey
Consuming two tablespoons of honey a day can offer health benefits such as antioxidants, better wound healing, and anti-inflammatory properties.

A spoonful of honey (about 21 grams) has the following nutritional content:

  • Energy: 64 kcal
  • Fructose (a type of carbohydrate): 8.6 grams
  • Total carbohydrates: 17.3 grams 
  • Protein: 0.06 grams
  • Various minerals: calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, fluoride, and selenium
  • Small amounts of vitamins (such as vitamin C, folate, B vitamins)
  • Various antioxidants or polyphenols

Honey is a form of sugar and, hence, must be consumed in moderation. The World Health Organization recommends adults should obtain no more than 10 percent of their total calories from added sugar or natural sugars, including honey, fruit juices, and syrups. Additionally, according to the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, less than six percent of an adult’s total calories should come from added sugar or natural sugars, including honey. Hence, if a person requires 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 calories should come from sugar, honey, and other added or natural sugars combined. This is roughly two tablespoons (about 40 grams) of honey. Honey in any form must, however, not be given to children younger than a year old.

Nonetheless, when consumed in moderation, the health benefits of honey include:

Are there any side effects of honey?

Honey must not be given to children younger than 12 months old due to the risk of a severe type of food poisoning called botulism.

Honey produced from the nectar of Rhododendron flowers must also be avoided because that type of honey contains a toxin that can cause serious health issues, including heart problems, chest pain, and low blood pressure.

If taking any medications (including blood thinners, anti-seizure medications, antidepressant medications, antifungals, or steroid medications, etc.), ask your doctor before consuming honey because it may increase the side effects of these medications.

Since honey is made from pollen, it can worsen pollen allergies in sensitive individuals.

Is honey safe during pregnancy?

Honey is generally safe when consumed as food by pregnant or breastfeeding women in moderation. Because there is a lack of data on the safety of honey for medicinal purposes in pregnant or breastfeeding women, they must avoid using honey for medicinal purposes or topical applications.

Is honey safe for people with diabetes?

Because honey is a form of sugar, it can raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes when consumed in large amounts. Honey can also lead to increased glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, which give a long-term average of blood sugar levels. Honey may be included in a diabetic diet in moderation after consulting a doctor. People with diabetes must avoid applying honey at dialysis exit sites because it may increase the risk of infection.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer
Medically Reviewed on 10/6/2021
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