24 Feb 2012

Honey inclusion on foods to avoid list challenged

8:34 pm on 24 February 2012

The National Beekeepers Association has challenged the findings of a new report which says people should avoid eating honey.

Researchers at the University of Otago have published a new list of 49 foods and drinks which are very high in calories and low in essential nutrients. It includes crackers, tinned fruit, muesli, marmalade and honey.

Researcher Jane Elmslie says the list was put together to clarify which foods people can completely do without.

Dr Elmslie says 63% of New Zealanders are obese or overweight, and using these guidelines is one way to help them lose weight.

But Beekeepers Association chief executive Daniel Paul says while honey is a natural sweetener, it is not unhealthy.

Mr Paul says honey differs from sugar in that it retains minerals and vitamins. It has well-documented health benefits, including helping to build the immune system, and is a natural energy booster.

He believes the research is potentially damaging for the industry's reputation.