Blood & Honey Home
About the Film
Project Director
Film Team
Advisory Board
Supporting Organizations
Diabetes & Honey
Film Update
Support the Film
Watch Sample Reel
Honey and Diabetes

What does honey have to do with diabetes?

Honey BeesDiabetes Mellitus means “the passing through of honey.” Before urine or blood testing, doctors determined whether or not someone had diabetes by tasting their urine. If the urine tasted sweet, like honey, the patient was deemed to have diabetes.

Why would the urine be sweet?

After food is eaten it is converted into sugar or “glucose” to be used as fuel by the cells. Insulin, a protein hormone, is like a messenger that goes to the cells and tells them to open up and accept the glucose. When one has either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the cells do not properly receive the message to accept the glucose and therefore the glucose becomes toxic in the system. This state is known as “high blood sugar” or “hyperglycemia.” The glucose must then be passed out of the body through the urine. Thus, the urine tastes sweet like honey. Prolonged hyperglycemia can lead to serious complications such as blindness, kidney failure, amputation, and even death.

The lifesaving properties of honey

Ironically, sugar or honey may also be lifesaving for people with diabetes during times of low blood sugar or “hypoglycemia.” When there is too much insulin in relation to the amount of food or glucose in the system, hypoglycemia occurs. People can die within an eight-hour period if not treated. Honey is a common treatment for hypoglycemia as it quickly raises blood glucose levels.