Honey For Weight Loss: Tips and Considerations
While you don't typically think of sweeteners as diet foods, honey might be an exception. Raw Honey has been well-studied for its health benefits, including its antimicrobial properties and its antioxidants, which work to protect your cells from damage and prevent genetic mutations.
There's some preliminary evidence that suggests raw honey might help with weight loss when used in place of table sugar. However, raw honey is still high in calories and counts as added sugar, so you should eat it in moderation.
Calories in Raw Honey
At 64 calories per tablespoon, honey is moderately high in calories. That's about 5 percent of the calories on a heavily restricted 1,200-calorie weight loss diet and 3 to 4 percent of your daily calorie allowance in a 1,500-calorie diet to 1,800-calorie diet. It's also slightly higher than the calories in sugar, which has 45 calories per tablespoon.
While the calories in raw honey may not seem like much of your daily calorie budget, it can add up quickly if you're eating several servings throughout the day, and, of course, a 1-tablespoon serving isn't likely to fill you up.
Make sure you measure your portion size when you're enjoying raw honey as part of your weight loss diet so you don't accidentally overeat.
Raw Honey's Potential Effect on Hunger
The study authors compared the effects of honey and sugar in healthy women, and found that raw honey had less of an effect on blood sugar than regular table sugar.
That's important in controlling your appetite, since rapid swings in your blood sugar levels can trigger hunger, even if you don't truly need more food.
However, it's not yet clear exactly how well it works. And because the effects of raw honey on hunger have not yet been extensively studied, it's too early to count on honey as a magic bullet for reducing your appetite.
Evidence for Raw Honey and Weight Loss
There's also some early, preliminary evidence directly linking raw honey to better weight loss if you use it in place of regular sugar. One study, from a 2011 issue of Nutrition Researched, compared the effects of honey and sugar on obesity in rats.
The study authors found that rats fed honey ate less during the day than rats fed sugar, and they gained less weight and less body fat than the sugar-fed rats.
A small study in people, published in Scientific World Journal in 2008, found that honey triggered a small amount of weight loss -- and fat loss -- compared to table sugar.
While these results are promising, they only looked at the benefits of eating honey in place of table sugar. If you're following a low-sugar diet already, honey might not offer any benefits.
Tips and Considerations
Even though raw honey has some weight-loss benefits compared to sugar, you'll still need to practice moderation.
Raw Honey still counts as a form of added sugar, and you should limit your intake of added sugar to 9 teaspoons daily for men or 6 teaspoons for women, according to the American Heart Association. If you regularly exceed your daily added sugar limit, you'll increase your risk of heart disease as well as weight gain.
If you're currently drinking sugary drinks and eating sugary foods, switching to versions made with raw honey might help you lose weight.
But, more importantly, you should limit your overall sugar intake, either by reducing the amount of sugary foods and beverages you consume, or gradually reducing the sugar used to make them -- to lower your added sugar intake and consume fewer calories.
Use raw honey sparingly in diet-friendly foods, for example, as an addition to a homemade salad dressing, lightly drizzled over oatmeal or used to modestly sweeten tea.
You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before taking any nutritional, herbal remedies or adopting any health advice, whether offered on the Site or otherwise.