Soda, Halloween candy and other food products that contain high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners could one day get a fresh makeover using honey, one of the most ancient sweeteners, researchers say.
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign say that honey may be a healthier alternative than corn syrup due to its higher level of antioxidants, compounds which are believed to fight cancer, heart disease and other diseases.
Honey, which contains a number of antioxidant components that act as preservatives, also shows promise as a replacement for some synthetic antioxidants widely used as preservatives in salad dressings and other foods, according to Nicki Engeseth, Ph.D., associate professor of food chemistry at the university.
Dark-colored honey, such as buckwheat honey, is generally thought to contain higher levels of antioxidants than the light-colored varieties, according to the scientists. Previous studies by the researchers suggest that honey may have the same level of disease-fighting antioxidants as that of some common fruits.
The current study was presented by Engeseth Oct. 19 at the 36th Great Lakes regional meeting of the American Chemical Society, held in Peoria, Ill. ACS is the world’s largest scientific society.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization, chartered by the U.S. Congress, with a multidisciplinary membership of more than 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers. It publishes numerous scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
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