Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Nutritional Value of a Honey Sandwich

I recently posted a question on my facebook page: Would you choose honey sandwiches and a suitable afternoon snack for your child? I got some great and varied feedback so I thought I would delve a little deeper.

The basic nutritional content of honey per tablespoon (25g) is 20.6g of sugar, 20.8g carbohydrates in total. 

One average slice of whole meal bread (40g) contains 16g carbohydrates
One average slice of white bread (40g) contains 18g carbohydrates

If you think about something high in sugar being around 2g per 100g and something high in sugar being 30g per 100g then I am sure you can see that if there is 20.6g of sugar in 25g of honey and we multiply this by four to make the per 100g version we have 82.4g per 100g! Wow!

Now lets add some bread and maybe even some banana whereby a medium banana has around 21.8g of carbs and of that 18.6g comes from sugar and I am sure you agree that is a HUGE amount of sugar - especially for a child.

Take into account also that non of these items are high in fats or proteins in order to help to even out the sugar hit and insulin spike you will get after consumption not to mention the crash that will come later. In my opinion any nutritional value you may gain from the honey cannot out weight the huge amount of sugar.  Give this to a child and the body treats it just the same way as it does chocolate and lollies.

I can think of SO many more preferable snacks to give my children that are highly nutritious, contain good fats and protein and are low in sugar.

I had a quick chat to mum of one, Naturopath and Nutritionist, Emma Sutherland, about her views on this topic:

“Just one tablespoon of honey contains approximately FIVE teaspoons of sugar and I am sure if you put that on a table with a slice of bread, every single parent would say no way, that¹s not a healthy afterschool snack! You make a great point Jen, this snack does not contain protein or fat to slow down the sugar spike. When we think of childhood obesity we often think of sugar laden soft drinks and processed foods but sometimes we need to be more careful and honey is the perfect example.

Recent research released in America has clearly stated that children are consuming the majority of their energy intake via energy dense and nutrient poor foods (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23340318).  Considering our soaring childhood obesity epidemic this points the way for more parent education and healthier school canteens.”

So for those of you that said that the honey sandwich was a treat or 'sometimes' food, you are spot on,  and for those of you that thought it was a good afternoon snack, I hope that this information might make you think twice and help you to choose other, more nutritionally sound and lower in sugar, foods for your child's regular snacks.

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