This article is reviewed by a team of registered dietitians and medical doctors with extensive, practical clinical and public health experience.
Is Honey Good For Weight Loss? 5 Easy & Healthy Ways To Use 2023
Honey is a fat-free superfood that is good for most people and comes with many health benefits when you consume it regularly. Its nutritional profile and positive effects on the human body are exceptional. Many people may also incorporate it into their meal plans when they are trying to drop some pounds.
Is honey good for weight loss? Can it help reduce sweet cravings? This article will answer these questions and reveal some tips on including more honey in your daily diet to optimize your potential to lose weight.
Is Honey Healthy For Losing Weight?
If you’ve ever had the chance to taste honey, it’s no secret how sweet it is and that it contains sugar. Although weight loss efforts can go in reverse with sweet foods, honey is a superfood with beneficial vitamins that can positively impact your body weight.
Honey’s sugar content is mainly glucose and fructose, like in fruit, and is different from the empty calories refined sugar offers. So let’s investigate some of the reasons why honey may support your weight loss efforts.
Consuming Honey For Weight Loss
A 2022 systematic review of 130 honey articles shows that consuming honey did not cause any weight gain. In most animal studies, there were results of anti-obesity effects, like reductions in body weight.
Studies show that honey acts as a protective mechanism for humans against metabolic syndrome. This is a huge benefit since metabolic syndrome is a bundle of chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Honey helps by enhancing fat metabolism while reducing weight gain and fat storage.
This clinical trial from the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition took a group of diabetic patients and gave half of the patient’s natural honey for eight weeks and no honey to the other half. At the end of the trial, the group who were consuming honey had lost body fat and had an improvement in their cholesterol levels.
Honey contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like vitamin C and carotenoids. This newer study shows that those who eat foods rich in antioxidants have a lower chance of obesity.
When it comes to sugar content, honey has a low-glycemic index, meaning it is less likely to cause a spike in blood sugar levels than a high-glycemic index food. Honey studies show it reduces blood sugar levels and can reduce weight gain compared to sucrose, the main component in table sugar. Regular sugar raises blood sugar levels and can cause weight gain, obesity, and several other health conditions.
Instead of causing weight gain, honey uses its fructose content to elevate the brain’s sugar levels, ramp up the body’s metabolism, trigger the liver to produce glucose, and release fat-burning hormones.
Eating honey helps to lower hunger hormones like ghrelin that cause you to crave more food, and by reducing these cravings, you may be less likely to reach for unhealthy foods and excessive snacks that can keep you from losing weight and cause weight gain.
Many nutrients in honey make it suitable for a diet plan to lose weight when consumed in moderation along with a balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables.
Since it’s so sweet, a little bit can go a long way, especially for someone on a low-sugar diet. Here are the nutrition facts listed by the (USDA) for one tablespoon of honey.
|Total fat||0 grams|
|Fiber, total dietary||0.042 grams|
|Total sugars||17.2 grams|
|Calcium, Ca||1.26 milligrams|
|Iron, Fe||0.088 milligrams|
|Magnesium, Mg||0.42 milligrams|
|Potassium, K||10.9 milligrams|
|Sodium, Na||0.84 milligrams|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||0.105 milligrams|
|Total folate||0.42 micrograms|
Ways To Use Honey For Weight Loss
If you’re looking to start a long-term commitment to use honey for weight loss we’re going to share some of the best ways to incorporate honey into your day. Try them and see how you feel physically and where your weight stands after a month or two.
When you’re preparing your honey with drinks and meals, take care that you don’t overheat it. Boiling water will decrease the honey’s nutrient levels. To get as many health benefits as possible from honey, you’ll want to choose unpasteurized or raw honey instead of pasteurized and processed honey.
This is because when honey is processed, it is heated, which lowers its nutritional value by losing its vitamins and minerals. You’ll want all the nutrients it offers to help with your weight loss efforts.
If you’re wondering how much honey you should eat per day for weight loss, portion size matters. Per the American Heart Association, you should consume no more than
- Nine teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day for men.
- Six teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar daily for women.
Processed honey, like much of the honey sold in stores, adds pure sugar, too. Too much sugar in processed food can cause you to gain weight, inflammation, and lead to chronic diseases. Honey can make a great sugar replacement to improve the taste of your food and can replace white sugar in many recipes.
