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The world of honey is full of health hazards and risks.
But a new study has found that some products contain no more than one of the two banned ingredients in honey.
It is the first time there has been a scientific review to confirm that any particular product is safe.
Dr Michael Cramer from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, who led the study, said the results were encouraging.
“It shows that, on balance, there are less risks of health problems associated with honey,” he said.
“This is important because, as we know, there is more variation in the health effects of honey than with other ingredients.”
Honey, a plant-based sweetener, has been around for thousands of years, and has a long history of being used in traditional medicine, as a food additive and in cosmetics.
It contains about 30 different components.
Dr Cramer said there were more than 200 different types of honey.
“I think the one we’re most familiar with is the red colour and the orange colour,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“They’re used to flavour certain foods.”
But there is still a lot of research that needs to be done, particularly with regard to the honey that we ingest.
He said it was important to be cautious about the honey we ingest, because it could contain toxins or other substances.
“If you’re taking some of the products you could get a higher than safe dose of some of these toxins and other compounds,” he explained.
Dr Carrington said the researchers had identified the following ingredients as having low levels of harm: “Soybean oil, soybean oil oil derivatives, sorbitol, sorbic acid, glycerin, stearic acid” Dr Carnton said it might be wise to look for honey in products that had not previously been tested, or products that did not have a warning label.
“There are some products that have been tested but they’re not necessarily going to be suitable for use because they may contain more than the amount that you’re using,” he added.
Dr David Boulton from the Australian Institute of Food and Agriculture said that the most effective way to get a better idea of whether a product was safe was to ask people about their health, and not to use the product for an excessive amount of time.
“That way we can determine if it’s safe, if it is safe for you to use it for an unreasonable amount of use, if you need to use a lot for an abnormal amount of consumption, then we can use that as a starting point,” he argued.
“We’re not going to get to a point where we have a whole range of honey products that are safe for people to use.”
Dr Boulson said the research was important because it confirmed that the vast majority of products used in the Australian market were safe.
“For a long time, the Australian consumer has been told that honey is safe, but there’s still a big issue of whether that’s actually true,” he continued.
“And I think the evidence from this study is that it is true.”
Dr Cramer said the team had also found that “honey is a good source of antioxidants”.
“I’m not saying it’s not an important source of nutrients,” he concluded.
“But it does have some of those benefits of antioxidants that we’d like to see in food.”
He said the new findings should reassure consumers that the honey industry had taken precautionary measures in the last few years.
“When people have been exposed to these compounds in the past, they tend to have health problems,” he noted.
“People are looking for a more natural and healthier way of using honey, so this research is a great start.”
The research was funded by the Australian Research Council.