A question we are often asked is what’s the difference between raw and processed (regular) honey? Here are some tips on choosing pure honey.
The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSAMZ) defines honey (not what is raw honey, just what is honey) as: “the natural sweet substance produced by honey bees from nectar of blossoms, which bees transform themselves within the beehive into honey.”
Raw honey, however, is generally described as: “honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining without adding heat.”
Here are 4 main differences between raw and regular honey.
- Raw honey isn’t processed
Raw honey (like AB’s Honey) undergoes minimal processing such as gentle low-temperature warming to allow it to flow for bottling and a light straining to remove larger particles such as leaves and non-honey debris.
Regular commercially produced honey undergoes processing, including pasteurisation (heating the honey to very high temperatures) that destroys yeast found in honey and ultrafiltration to prevent crystallisation and increase shelf life.
- Regular honey is not always honey (I can’t believe it’s not honey!)
In simple terms, raw honey is extracted from the beehive, strained and poured straight into the bottle– so what you get is just from the bees collected.
As mentioned, regular honey is often heavily processed with sugars, (including corn and glucose syrups added to increase the volume of honey, reduce the cost and extend its shelf-life. A recent investigation into commercial honey in Australia revealed almost 50% of honey tested was adulterated; and, 12 of the 28 samples tested were not 100 percent pure honey. (1)
- Most Regular Honey Doesn’t Contain Any Pollen
Bee pollen is collected with nectar by honey bees. While we often focus on honey, bee pollen has been shown to be “nutritious, containing over 250 substances, including vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, micronutrients and antioxidants” (2). And, according to the German Federal Ministry of Health, bee pollen is recognised as medicine (3), and has been linked to remarkable health benefits including reducing inflammation
Unfortunately, pasteurisation and other processing methods like ultrafiltration used in regular, commercially produced honey, may remove bee pollen (4). A study conducted in 2011 showed that over 75% of commercial honey in the USA contained no pollen. (5)
- Raw Honey Is More Nutritious
Raw honey has been shown to “several physiologically important amino acids, including all nine essential amino acids and all nonessential amino acids except for glutamine and asparagine”. (6) In addition, 31 different minerals were detected, “including all of the major minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium.”
Many studies linking these antioxidants with health benefits, including reduced inflammation and a lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers. (7) Unfortunately, commercially produced honey, i.e. honey that is heavily processed filtered, removes beneficial nutrients like pollen, enzymes and antioxidants.
Now that you understand the difference between raw and ‘regular’ honey we encourage you to try (what we think is) Australia’s best raw honey – AB’s Honey.
Our honey is 100% pure, raw, Australian honey. The products available from Simply Honey are sourced by the AB’s Team from our network of renowned beekeepers. Our honey is not pasteurised, processed or mixed with imports and fillers.