Healthy Living

3 Reasons Vegans Avoid Honey

One of the goals of veganism is to minimize animal exploitation and cruelty. For this advocacy, vegans avoid eating animal products, like meat, eggs and dairy.

But there has been a long debate among the people on a vegan diet because they feel that food produced by animals or insects, such as honey, should be avoided.

Some vegans on their “entirely plant-based diet” still add honey to their meal plans, but most of them consider the bee-produced food as non-vegan. 

Why Is Honey Bad For Vegans?

1. Honey farming affects bee health

Honey provides bees with carbohydrates and other essential nutrients, including antioxidants, amino acids and natural antibiotics. They store and consume honey during winter months to survive the cold weather. 

Many vegans avoid eating honey as they believe commercial honey farming harms bees. Manufacturers harvest honey by replacing it with sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup to feed the bees. These supplemental carbs lack many beneficial nutrients found in honey, according to Healthline.

2. Exploitation of bees

Aside from replacing their natural food, farmers are implementing other practices that vegans find unethical similar to other forms of animal farming. Such practices include clipping the wings of queen bees to prevent them from fleeing the hive and killing entire colonies to prevent potential spread of a disease. 

3. Declining bee populations

Vegans also avoid buying bee-produced products since commercial farming and commercial beekeeping practices have been contributing to the declining number of bee populations around the world. Artificial insemination, manually replacing a hive queen, putting colonies in large hives and interfering natural protection from the environment affect the bees’ genetic diversity.

Bees play an important role in the environment. These insects help plants reproduce by transferring pollen and seeds. A sudden drop in the bee population could affect crop yields and plant diversity. 

Vegan Alternatives To Honey

There are a number of plant-based options to replace honey. These alternatives include maple syrup made from the sap of the maple tree, coconut nectar from flowers of the coconut palm, barley malt syrup from sprouted barley, agave nectar from several species of the agave plant and brown rice syrup.

These products could replace honey by providing a variety of flavors, textures and colors. But it is important to know that these honey alternatives are also rich in sugar, so watch your consumption and keep it in moderation.