A UK based campaign group, ‘Action on Sugar’, recently analysed the sugar content of 223 honey, sugar and syrup products available in most UK supermarkets. The results proved that the honey products contained up to 86% free sugars (sugars derived from fruit juice, honey or syrup). Products which were labelled as being ‘made with honey’, were in fact made with up to 25 times more table sugar as opposed to honey.
Many leading eateries have also been named by Action on Sugar for promoting healthy honey products, but are still containing a person’s maximum daily sugar intake. Muesli and Porridge are among some of the products being served which contain a larger sugar content than being displayed.
The group have voiced that it should be mandatory for products to have labelling on the front of the packaging, clearly displaying the contribution to daily free sugar intake. The group has also advised the UK’s Health Minister to add clearer labelling to these products in his upcoming prevention green paper. Action on Sugar have further stated, “experts are deeply concerned that consumers are still adding excessive amounts of honey and syrups to food and drink products believing them to be ‘healthy alternatives’ to table sugar, not knowing there is almost as much sugar in them as in table sugar”.
The health benefits around honey is still not fully supported according to Action on Sugar with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence stating that honey is a sugar and therefore can contribute to tooth decay. Campaign Lead at Action on Sugar, Dr Kawther Hashem stated. “It’s disappointing that companies boast about products containing honey, knowing that honey and syrups are nearly as high in sugars as table sugars. The amount added is often really small (1 or 2g) while the main sweetening ingredient continues to be other high-sugar syrups and table sugar (25g).”
Randox Food Diagnostics provide screening solutions for the detection of sugars in honey. Glucose/Fructose tests can be run on the RX misano, a small bench-top spectrophotometer as well as the verification of honey being heated through the presence of Diastase and HMF.