Is Honey Paleo?


Honey is another one of those foods that falls into a gray area in the Paleo lifestyle. On the one hand, it’s sugar. On the other hand, it’s a whole food (and we generally recommend eating whole foods whenever possible). So which is it? Harmful or beneficial?

Paleo and Sugar

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Because honey is sugar, it does tend to raise blood sugar levels. Higher blood sugar leads to higher levels of insulin, and chronically high insulin leads to insulin resistance, a metabolic disorder in which the cells have become so inundated with insulin they stop accepting it. The pancreas has to respond by producing even more insulin and the vicious cycle continues.

Paleo and Nutrition

On the other hand, honey contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Albeit these are only present in small amounts, but it might be enough to mitigate some of the down sides to consuming sugar. Studies have found that consuming honey leads to lower levels of inflammation, lower blood sugar, lower levels of LDL and higher levels of HDL than consuming table sugar.


Honey is probably a better choice than table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, but beware that it is still sugar. If you’re sufficiently active, or if you’re just one of those individuals that can handle a higher carb content, there’s no reason you can’t get some of those carbs from honey. If, on the other hand, you feel better on an extremely low-carb diet, then you should probably avoid honey.

Mark Sisson has a number of reasons to eat honey.