Let’s take a look at five ways to use honey for weight loss.
Honey And Lemon Water
This method is excellent for those who need to enhance the taste of their water so they are more motivated to stay hydrated, especially since increasing your hydration levels may result in weight loss. With its sweet taste, this water makes a great alternative to high-sugar, high-calorie drinks.
Drinking a glass of water before meals is another weight loss strategy since it helps you feel fuller and may reduce your eating intake. The amount of water you should be drinking is
- 12.5 cups (100 ounces) per day for men.
- 9 cups (73 ounces) per day for women.
- 16 cups (128 ounces) per day if you’re breastfeeding.
Keep in mind these are general water intake recommendations and can vary depending on gender, age, physical activity, and medical status. Always consult with your doctor for individualized guidance.
Squeezing fresh lemon into some water and drinking it on an empty stomach can help set your day up with energizing, healthy hydration. Studies show the polyphenols in lemon may help prevent weight gain and fat accumulation.
Add honey, and you’ve got an even healthier hydration tool. Lemon juice and honey are a great way to optimize your health and possibly increase weight loss.
Honey With Cinnamon Powder
Using a mixture of water, cinnamon, and honey for weight loss has been a popular trend for a while, and there seems to be some evidence behind supporting cinnamon as a food to help burn calories and prevent weight gain.
There’s a compound in cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde that research shows activate thermogenic and metabolic responses, meaning it increases your body’s core temperature, boosts your metabolism, and helps you to burn more fat. Through all these mechanisms, it may lead to a decrease in body weight.
To consume this powerful duo, add half a teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of honey into warm water, stir it into your tea or a smoothie, or drizzle it over some fruit.
Honey And Green Tea
Adding 3 to 5 cups of green tea to your diet, especially when you pair it with honey, can increase your health and body’s ability to lose weight. Tread lightly on adding honey in all your liquids. Try one-fourth teaspoon to a half-teaspoon of honey per cup to not go overboard on sugar intake.
Research shows that green tea can help reduce food intake and fat accumulation, increase thermogenesis, and burn fat. Remember to ensure your tea isn’t too hot before adding in your honey.
Honey And Apple Cider Vinegar
Honey and ACV may be one of the best nutritional mixtures for losing weight and your overall health, diluted in a glass of water due to its potency. The active ingredient in apple cider vinegar or ACV is acetic acid which has been shown in animal studies to have the potential to reduce food intake and body weight.
Furthermore, there was a study that provided one group of people with 30 milliliters of ACV, another group with 15 milliliters of ACV, and the last group had no ACV. Over 12 weeks, the groups that drank their ACV in 500 milliliters of water daily were, in comparison to the placebo group, found to have significantly lower
- Body weight
- Body mass index
- Visceral (belly) fat
- Waist circumference
- Levels of fat in the blood
To get these benefits, you can aim for 15-30 milliliters of ACV or one to two tablespoons per day mixed with a teaspoon of honey.
Honey At Bedtime
Having a spoonful of honey at bedtime in some warm water is also known as the Hibernation Diet. The goal is to increase your weight loss by burning more calories than you already do while you sleep.
Consuming honey helps reduce hunger by filling your liver’s need for fructose and helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. This allows the liver to increase fat-burning hormones since it’s not so busy trying to stabilize your blood sugar all night.
The Bottom Line
Honey is a fat-free food that you can use day or night to assist you in losing weight. Consuming honey can boost your metabolism, reduce food cravings, the risk of metabolic syndrome, and reduce your body fat.
Mixing your honey with green tea or lemon water, cinnamon, or apple cider vinegar can boost your weight loss potential. Remember to enjoy honey in moderation, so you don’t exceed your daily sugar or calorie intake in order to reap the most potential health benefits.
+ 17 sources
Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here
- Ugusman, A., Shahrin, S.A.S., Azizan, N.H., Pillai, S.B., Krishnan, K., Salamt, N., Aminuddin, A., Hamid, A.A., Kumar, J. and Mokhtar, M.H. (2022). Role of Honey in Obesity Management: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in Nutrition, [online] 9. doi:10.3389/fnut.2022.924097.
