Most of us are always looking for the best foods which promote weight loss. Most dieters have chosen to make a conscious effort in light of the theory that dietary changes can help burn fat for weight loss. One of the valuable foods for weight loss which is in most kitchens yet highly overlooked is raw honey. Raw honey has been suggested to help your body burn fat and maintain steady weight loss. This read discusses ways raw honey is said to benefit weight loss, including different ways you can incorporate this ingredient into your weight loss diet plan. Take a look.
Raw Honey Definition And Extraction
Honey is a natural sweetener produced by the Apis mellifera bees. They collect the nectar of plants or excretions of plant-sucking insects on the living parts of plants and combine them with particular substances of their own (1).
However, other species of bees and insects can also produce honey. These are the Nectarina wasps found in South America, stingless bees, and honey ants, mainly the Melophorus inflatus in Australia (1).
It is worth noting that honey is divided into two broad categories. One is the Blossom or Nectar Honey originating from nectars of plants, and the second one is the Honeydew Honey obtained from excretions of plant-sucking insects (1). However, honeydew honey can also be acquired from sap-sucking insects like aphids (1).
Does Raw Honey Promote Weight Loss?
Some say it does. While looking through many weight loss diet plans, you may realize that raw honey is a staple. However, no one food on its own can promote weight loss or fat burning. Most people can safely include raw honey in moderation in an overall healthy balanced (reduced calorie) diet and potentially lose weight. But it’s not the honey that is causing the weight loss, it’s the calorie deficit, the nutritious diet, along with exercise, stress management, and getting quality sleep.
The first reason you may hear raw honey being recommended for weight loss is due to its nutritional profile.
To better understand its nutritional profile, let us evaluate the nutrients in 100 g of honey. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture database, 100 g of honey contains the following (4):
- Calories- 304
- Protein- 0.3 g
- Total fat- 0 g
- Total carbs- 82.4 g
- Fiber- 0.2 g
If we compare it to granulated sugar, we see that honey has fewer calories in the same volume.
100 g of granulated sugar contains the following according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture database (7):
- Calories- 387
- Protein- 0 g
- Total fat- 0 g
- Total carbs- 99.8 g
This means that if you replace granulated sugar with the same volume of honey, you’ll be getting slightly fewer calories and sugar. However, honey is still an added sugar that should be used sparingly. Added sugars contribute excess calories with little to no nutritional benefits.
Honey has also been proposed (though not necessarily proven) to have additional health benefits, including (2):
- Preventing acid reflux.
- Helping to heal wounds and burns.
- Fighting infections by killing bacteria.
- Relieving cold and cough symptoms.
- Used as remedies for stress, bad breath, hiccups, vomiting, high blood pressure, eczema, sleep disturbances, stomach ulcers, diarrhea, hangovers, and jaundice.
In Ayurvedic medicine, honey has been used as a remedy for stress, bad breath, hiccups, vomiting, high blood pressure, eczema, sleep disturbances, stomach ulcers, diarrhea, hangovers, and jaundice.
How Raw Honey Might Benefit Weight Loss
Most people add honey to their daily tea or coffee as a sugar alternative for weight loss without thinking too much about it. While not necessarily scientifically proven, some of the theories behind why it could be helpful include:
By Suppressing Your Appetite
Some people believe that honey has the power of suppressing the appetite, which is why it is a favorite amongst dieters. Unfortunately, although some people may want to lose weight, their appetite may make it challenging.
One supposed advantage of using honey for weight loss is that it increases satiety and curbs small hunger pangs. This in theory would prevent overindulging, which eventually contributes to unwanted weight gain. However, the alleged appetite-suppressing properties of honey have not been verified by scientific research.
Protective Properties Against Obesity-Related Diseases
Obesity is a global pandemic classified among the cluster of multiple risk factors that cause metabolic syndrome. Experts state that individuals with metabolic syndrome often report weight gain, particularly around their midsection (1).
So, one of the criteria experts use to detect the risk for obesity-associated comorbidities is by measuring the waist size or circumference. This represents the accumulation of visceral adipose, which may increase your risk of other conditions like heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure (1).
A 2018 review suggested that consuming honey might be protective against metabolic syndrome by helping to prevent excessive weight gain and improving other metabolic risk factors (1). One of the experimental animal studies included in the review found that rats fed short-term with honeydew honey had a lower percentage of weight gain than those fed with sucrose or mixed sugars, with all groups getting similar overall energy intake (1).
