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You may be wondering, “What food group is honey?” and honestly, to some, that would seem to be a silly question. To others, however, it isn’t so clear cut. In this article, we’ll delve into what food group honey is in as well as address some misconceptions about how honey is classified.
What Class of Food Does Honey Belong To?
Out of the common food classifications, honey is in a world of its own. There are classifications for vegetables and legumes, dairy, meats, grains and cereals, but surprisingly honey falls into neither of these categories.
So, what food category is honey?
What Food Category Is Honey?
Out of the aforementioned food categories, honey fits in none of them. Rather, honey is considered a nutritive sweetener similar to that of molasses, maple syrup and table sugars.
If honey is a nutritive sweetener, then it bears mentioning what would be considered a non-nutritive sweetener. Non-nutritive sweeteners are typically your zero calorie add-ins like Stevia, aspartame, Splenda and the like.
Contrary to what you might think, the term “nutrtiuve” and “non-nutritive” doesn’t necessarily mean that one is more nutritious than the other category. It really depends on how you look at it. Nevertheless, it can be said that all nutritive sweeteners contain calories, while non-nutritive sweeteners do not, which makes it easier to classify these items on your own when confronted with them.
What Type of Food Is Honey ?
Honey is a type of food that is golden in color and viscous in substance. It is often added to drinks, baked goods, sauces and more to add sweetness and flavor.
Similar to table sugar, honey is not classified as any particular food group, but is looked at as an additive to enhance flavors and to impart sweetness.
One fact that many find shocking about honey is that, compared to table sugar, honey is actually much sweeter. Therefore, it will take less honey to sweeten items you’d normally sweeten with table sugar.
To balance out the above fact, however, it is important to remember that honey also costs more per ounce. Therefore, bear in mind that though you’ll use less honey in baked goods and other recipes, you’ll spend much more at the store for it when compared to regular table sugar.
What Kind of Food Is Honey?
Despite coming from bees, honey isn’t technically a “food” as one might define it. Honey comes from the collecting of flower nectar by bees and then, by a specific process initiated by the bees themselves, honey is formed. When this happens, collectors collect the honey and store it or sell it in the market for consumers to purchase.
All in all, honey should simply be looked at as a nutritive sweetener. But it is important to note that honey can come in many forms. Though honey in its natural state is liquid, it can be dried by removing the water from it. It can be sold in granulated or powdered form. This works well for certain recipes or if you want less mess when dipping up your honey for use.
What Food Group Is Honey In?
When wondering, “What food group does honey belong to ?” bear in mind that food groups flex and flow all the time, and often change as time goes on.
As of now, there are five food groups as defined by the USDA and they are fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. Out of all of these food groups, as you could probably guess, table sugar, maple syrup, molasses, and yes, honey fit into none of these categories. Instead, they are all considered sweeteners.
For information about how honey is labeled in the food industry, see the FDA’s Proper Labeling of Honey and Honey Products Guide.
What Kind of Food Is Honey Classified As?
Rather than being limited to a specific food group, honey is classified as a nutritive sweetener as it does add calories. In fact, honey has much more calories than table sugar. But it also provides more nutrients than table sugar on the whole.
Some nutrients that can be found at miniscule levels within honey are: niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron and much more.
Just be sure not to use honey as a replacement for foods that are more dense in these nutrient. Although honey has vitamins present, it isn’t a very large amount.
Is Honey a Food or Drink?
Honey is neither a food or a drink, but can be added to such and often is.
You may be thinking, “Honey is a food because you can eat it”. The truth is that honey is not a complete food in the way that we would generally consider a food source. For that reason it is not included as part of the five food groups.
Nevertheless, honey is edible and is even used for the healing of some wounds and skin abrasions due to its antiseptic properties. As always, see a physician before attempting to self-medicate using honey on wounds or abrasions.
Is Honey Raw Meat ?
Surprisingly, many have questioned, “Is honey raw meat according to the FDA?”.
The answer to this question is a resounding no. Raw meat is animal flesh. Instead, the FDA honey classification is as follows: “a thick, sweet, syrupy substance that bees make as food from the nectar of plants or secretions of living parts of plants and store in honeycombs.”
Is Honey a Fruit?
Despite having nutrients, being sweet and being naturally found in nature, honey is composed of fructose and glucose and does not contain the fibers, flesh or seeds that generally constitute fruits found in nature. Therefore, honey can not be defined as a fruit.
Honey Is in a League of Its Own
All in all, when it comes to classifying honey, it is in a league of its own when compared to other things we eat.
Honey is regarded as a nutritive sweetener as is table sugar and other sweeteners. But its nutritional profile is better than that of table sugar if you ignore the added calories. And despite much talk and confusion, honey is not considered a raw meat or a fruit, nor has it ever been.
We hope this has provided clarification to the question of “ What food group is honey?”
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