What Are the Benefits of Honey in Weight Loss?

It might be easy to discount the idea of a honey diet amongst the plethora of fad diets that proliferate the internet. However, the use of ultra-nutritious honey as a balancing agent in a weight-reduction diet has its basis in serious science (not to mention the fact that it's been used for weight support in Ayurvedic practice since ancient times).
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    • When undertaking a weight-reduction diet, you limit the amount of food you eat, so the nutritional "punch" that each ounce of food packs becomes more important to overall heath. Honey is a healthy substitute for refined sugar, as it's a natural source for a wide variety of micronutrients, including amino acids, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, copper, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. The amounts are proportionally small, but these micronutrients add up in a balanced diet.


    • Healthy digestion is absolutely necessary for effective and lasting weight loss, and honey is a potent digestive. One of the reasons this is true is honey's natural support of the digestive tract's Bifidobacteria (one of the body's most important types of "good bacteria"). Honey is classified as a "prebiotic." This term means that honey contains several substances that increase the population of the bacteria and allow it to thrive in the system, balancing out the "bad bacteria" that slow digestion and keep weight in the stomach.


    • The sugars in honey are technically simple sugars, which weight-watchers have historically been advised against, because of the spike these sugars tend to cause in blood sugar. However, studies have shown that the sugar combination in honey produces a lower glucose response than refined sugars and flours. This means that honey in moderate amounts gives a satisfying sweetness to a balanced diet, instead of causing the blood sugar to spike sharply and dissipate quickly (leaving a desire for more sugar in its wake.)


    • Though calorie-free, chemical sweeteners (such as saccharine and aspartame) have been linked to overeating in scientific studies, scientists have theorized that this is because chemical sweeteners interfere with the body's ability to "count its own calories," or determine the balance of how much energy it's taking in and expending. Honey satisfies the body's natural need for sweetness, while providing about 1.5 times the sweetness of refined sugar, allowing the dieter to reduce the amount used, while not impeding the body's ability to balance itself.

    Expert Insight

    • A New Zealand study compared the weights of three different groups of rats over time. One group was fed no sugar calories at all, the second group was fed a diet from which 8 percent of the total calories came from non-honey sugar sources, and the third group was fed a diet in which 10 percent of the calories came from honey. The honey-fed rats gained as much weight as the rats that were fed no sugar calories whatsoever, while the sugar-fed rats gained significantly more weight than the other two groups.