Ida Honorof publishes a newsletter entitled “Report to the Consumer.” She usually goes into a subject in-depth and certainly she is one of the most outspoken persons in America on environmental concerns.
Anyway, in March she published an extensive article about honey. She recommends it in place of sugar. But, to her credit, she gives us a very frank appraisal of honey as a food and points out that better sugars are to be found in organically grown fruits.
First, she points out that, though pesticides are toxic to bees, not all bees succumb to toxic substances and that today’s honeys cannot be called organic in any sense—most honey has pesticide residues in it. Bees gather this from flowers along with the nectar and pollen.
Then there’s the matter of the nutritiousness of honey. It has only minute quantities of nutrients though it has “nutritional merit.” Ms. Honorof says, “Many people converted to using honey, often excessively, despite the fact that to the human body, honey is hardly different than refined sugar—remember honey was meant for the bee.” Which is to say that honey is not our natural food but natural food for the bee.
She quotes a famed bee specialist, Colonel Clair of Hawaii. Some of the data she quotes turns out to be very revealing, a lot more than honey promoters would appreciate.
First, most beekeepers rob their bees of practically all the honey and substitute for it water and sugar or wastes from candy factories. Anything sweet and cheap is substituted for the honey taken from the bees. The result is diseased bees. Further, the chemical industry has begun furnishing “medicines” or drugs for beekeepers just as they have furnished “medicines” for humans.
We Life Scientists have great concern for bees. They are our symbiotic partners in Nature. And the despoliation of bees must lead to our own—we are very much despoiled and depraved already.
It seems the worst enemies of bees these days are uninformed beekeepers who try to exploit bees to the maximum. They are paid for their hives by orchardists. Then they rob the bees of honey too. That doesn’t mean the apiarists are making it rich but it does mean the poor bees are being meanly used, not only to their detriment but to ours! Of course this applies only to most beekeepers who supply in huge quantities the refined honey on supermarket shelves.
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Ms. Honorof’s article is in many ways revealing. One of the closing highlights is that honey, itself, is practically non-nutritious. It is the pollen grains in the honey that bear most of the nutrient complement.
Colonel Clair, her source of information, cautions against using heated honey altogether. He praises honey for its “antibiotic qualities.”
That praise must be, to thinking people, damnation! For antibiotic means “against life.” While they mean antibacterial, the word is correct, for an antibiotic is truly against all life.
But the clincher is the final admonition: “Honey must be eaten sparingly, in very small amounts.” Our own admonition is: If anything must be eaten in moderation or sparingly, it should not be eaten at all.