September 21, 2001
Honey Shines in Athletic Research,
Has Scientific Community Abuzz
Honey produced only mild increases in blood
sugar and insulin
- The National Honey Board is pleased to announce promising results
from three clinical trials on honey for athletes. The studies were
undertaken to evaluate honey compared to other popular forms of
carbohydrates used by athletes. All three double-blind, placebo-controlled
studies were conducted at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sport
Nutrition Laboratory, led by Dr. Richard Kreider. Encouraging data were
presented at the annual meetings of Experimental Biology, the American
College of Sports Medicine, and the National Strength and Conditioning
Association, and research papers have been submitted to appropriate
peer-reviewed journals. "We wanted to see if honey would be a good source of
carbohydrate for athletes in comparison to other forms of carbohydrate.
Honey did as well or better in several areas," stated Dr. Kreider.
The first trial involved 71 subjects who were given one of seven
carbohydrate gels, including honey and placebo. Honey produced only mild
increases in blood sugar and insulin, prevailing over dextrose (glucose) and
maltodextrin, and was similar to a popular commercial carbohydrate gel. This
indicates that honey could be an effective pre-workout energy source that
does not induce hypoglycemia.
The second trial studied 39 weight-trained women and men. Following an
intensive workout, each subject immediately consumed a protein shake blended
with sucrose, maltodextrin, powdered honey or placebo as a carbohydrate. The
honey sweetened "muscle shake" was the only one to sustain blood sugar over
the two hours following the exercise.
The final trial focused on nine coe. Honey significantly increased power and
speed over placebo, equaling the performance of dextrose. This exciting
study is the first to show that honey is an effective carbohydrate for
endurance athletes and resulted in media attention from around the world.
"Our first study suggested honey could operate as a 'time released' muscle
fuel for exercising muscles. Our second experiment suggested that honey
would be a good carbohydrate source to replenish muscles. However, our last
study convinced us that honey can improve endurance exercise capacity,"
concluded Dr. Kreider.
This research demonstrates that honey is a carbohydrate option for athletes
based on its low glycemic index, positive metabolic response, and effective
energy production. These results are great news for athletes or anyone
looking for a natural, convenient energy boost. The taste of honey has broad
appeal, and honey is readily available in a variety of forms and flavors.