Honey is a natural food made by honey bees. It has a thick consistency, is super sweet, and has a sweet scent. Honey is generally healthy and has several nutrients that are beneficial to the body. Some people believe that raw honey is healthier than regular honey. Some feel that both kinds of honey are equally beneficial. The main difference between raw honey and regular honey is that raw honey does not undergo refining. It is extracted from the honeycombs, sieved to separate it from impurities such as wax, honeycombs, and dead bees, and finally packed in tins and bottles.

Regular honey, on the other hand, undergoes further processing before it is packed. Some of these processes may make the honey lose its nutrients and original scent. It undergoes processes such as pasteurization to remove yeast. Pasteurization of honey subjects it to high temperatures that may also interfere with some nutrients. It may also be filtered to remove more tiny impurities. Sadly, some regular honey contains added sweeteners and sugars, which are unhealthy. These additives are meant to prolong shelf life and increase their quantity due to high demand in the market. These extra processes that regular honey undergo make it smoother and clearer than raw honey. This article will highlight the main differences between raw and regular honey and the risks of consuming raw honey.

Differences between raw and regular honey

Regular honey contains additives that might not be healthy. These additives include sugar and other sweeteners. Some manufacturers go to the extent of adding molasses to the honey. There is a high demand for honey in the market that overwhelms the suppliers. They get tempted to add such additives to make it more and meet the demand. The added sugar may pose a danger of getting diseases such as diabetes. Raw sugar does not contain any added impurity. It is usually packed after undergoing one major process, which is sieving using a cloth. Therefore, raw honey is healthy than regular honey since it is pure, free from additives.

Raw honey contains more nutrients than regular honey. Raw honey is rich in plant compounds known as polyphenols which contain antioxidant properties. It also contains other enzymes, vitamins, and amino acids. During the processing of raw honey, all these nutrients are retained as it undergoes few processes. Antioxidants make raw honey possess special medicinal abilities. Consuming this honey lowers the risk of heart attack and developing different types of cancers. Antioxidants are also crucial in reducing inflammation hence protecting the body from diseases such as arthritis. Regular honey may contain these nutrients but in negligible amounts. A honey board in America found that raw honey has five times more antioxidants than regular honey. The processes that regular honey undergo are the main cause of the low antioxidants. Regular honey is sometimes diluted using fructose corn syrup, making it low concentration of these nutrients.

Regular honey lacks nectar and pollen grains. The process of ultra-filtration lowers the chances of having these nutrients. Nectar and pollen grains from different flowers are rich in vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids. They help in fighting diseases such as stroke and heart disease. Raw honey contains many pollen grains and nectar since it does not undergo ultra-filtration and intense heating, eliminating them.

Raw honey is thicker and cloudier than regular honey. Raw honey contains pollen grains, air bubbles, honeycomb debris, and nectar. During sieving, small particles may not filter out. Regular honey undergoes ultrafiltration that removes all these particles, making it smoother and clearer.

Health risks of consuming raw honey.

Raw honey contains a bacteria known as clostridium botulinum. People with guts problem should avoid this honey since the bacteria may thrive well in their guts. It may lead to various side effects such as nausea and vomiting. If such side effects occur with eating this honey, you should seek medical attention. Children below the age of one year should not eat this honey too. Their gut is weak, and these bacteria may thrive well in them, causing complications.

  • Raw honey contains numerous pollen grains. Some people are allergic to pollen grains. Such people may develop severe reactions after eating this honey. Therefore, they should avoid it and look for other better options.
  • Diabetic people should avoid honey at any cost. Though raw honey does not contain any added sugar, it is not healthy for diabetes. Honey may lead to rising in the blood sugar level of the patient.
  • Raw honey might aid in gaining weight. It is high in sugars and calories.  Therefore, take it with moderation. Some people use honey in place of other sweeteners such as sugar. It is more recommended if used for such purposes. It is a lesser evil compared to sugar.
  • Raw honey might lower blood pressure. Patients with high blood pressure can benefit from eating raw honey. However, taking too much raw honey might lower blood pressure below normal levels. Consume it in moderation.
  • Excess consumption of raw honey can cause constipation and other stomach issues such as diarrhea and bloat.
  • Eating raw honey may promote tooth decay. It is high in sugars that are not friendly to teeth. Ensure brushing of teeth after taking honey

The bottom line

Raw honey is better than regular honey. It contains more nutrients than regular honey since it is less processed. The refining of regular honey makes it lose some of the important nutrients in raw honey, such as antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamins. Regular honey may also contain additives that are not healthy. However, raw honey may not be safe for some people, such as children below one year, diabetic people, and those allergic to pollen grains. Raw honey has health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and preventing the growth of cancer cells. While choosing honey, choose raw honey since it is healthy. One can be able to differentiate it from regular honey by its appearance. Raw honey is cloudy and thicker than regular honey.


We would like to thank the below contributors who have helped us to write this article:


MS, University of Tartu
Sleep specialist

Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.

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