If you’re buying expensive sports drinks, bars or gels for athletic energy think again! Honey may be a quicker, longer-lasting, natural energy supplement. You might already know that honey has been used for energy and athletic gains since the time of ancient Greece, but it’s merely anecdotal evidence and really doesn’t carry a whole lot of weight in an intelligent discussion about honey’s ability to aid athletic performance. Instead, let’s look at some hard, scientific research to backup the claim that honey is a natural energy supplement for athletes and anyone else looking for a natural burst of energy!
In its basic form, honey is a combination of several carbohydrates and water. Mostly sugars really: fructose, glucose and sucrose. Incidentally, this is nearly the exact same stuff you’ll find in some energy drinks. Most carbohydrate sources (especially sugars like glucose) are quickly and easily converted into energy by your body.The Glycemic Index rates various foods, and shows how quickly they will be absorbed into the blood stream. This is important because our bodies need quick fuel for optimum performance and for reducing the muscle breakdown that occurs during periods of intense physical activity.
Is Honey Good for Energy? A researcher named Kreider conducted a study on gel and powdered forms of honey as an energy source during athletic performance. His test subjects were cyclists and the tests were conducted under scientifically controlled conditions. Here’s what he found: Kreider found that honey significantly increased heart frequency and blood sugar levels during athletic performance allowing the body to work more efficiently.However, while honey gave energy by increasing blood sugar quickly, it did not cause blood sugar collapse or hypoglycemia in subjects who had fasted. According to the results of the trial, honey has been indicated to be a smart choice as natural energy supplement. Here’s why: It gives energy quickly during athletic performance by increasing blood sugar, that energy is not broken down and used so quickly that a large drop in blood sugar and consequently a large drop in energy is seen shortly afterward.
In another trial Kreider compared a popular sports gel energy supplement to honey during an extended cycling performance. His results where quite interesting. First, honey and the sports gel had identical carbohydrate profiles. In addition, the glycemic response (increase in blood sugar) was also identical between honey and the sports gel. When studying the athletic performance of the test subjects it was found the honey had actually slightly increased performance over the glucose based sport gel. In addition, because there were no complications such as upset stomach during the trials honey was found to be very well tolerated for use during athletic performance. In addition, honey was more effective than the supplements at aiding in recovery for physical activity.
Below is a simple instructional chart on how to use honey as a natural energy supplement. In order to use the chart correctly you’ll need to know your body weight and follow the timeline to achieve maximum energy and performance from your body.