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Honey is a very hotly debated topic in both the plant-based community, or in the vegan community. The debate comes down to whether or not you can eat honey on a plant based diet? Consuming honey becomes more of a moral debate.

Although a plant based diet and vegan diet are similar from the outside looking in, they are vastly different. Therefore, there are different principles behind whether or not you can have honey on a plant-based diet or a vegan-diet. Each community has different views on whether honey is an acceptable product to consume while on one of these diets.

So, we will go through the principles that are related behind what makes up a whole food plant based diet. That way, you can make a better determination on whether honey is the right product for you. We will also go over some of the concerns on the treatment of bees while the product is being made. Knowing can help you make a better determination on whether you feel honey is something that you can put in your body.

Let’s get started and see whether or not honey is something that should be considered. Whether on a plant-based diet or even veganism there is a raging debate on this topic.

a variety of stacked jars of honey

What Is A Plant-Based Diet?

With veggie-forward eating on the rise, a whole food plant based diet is good for your health and the environment. Anyone that is on a plant-based diet will typically only eat plant foods or whole foods that are not processed. They greatly reduce or eliminate animal-based foods or products such as meat, eggs, milk, butter, etc.

A plant based diet is a relatively new form of dieting. There is much debate on what would be considered plant-based. There is also debate on what is not considered plant-based. A plant-based diet is based on two principles; whole-foods and plant-based.

The main objective of a plant-based diet is the eat foods that are minimally processed. Although many people confuse plant-base for veganism, they are very different as far as ideologies. In fact, in some cases, something that is considered veganism may not be considered plant based. However, because something is plant-based, then plant-based food is suitable consumption in either diet.

The differences in these diets can be very drastic. However, it is true that if you are on a plant-based diet, the principles behind it are a lot stricter. The plant-based diet you really need to make sure that you’re eating whole foods or plant foods. With a plant-based diet making sure foods are minimally processed is just as important.

Where Does Honey Fall Into A Plant-Based Diet?

Honey is a fascinating topic when it comes to a  plant-based diet  and even veganism. Although the community has taken a solid stance that honey is a no-go. Some on the diet actually feel that it is OK to consume honey. So, there is a great debate within the plant-based community on whether or not honey can be added to your diet.

People that follow a plant-based diet but do not consider themselves vegans will tend to eat honey. However, some that follow a plant-based diet feel honey is neither a plant or whole food. This means honey is off-limits.

The debate really comes down to the way honey is made. How it’s made makes honey a widely discussed topic. Should it be consumed while you’re on a plant-based diet? Unfortunately, this does seem like it will be a personal preference regarding whether or not you can’t eat honey. When you are looking at the values of a plant-based diet honey would qualify as a plant-based food.

The real question that you have to ask yourself is, does honey line up with the moral values? Does honey encompass what a plant based diet is all about? This is why there is so much debate on the topic. Some feel honey does fit in with typical plant based values. Another part of the community that doesn’t consume honey will argue that it does not.

Why Is There A Debate on Honey?

Honey is debated because an animal, or in this case, an insect, makes it. Vegans feel that honey should not be ingested because of the way that the bees are treated. When bees are mistreated it creates growing concern on the food. This is the big point of contention because if you can’t eat eggs or drink milk, what makes honey OK to consume? 

bee landing on a pretty flower

On the flip side of this argument, bees are important for nature. Having them create honey, and having more bee colonies can help the environment. With more bees contributing to a better environment, then maybe honey is OK to consume. Then, the focus is on bees and their contribution to a better environment instead of on their mistreatment.

Based on your plant-based diet views, you can determine whether or not it is OK for you to ingest honey. Most of this decision will be based on whether or not you believe that honey is a processed substance. Then you have to consider if it’s made organically and free of abuse to the bees that make it.

Interestingly, honey has such a wide dispute on whether or not it falls into a plant-based diet or not. This is especially true with alternative sweeteners on the market. Alternatives sweeteners can be used, but the consensus is that none of them are as good, or as healthy, as honey.

What’s The Vegan Take On Honey?

Due to the treatment of bees, it is easy to see why vegans do not partake in eating honey. The treatment of bees can be very disturbing. Beekeepers use barbaric practices such as clipping of wings. Clipping of wings is used to ensure that bees will not be able to start another hive anywhere else. This serves as one of the reasons bees have been mistreated.

The  exploitation  of bees in creating honey is horrible to imagine. So, it is easy to see why some do not see it as a viable food source. Mistreating of animals is what causes some in the community not to recognize honey as a food source. Abuse of the animal definitely goes against the morals of either diet.

just a spoonful of honey

However, some Vegans will actually consume honey if they feel that it is from a humane and sustainable place. Some will also consider honey in the raw form because it contains more nutrients and is not processed. 

As you can see, even vegans have exceptions to the rules of whether or not to ingest honey. However, the main point of contention is whether or not the bees have been treated properly. Especially if there is an overabundance of the honey, allowing the bees to continue with their food source.

Should You Eat Honey On A Plant-Based Diet?

To me, the evidence is clear on whether or not you should eat honey if you are on a plant-based diet. Honey is the consumption of something that is made from an animal and is not a plant-based food. It is clear you should not be consuming honey as part of a plant-based diet.

A plant-based diet encourages the reduction or elimination of eggs and dairy, too. This means honey should not get the green light to be consumed when you are on a plant-based diet. If honey can be consumed, then what stops us from consuming milk or other dairy products. With dairy products, the animals are being treated the same as bees. They are being exploited for the products they produce. 

Through all the research that I’ve done, I’ve been back-and-forth on the topic many times. I have been rethinking whether honey can be OK, and honey can’t be OK on a plant-based diet. I would have to say that honey falls more into something that you should not have. Honey does not support the moral rationale of a plant-based diet. 

Final Take

golden honey with dripping honey server

In the end, plant-based diets really allow the individual person to determine whether or not they will consume a product, or not. That decision is mainly based on their feelings about that food. It is also how the food is made, which allows them to make that determination.

If other products are not being able to be eaten because you’re on a plant-based diet. Doesn’t this mean that honey should not be eaten for the same reasons? Especially if you won’t ingest the other foods like honey. So, the real debate is on whether or not the honey is prepared up to the dieters’ expectations.

Honey is a natural product from the environment. However, due to pasteurization processes, is it really something that you should be consuming. Even if it’s in raw form and you are promised that the bees are treated humanely. 

Per the  principles  behind a plant-based diet, I would have to conclude honey would not be a food that you can consume. However, depending on your personal principles behind your plant-based diet. The overall determination is up to you on whether or not honey is a product for you.


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