- Ramli, N., Chin, K.-Y., Zarkasi, K. and Ahmad, F. (2018). A Review on the Protective Effects of Honey against Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients, [online] 10(8), p.1009. doi:10.3390/nu10081009.
- International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. (2022). Effects of natural honey consumption in diabetic patients: an 8-week randomized clinical trial. [online] Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09637480801990389.
- Mohammadi, S., Lotfi, K., Mirzaei, S., Asadi, A., Akhlaghi, M. and Saneei, P. (2022). Dietary total antioxidant capacity in relation to metabolic health status in overweight and obese adolescents. Nutrition Journal, [online] 21(1). doi:10.1186/s12937-022-00806-9.
- Cianciosi, D., Forbes-Hernández, T., Afrin, S., Gasparrini, M., Reboredo-Rodriguez, P., Manna, P., Zhang, J., Bravo Lamas, L., Martínez Flórez, S., Agudo Toyos, P., Quiles, J., Giampieri, F. and Battino, M. (2018). Phenolic Compounds in Honey and Their Associated Health Benefits: A Review. Molecules, [online] 23(9), p.2322. doi:10.3390/molecules23092322.
- Nemoseck, T.M., Carmody, E.G., Furchner-Evanson, A., Gleason, M., Li, A., Potter, H., Rezende, L.M., Lane, K.J. and Kern, M. (2011). Honey promotes lower weight gain, adiposity, and triglycerides than sucrose in rats. Nutrition Research, [online] 31(1), pp.55–60. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2010.11.002.
- Bobiş, O., Dezmirean, D.S. and Moise, A.R. (2018). Honey and Diabetes: The Importance of Natural Simple Sugars in Diet for Preventing and Treating Different Type of Diabetes. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, [online] 2018, pp.1–12. doi:10.1155/2018/4757893.
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition. (2020). Effect of Honey versus Sucrose on Appetite, Appetite-Regulating Hormones, and Postmeal Thermogenesis. [online] Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2010.10719885.
- www.heart.org. (2019). How much sugar is too much? [online] Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/how-much-sugar-is-too-much.
- Thornton, S.N. (2016). Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss. Frontiers in Nutrition, [online] 3. doi:10.3389/fnut.2016.00018.
- Meinders AJ;Meinders AE (2012). [How much water do we really need to drink?]. Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde, [online] 154. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20356431/.
- Eatright.org. (2022). Nursing Your Baby What You Eat and Drink Matters. [online] Available at: https://www.eatright.org/health/pregnancy/breastfeeding-and-formula/nursing-your-baby-what-you-eat-and-drink-matters.
- Fukuchi, Y., Hiramitsu, M., Okada, M., Hayashi, S., Nabeno, Y., Osawa, T. and Naito, M. (2008). Lemon Polyphenols Suppress Diet-induced Obesity by Up-Regulation of mRNA Levels of the Enzymes Involved in β-Oxidation in Mouse White Adipose Tissue. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, [online] 43(3), pp.201–209. doi:10.3164/jcbn.2008066.
- Jiang, J., Emont, M.P., Jun, H., Qiao, X., Liao, J., Kim, D. and Wu, J. (2017). Cinnamaldehyde induces fat cell-autonomous thermogenesis and metabolic reprogramming. Metabolism, [online] 77, pp.58–64. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2017.08.006.
- Huang, J., Wang, Y., Xie, Z., Zhou, Y., Zhang, Y. and Wan, X. (2014). The anti-obesity effects of green tea in human intervention and basic molecular studies. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 68(10), pp.1075–1087. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.143.
- Beh, B.K., Mohamad, N.E., Yeap, S.K., Ky, H., Boo, S.Y., Chua, J.Y.H., Tan, S.W., Ho, W.Y., Sharifuddin, S.A., Long, K. and Alitheen, N.B. (2017). Anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects of synthetic acetic acid vinegar and Nipa vinegar on high-fat-diet-induced obese mice. Scientific Reports, [online] 7(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-06235-7.
- KONDO, T., KISHI, M., FUSHIMI, T., UGAJIN, S. and KAGA, T. (2009). Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, [online] 73(8), pp.1837–1843. doi:10.1271/bbb.90231.