Honey and Weight Loss: What the Research Says

Honey and Weight Loss: What the Research Says

Executive Summary:

  • Honey has a complex and dense nutrient profile when compared to sugar. It contains complex sugars, polyphenols, and flavonoids that influence the body in different ways.
  • Scientific studies show that the nutrients in honey may support weight loss by regulating the appetite, reducing inflammation, enhancing fat metabolism, and supporting a healthy gut biome.
  • To enjoy its benefits, high-quality honey should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle.

 

Honey for Weight Loss: Unraveling the Science and Facts

Honey is a delicious, natural sweetener that is often used to enhance certain dishes, sweeten beverages, or serve as a stand-alone snack. Its unique properties that support health and wellness have been celebrated for centuries—so it’s no surprise that the nutrients in honey also have the potential to support weight loss. 

So, how could something so deliciously sweet and full of natural sugars possibly help you lose weight? Well, honey is so much more than a blend of sugars! In this article, we take a closer look at the chemistry of honey and various studies that explain how the nutrients in this liquid gold can enhance and support weight loss.

 

Honey's Nutritional Profile

Honey is mainly a blend of sugars, but not all sugar is created equal. Many of these sugars offer unique and even unexpected benefits—some of which are still being studied and are likely to continue to amaze us well into the future. 

Honey, in its pure form, also contains other trace chemicals and minerals. So, let’s break it down. 

Honey is made up of:

  • Simple sugars (glucose and fructose): 75%
  • Variety of Disaccharides: 2.7 - 16%
  • Variety of Trisaccharides: 0.1 - 3.8%
  • Oligosaccharides: trace (prebiotic)

Other significant components present in small amounts are:

  • Enzymes 
  • Amino acids
  • Flavonoids (antioxidants)
  • Polyphenols (antioxidants)
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

 

What the Research Says

Scientists continue to study honey, and the research is surprising! So, what story does this research tell when it comes to honey and weight loss?

Honey Supports Weight Loss in Cases of Obesity

Nine trials aimed to investigate the effect of honey supplementation on obesity. Six of these trials were done on animals, and three were clinical trials. 

Some results indicated that honey, at the very least, did not cause additional weight gain. In many of these trials, though, the results showed that honey supported and increased weight loss. In particular, the specific bioactive nutrients, flavonoids, and polyphenols are suggested to enhance the metabolism of fat in the body—which, in turn, supports healthy weight loss.  

Honey Enhances the Metabolism by Reducing Inflammation

Studies continue to indicate that the trace chemicals present in honey are likely what gives it its superpowers. Honey may help reverse metabolic disorders and, in this way, maintain a healthy weight. 

Research indicates that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the beneficial nutrients found in honey support regular blood sugar and cholesterol levels and regular fat metabolism. Altogether, they may maintain the health of the body, helping you thwart metabolic disorders—like metabolic syndrome that can lead to weight gain and other health concerns.

Honey Helps Regulate Your Appetite

An interesting study measured people’s appetite-regulating hormones after eating a breakfast containing honey versus a breakfast with sugar. The results showed that the people who ate honey with their breakfast felt fuller for longer, indicating suppression of the “hunger” hormone.

Thus, enjoying honey with breakfast may help reduce overall calorie intake when compared to sugar and support weight loss.

Honey Supports Gut Health

Honey, in its natural form, contains various complex sugars. What many people don’t know is that some of these (oligosaccharides) behave as prebiotics that support good digestion, a healthy gut biome, and immunity.

According to scientists, a healthy gut not only enhances your immune system but also supports weight loss. Scientists observed that obese patients who added probiotics to their diet experienced a lower BMI and overall weight loss over time than those who didn’t. 

In order to benefit from honey’s natural prebiotic properties, select a honey that has a dense nutrient profile and hasn’t been heavily processed or irradiated. For instance, Manukora’s Manuka honey is a great choice!

 

Honey vs. Processed Sugars

A spoonful of honey has a higher calorie content (64 calories) than a spoonful of sugar (49 calories). Yet honey is naturally sweeter—thus, less is needed to achieve the same sweetness. 

By now, you probably understand that honey is so much more than a natural source of sweetness. Honey has a complex nutritional profile, and certain components present in honey cause it to behave differently in the body when compared with sugar. So, here are a few more factors that set honey apart from processed sugar:

  • Honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar—it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels as much as sugar and can help regulate the appetite. 
  • The polyphenols and flavonoids in honey support fat metabolism.
  • The complex sugars in honey, though present in small amounts, help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, which enhances immunity and digestion and may support weight loss.
  • The antioxidants in honey help protect the body from oxidative stress, maintaining health on a cellular level.

 

Practical Considerations

When it comes to anything in life, moderation is key. While the nutrients present in honey boast a wealth of beneficial properties, honey must be enjoyed in a balanced, holistic way. So, here are some points to consider.

Honey can increase blood sugar.

Honey is high in carbohydrates and must be enjoyed in small amounts. This is especially important for people diagnosed with diabetes or with other blood sugar regulation issues. 

Overall, honey should be enjoyed in moderation. The recommended amount of honey for the average person is one to three teaspoons a day. Yet, applications and uses may vary for those with diabetes, and we encourage anyone diagnosed with a specific health condition to discuss their options with their doctor.

Too much honey can cause tummy trouble.

Since honey is high in fructose, an excess amount can cause stomach complaints like cramping, constipation, or diarrhea. Like we said, moderation is key!

Not all honey is created equal.

Honey is different all over the world. Its nutrient profile is a direct reflection of the soil, nectar, and bees that produced it. In order to enjoy the amazing benefits of nutrient-dense honey, select honey that is natural, pure, organic, non-irradiated, and non-processed. 

Manuka honey contains unique antioxidants and bioactive components that set it apart from any other honey worldwide. At Manukora, we are passionate about producing Manuka honey of the highest quality with all its natural nutrients—just as Mother Nature intended.

 

Wrapping It All Up…

Honey, with its dense nutrient profile, supports the body in a variety of ways. The nutrients and sugars present in honey support your metabolism, help regulate your appetite, reduce inflammation, and encourage a healthy gut biome. 

Scientific studies indicate that these benefits support weight loss, especially when enjoyed in conjunction with a holistic approach to achieving a healthy weight.  

Explore the research for yourself so you can make an informed choice that supports your goals and lifestyle. Every person is unique—and so is each jar of honey. Knowing more helps you make choices that elevate and enhance your unique personal health and wellness journey—and in this case, it might just add a little sweetness!

 

 

Sources:

Potential of Natural Honey in Controlling Obesity and its Related Complications - PMC

Is Honey Better for You Than Sugar - Medical News Today

Role of Honey in Obesity Management: A Systematic Review - PMC

The Mechanism of Honey in Reversing Metabolic Syndrome - MDPI

Effect of honey versus sucrose on appetite, appetite-regulating hormones, and postmeal thermogenesis - PMC

The Potential of Honey as a Prebiotic Food to Re-engineer the Gut Microbiome Toward a Healthy State - PMC

Dietary Alteration of the Gut Microbiome and Its Impact on Weight and Fat Mass: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis - PMC

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