People tout the eating plan for being good for your health and the environment, but the “rules” about being a plant-based eater are a little murky (hence all those search results). Is plant-based the same as vegetarian? Or vegan? How much meat can you eat? And what about desserts?
Among that litany of questions is one that has been dividing plant-based eaters since long before the diet was trending: honey or no honey? The official vegan stance is that honey is a no-go since it's an animal product, but some vegans and other plant lovers are down with the sweet stuff.
So which side is right? While we weren’t able to settle the debate (sorry), we did ask the vegans in the Well+Good office for their takes on a plant-based alternative. Pyure Organic Harmless Hunny is organic, sugar-free, high-fiber, and satisfies the craving for honey without involving bees since it's made from plants. Because sometimes you're just in the mood for something sweet—without a side of debate.
Keep reading for these two plant-based Well+Good staffers' perspective on vegan honey.
Amanda Copping, account manager
Copping was diagnosed with PCOS and insulin resistance three years ago, which is when she switched to a plant-based diet. "Since PCOS is a hormone disorder, I try to avoid things with added hormones in them," she says. For her, that means meat, eggs, and dairy are off limits, but honey gets the green light.
However, because of her insulin resistance, she tries to keep her sugar intake to a minimum. "I've been actively trying to live a low-sugar lifestyle, which can be a really tricky space to navigate, especially when natural foods like fruit and honey aren’t necessarily low in sugar." Familiar with this dilemma?
On the health front, honey has a reputation for being a better-for-you sweetener alternative (because it's natural, right?), but if your motivation for going plant-based is to cut down your sugar intake, honey is actually slightly higher in sugar than table sugar at six grams per teaspoon vs. four.
With 10 grams of fiber per tablespoon and zero grams of sugar thanks to organic stevia leaf extract, Harmless Hunny comes in clutch when Copping's sweet tooth strikes. "My general rule of thumb is to rule out any foods that contain more than 10 grams of sugar, so this is a perfect alternative for me to add to my morning toast or coconut yogurt," she says. Talk about every vegan's dream come true.
Gina Drutz, account manager
Drutz has also been following a plant-based lifestyle for about three years, but her motivation for avoiding animal products is slightly different. After learning about the positive health benefits and environmental impact a vegan diet can have (thanks to a documentary or two) she decided to fully commit to veganism, which for her means nixing honey.
"I’ve made a conscious effort to remove honey from my diet because bees are responsible for pollinating so many different types of plants and maintaining a healthy ecosystem," she says. "I believe commercial beekeeping is unsustainable and harmful in the long run, so I’m always looking for honey alternatives."
Going vegan also meant giving up a lot of her favorite desserts, so she's had to experiment with creative ways to satisfy her cravings for sweets—which led her to Harmless Hunny. "It's great to know that this is an option when I'm looking for a sweetener to add to my oatmeal, tea, or a dessert recipe," Drutz adds. Vegans, rejoice—your honey dilemma just got solved.
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Top photo: Getty/WestEnd51
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