In another study included in the review, 7-day old rats were fed cane syrup or honey with identical nutritional values and then observed. The study found that the rats consuming cane syrup reported substantially more visceral fat than those fed with honey (1).
Rats are not the same as humans, so much more research needs to be done in humans to determine if honey has any similar benefits for us.
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How To Lose Weight With Honey
Some people confine themselves to consuming honey in tea or coffee only. That said, there are different and more effective ways you could consume raw honey for possible weight loss, or just because you want to. These methods include:
Adding Honey To Warm Water
One of the most refreshing drinks to consume instead of sugary drinks for weight loss is warm water mixed with a teaspoon of raw honey and half a lemon juice. Some people believe that consuming this drink in the morning and on an empty stomach can promote weight loss by supporting your metabolism, however this is not proven
Garlic And Honey Combo For Weight Loss
Drinking a glass of warm water with garlic and raw honey is also believed by some to promote weight loss. They suggest that garlic can promote weight loss by supporting your metabolism. It is also said to be an appetite suppressant that prevents you from overeating. Again, none of this is proven, and there are probably better tasting ways to incorporate both garlic and honey into your diet if you’d like to.
Cinnamon And Honey For Weight Loss
Another highly recommended method of consuming raw honey for weight loss is by mixing it with cinnamon. Medical News Today suggests that cinnamon may reduce some of the bad effects of consuming high-fat foods (9).
Additionally, cinnamon might help promote weight loss due to its effect on blood glucose levels (9). There is no evidence that this specific mixture has any effect on body weight, but it probably won’t cause harm as long as you aren’t allergic to either of them and don’t overdo it (remember that honey is still an added sugar).
Cooking With Honey
You can also consume raw honey by using it to prepare different dishes. For example, you can consider any if not all of these delicious honey recipes from BBC Good Food (5):
- Honey-oranged poached plums.
- Honey, parsnip & coconut cake.
- Honey-roast confit of duck.
- Honeyed nut & pomegranate pots.
- Honey & orange roast sea bass with lentils.
- Honey & mustard ham hock pie with flaky cheese pastry.
Drizzling Honey Over Fruit Salads And Greek Yogurt
Pouring It Over Soft Cheeses And Grill
Using It As A Sweetener And In Baking
Adding It To Your Green Or Weight Loss Smoothies
Remember that honey is still sugar, which adds calories but little to no nutritional value. Use it in moderation as part of an overall healthy balanced diet and lifestyle if you are looking to lose weight.
What Is The Best Honey For Weight Loss?
There are many different flavors of honey. Each has a different taste and aroma. The most commonly used honeys in most households include clover from Britain, orange blossom from Mexico, the U.S., and Europe, and lemon blossom from Mexico (3).
There are also varieties like acacia from Canada, China, and Europe and leatherwood from New Zealand (6). Flavors like Scottish heather, Hymettus from Greece, lavender from France, eucalyptus from Australia and the Mediterranean, and Manuka from New Zealand are more intense (3).
It essentially comes down to preference and availability. Some varieties may be more appropriate for specific applications. For example, runny honey is recommended for cooking because it is easier to cook with (3). But otherwise, use whatever you like.
Although raw honey has been suggested to promote weight loss, no one food or ingredient can make you lose weight on its own. Most experts suggest you also make a healthy lifestyle and dietary changes for weight loss. Some of these interventions include:
- Including more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.
- Drinking enough water.
- Exercising or engaging in physical activity.
- Practicing mindful eating.
- Practicing portion control.
- Getting adequate rest.
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The Bottom Line
Raw honey is a natural sweetener that some claim can promote weight loss by suppressing appetite and preventing obesity. However, none of these claims have been scientifically proven, and honey is still an added sugar that should be used in moderation.
Luckily, there are different ways you can consume raw honey in moderation as part of a healthy balanced diet for weight loss. Some include substituting it for granulated sugar, drinking garlic and honey water, lemon honey water, and cinnamon honey water. Be sure to talk to your doctor and dietitian before making any major dietary changes.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A Review on the Protective Effects of Honey against Metabolic Syndrome (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Everything you need to know about honey (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Honey (2022, bbcgoodfood.com)
- Honey (2022, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Honey recipes (2022, bbcgoodfood.com)
- Sweetener, syrup, agave (2019, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Sweeteners, for baking, contains sugar and sucralose (2019, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- What are the benefits of garlic? (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What’s to know about cinnamon powder? (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)