Bee pollen: nature’s sweet superfood for diabetics

River D'Almeida, Ph.D
3 min readMar 6, 2023

It’s rich in nutrients, but relatively low in carbs

Photo by Dmitry Grigoriev on Unsplash

Sugary treats like cake and ice cream are often no-nos for people managing diabetes. The high sugar content triggers a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, which can lead to health complications in the long run, including nerve damage, kidney damage, and cardiovascular disease.

The good news is that a superfood produced by bees might offer a satisfying, nutrient-rich alternative to processed sugar.

Bee pollen is a mixture of pollen collected by honeybees from various plants and flowers. Bees collect the pollen on their bodies as they move from flower to flower, and then they mix the pollen with nectar and enzymes in their mouths to form small pellets. These pellets are then transported back to the hive where they are used as a food source for the bees.

Bee pollen is said to have a host of health benefits thanks to the protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants it contains. It’s often marketed as being able to boosting immunity, improve digestion, and reduce inflammation, but keep in mind, few of these claims have been put to the test in rigorous clinical studies.

Still, the crunchy, mildly sweet-tasting granules might be a great salad or yogurt topper for people eating to maintain steady blood sugar levels.

The amount of carbohydrate in 1 tablespoon of bee pollen can vary depending on the source and processing of the pollen. However, on average, 1 tablespoon of bee pollen contains approximately 16–18 grams of carbohydrates.

This is well within the American Diabetes Association’s recommendations to consume between 45–60 grams of carbohydrates per meal, or 135–180 grams per day, spread evenly throughout the day.

Looking for inspiration for a delicious way to incorporate bee pollen into your diet?

Try this recipe for a Bee Pollen Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp bee pollen
  • 1 tbsp almond butter

--

--

River D'Almeida, Ph.D

Follow me for bite-sized stories on the latest discoveries and innovations in biomedical research.