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Honey is a natural food, and it is not possible to remove the sugars from it. For people that like the taste of honey but not the calories and carbohydrates it contains, sugar-free honey is a man-made substitute. This product is a sweetener that is made to look and taste like honey, but derives its sweetness from sources other than sugars. It is often used by dieters, diabetics and others who enjoy the flavor of honey but are unable to eat it for a variety of reasons.
For many, sugar-free honey not only has the look of honey, but also the taste. These people tend to feel that this manufactured product is almost as good as the real thing, and makes a highly acceptable substitute for natural honey. Those who have a liking for sugar-free honey often advocate its use in drinks, recipes and on foods such as hot cereal and toast.
Other people are less enthusiastic about using sugar-free honey. One common complaint is that the taste is not quite the same as the traditional product. They cite not only flavor differences, but also significant discrepancies in viscosity, with real honey typically considered to be quite a bit thicker.
Overall, many people seem to accept that sugar-free honey is a useful substitute for natural honey. It is especially important for diabetics, many of whom are required to eat only foods low in carbohydrates. The fact that it is sugar-free allows people who cannot have any honey at all to add it back into their diets, though in a somewhat altered form.
Sugar-free honey is made with various ingredients, depending on the manufacturer. One sweetener commonly used is maltitol. This product contains carbohydrates that come from sugar alcohols. Since these are metabolized differently than other sugars and do not have a significant impact on blood sugar, they are not counted as carbohydrates. The number of calories per serving is also typically reduced.
For diabetics, this means that a sugar-free honey made with maltitol may indicate on the label that it has 17 carbs per serving, but all of those coming from the sugar alcohols can be disregarded. In many cases this means that the net number of carbohydrates per serving, or those that are counted, may only be 4 or 5, instead of 17. Other sugar substitutes that are used to make sugar-free honey, such as xylitol, work in a similar fashion.