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Acids

Honey is moderately acidic, thanks mostly to its many organic acids. The main one is gluconic acid. Others include acetic, citric, forminic, malic and succinic acids and phenolic acids such as caffeic, cinnamic and ferrulic acids. Honey also contains tiny amounts of fatty acids and about 18 amino acids, including lysine, proline and tryptophan.

Honey's acidity is indicated by its pH (potential of Hydrogen: where pH 0–7 is acidic, 7 neutral and 7–14 alkaline). The pH of different honeys ranges from 3.2–4.5. Honey's acidity is similar to that of orange juice.

The amounts and types of acids vary with a honey's nectar and honeydew sources. Darker honeys are usually more acidic. Storing honey slightly increases its acidity. Honey's acidity makes it resistant to fermentation, one of the reasons why it keeps so well.

Health benefits

Honey's acidity is antibacterial.

Raw honey's acidity makes it an alkali-producing food. A typical westernized diet has an acid-producing effect that causes chronic metabolic low-grade 'acidosis'. In this condition, the blood is slightly less alkaline than ideal, which is thought to trigger many health problems.

In contrast, processed honey produces acid – and sugar is an even more acid-producing food.

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