All About Raw Honey: How Is It Different Than Regular Honey?
Honey is a thick, sweet syrup made by honey bees.
It’s loaded with healthy plant compounds.
What Is Raw Honey?
Raw honey is best described as honey “as it exists in the beehive” ( 1 ).
It is made of honey and the beeswax and dead bees ( 2 ).
Once strained, raw honey is bottled and ready to be enjoyed.
On the other hand, it is bottled – such as pasteurization and filtration ( 1 ).
Pasteurization is a process that destroys the yeast found in honey by applying high heat. This helps extend the shelf life and makes it smoother (2).
Also, filtration further removes impurities like debris and air bubbles so that the honey stays as a clear liquid for longer. This is aesthetically appealing to many consumers (2).
Some commercial honeys are additionally processed by undergoing ultrafiltration. This process further refines it to make it more transparent and smooth, but it can also remove beneficial nutrients like pollen, enzymes and antioxidants (2, 3, 4).
Moreover, some manufacturers may add sugar or sweeteners to honey to reduce costs.
SUMMARYRaw and regular honey differ mainly in how they are processed. Raw honey contains pollen, may be more nutritious and does not have any added sugars or sweeteners, both of which may be present in commercial honeys.
What Are the Main Differences Between Raw and Regular Honey?
Raw and regular honey are processed quite differently.
This can lead to a variety of distinctions between the two, especially in quality.
Here are the main differences between raw and regular honey.
Raw Honey Is More Nutritious
Raw honey contains a wide variety of nutrients.
Most Regular Honey Does not Contain Any Pollen
Bees travel from flower to flower collecting nectar and pollen.
The nectar and pollen are taken back to the beehive, where they are packed into the bees ( 12 ).
Bee pollen is surprisingly nutritious, contains vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, micronutrients and antioxidants ( 13 ).
In fact, the German Federal Ministry of Health recognizes bee pollen as a medicine ( 14 ).
Bee pollen has been linked to many impressive health benefits. . Studies have found that it may help fight inflammation and improve liver function. It also has properties that may help fight against heart disease and stroke ( 15 ).
Unfortunately, processing methods like heat treatment and ultrafiltration can remove bee pollen ( 2 ).
For example, one unofficial study analyzed 60% of all samples contained in pollen.
Regular Honey May Have Hidden Sugars or Sweeteners
Approximately 400 million pounds of honey are consumed in the US each year ( 16 ).
Because honey is so popular, it’s hard to meet this demand. This is why about 70% of the honey consumed in the US is imported ( 17 ).
SUMMARY Raw and regular honey differ mainly in how they are processed. Raw honey contains pollen, may be more sugars or sweeteners, both of which may be present in commercial honeys.
Most Health Benefits Are Attributed to Raw Honey
Honey has been linked to some impressive health benefits .
However, it is higher for antioxidants and other beneficial components.
One of these components is an enzyme called glucose oxidase. This enzyme helps produce molecules that give the honey its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties ( 24 ).
. Unfortunately, this enzyme can be destroyed by processes like heating and filtering ( 2 ).
Also, it’s not very much clean antioxidants as raw honey. For example, an unofficial study found that minimally processed honey, but significantly fewer enzymes.
If you want to be sure to get all the health benefits, then you should choose raw honey.
Raw Honey Is Not the Same as Organic
Raw and organic honeys are subject to different regulations in different countries.
Honey that is not allowed to be pasteurized or processed.
Conversely, organic honey must follow the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ( 25 ).
This means the flowers and honey are not allowed to come into contact with USDA’s criteria.
However, there is no specific rule that can not be pasteurized or processed. In the US, i.e. organic honey may also be pasteurized and processed.
SUMMARY Raw and organic honey are subject to different regulations in different countries. In the US, there is no rules that can not be heated.