Is Manuka Honey really a “Superfood”?

Many people consider Manuka honey as a “SuperFood”, but is this really true, or is it just a scam? First of all what is the definition of a Superfood? What is Manuka honey? Why do people call it a superfood? Let’s find out.
According to Oxford English Dictionary, a Superfood is “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”. Manuka honey is a unique type of honey produced in New Zealand, by the bees that pollinate Manuka trees. 250g of Manuka honey with the UMF of 15+ costs 5000-8000 yen depending on the brand while normal honey costs less than half the price for 1kg. Many believe that Manuka honey are a superfood because it is said to treat colds, allergies, infections, acne, etc.
In 100g of Manuka honey, there are approximately 300 calories. In 5g, there are about 15 calories. Most of it are sugar, with no fat, sodium or protein. There are some vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B6, but not much.

One of the main nutrients in Manuka honeys are carbohydrates, specifically simple sugars. Sugar is used for energy. It also helps your brain focus. But too much is unhealthy, since extra carbs turn into fat, and it can cause diabetes and some other diseases. In 100g of Manuka honey, there are roughly 80g of sugar. For 5g (about a teaspoon) there are 4g.
Another food that has a lot of sugar, is a Caramello candy bar. In 100g, there are about 56.92g of sugar. But I wouldn’t recommend replacing Caramello bars instead of Manuka honey even if they contain less sugar. One of the reason is that Caramello bars contain approximately 21.19g of fat in 100g, while Manuka honey has none. Caramello has higher calories than Manuka honey too. Also, Caramello bars use artificial flavourings, and Polyglycerol polyricinoleate– a chemical compound used to cut down the costs of chocolates. Because it is a processed product, the ingredients include lot of chemicals to keep the food from going bad. So Manuka honey would be the better choice.

Other nutrients in Manuka honey, are potassium. This nutrient is used to enhance muscle strength, metabolism, water balance and more. In 100g, Manuka honey, has approximately 52mg of potassium. In 5g, there are 2.6g.
A food with a lot of potassium, is bacon. There are roughly 201mg of Potassium in 100g of unprepared bacon. That’s more than 4 times the amount in Manuka honey! But it doesn’t necessarily mean that bacon is better, because bacon has about 37.13g of fat, 751mg of sodium and 393 calories while Manuka honey has less or none of these. Even though there are more potassiums in bacon, bacon still has way more fat and sodium and calories so I think Manuka honey is better.

Which is better honey or sugar? Although they both have pros and cons, I would still say Manuka honey. One of the advantages is that you can use less amounts of honey but have the same sweetness. This is because fructose is sweeter than glucose, and honey has more amounts of fructose. The second reason is, too much sugar increases the risk of getting diabetes or weight increase. Besides, they are said to be antibiotics but according to snopes this information is not definite and “mostly false”. A disadvantage is that honey is higher in calories than sugar. It is also way higher in cost and unsafe for younger kids.
Honey and Sugar have different tastes, textures, and looks. Healthwise, I think honey is healthier due to the various vitamin and minerals. I think it really depends on the situation–whether we want a sweetener with less calorie, or more nutrients.

So is Manuka honey a superfood? From my Personal experience, I think it does help with acne and sore throats but this is not scientifically proven. I wouldn’t really consider it as a Superfood according to the sites I have looked into. But the definition of a superfood is not specific. According to LiveScience, “‘superfood’ is more of a marketing term”. Companies label their products as a “Superfood” whether they actually have high and various health benefits or not, and sell them for lots of money. Even though Manuka honey may have some health benefits and nutrients, I don’t think it’s right for companies to call it a superfood and make Manuka honeys expensive, because honey is still full of sugar and too much is not healthy. Of course this opinion might change overtime with further experiment and research. To conclude, I would not consider Manuka honey as a “superfood”.
Citations:
Axe, Josh. “Is Manuka Honey Even Healthier than Normal Raw Honey?” Dr. Axe, 8 Apr. 2018, draxe.com/manuka-honey-benefits-uses/. Accessed
3 May 2018.
Butler, RD, LD, Natalie. “Honey vs. Sugar: Which Is Better?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 2 Nov. 2016, www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/honey-vs-sugar#honey.
“FACT CHECK: Is Manuka Honey ‘Better Than All Known Antibiotics?’.” Snopes.com, 20 Oct. 2017,
www.snopes.com/fact-check/is-manuka-honey-better-than-all-known-antibiotics/.
Food Composition Databases Show Foods — Candies, CARAMELLO Candy Bar, ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/19075?fgcd=%2C. Accessed 3
May 2018
Food Composition Databases Show Foods — MANUKA HEALTH, MGO 550+ MANUKA HONEY, UPC: 895015001568,
ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/45030529?fgcd=%2C. Accessed 3 May 2018.
“Learning About Carbohydrates.” Edited by Jane M. Benton, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Apr. 2017,
kidshealth.org/en/kids/carb.html?WT.ac=ctg. Accessed 3 May 2018.
“Learning About Proteins.” Edited by Mary L. Gavin, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Oct. 2014,
kidshealth.org/en/kids/protein.html?WT.ac=ctg. Accessed 3 May 2018.
Samarghandian, Saeed, et al. “Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research.” Pharmacognosy Research, Medknow Publications & Media. Accessed 3 May 2018.
Pvt Ltd, Apr.-Jun. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424551/. Accessed 3 May 2018.
Wanjek, Christopher. “What Are Superfoods?” LiveScience, Purch, 11 May 2015, 9:15pm, www.livescience.com/34693-superfoods.html+.

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