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Honey contains powerful antioxidants and is both antibacterial and anti-­inflammatory. But it’s easy to fall for imitation honey. “Because honey is a semitransparent, brownish liquid, it’s difficult to tell by looking at it whether or not it’s honey or corn syrup,” says Larry Olmsted, author of Real Food/Fake Food: Why You Don’t Know What You’re Eating and What You Can Do About It.

Indeed, some honey bottlers have diluted their product with rice syrup and other inexpensive sweeteners to increase profits — a process known as “honey laundering.” According to the Honey Authenticity Network, one-third of honey on the market is either adulterated or fake. Some beekeepers point out that adulterated products ultimately drive down prices for the real stuff, making it difficult for them to maintain their hives and their livelihoods.

Finding Real Honey

Because the best honey comes from beekeepers, shopping at a farmers’ market is a good way to find a connection. You can also look for local honey brands at your grocery store.

“Honey is one of the easiest products to buy from someone in your community,” Olmsted says. (For more on the health benefits of real, local honey, see “The Health Benefits of Real Honey.”)

Learn More

Watch out for imposters among these five favorite foods, and learn how to be sure you’re buying the real deal, by reading “How to Find Real Honey, Coffee, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Parmesan Cheese, and Maple Syrup,” from which this article was excerpted.

Lauren David

Lauren David is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay area.

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