But is honey beneficial for athletic performance?

This is where the importance of RAW honey comes in.  Put simply, this is honey as it exists in a beehive. The technical definition of raw honey is that it has not been heated past pasteurisation.  The temperature of an active bee hive is 35°C and at this temperature the beneficial and nutritional enzymes are stable and “alive”.  Any flash or prolonged heating above 35°C destroys the enzymes and chemically changes the honey.  The “good” natural sugars (glucose and fructose)  have been altered to “bad” processed sugar (sucrose). All of Blossom Honey products are completely raw, unprocessed, untreated and organic; full of natural enzymes, vitamins and antioxidants - just as the bees made it!

Used in exercise, raw honey has some unique compounds and benefits that it delivers along with its natural sugars. Raw honey can be used by athletes in the following ways:

To boost athletic performance

Recent research has shown that honey is an excellent ergogenic aid and helps in boosting athletic performance. It is believed that carbohydrate ingestion, including honey, may augment exercise capacity by sparing endogenous fuel stores (i.e., muscle and liver glycogen, and blood glucose concentrations). Honey aids the maintenance stable blood sugar levels and with a GI of 35-55 it is relatively low on the Glycemic Index. Apart from natural sugars, other nutrients found in honey (organic acids, proteins, amino acids, minerals, polyphenols, vitamins, and approximately 500 enzymes) contribute to offering athletes increased speed with lower fatigue and quicker recovery times.

As an energy booster

Honey is a great all-natural source of energy with just 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. Because it is natural unprocessed sugar, even the most sensitive stomachs can digest it. The fructose and glucose directly enter the bloodstream and deliver a quick boost of energy. The rise in blood sugar acts as a short-term energy source during a workout, especially in longer endurance exercises. Because there are two natural sugars in honey - glucose and fructose – they do not compete for the same uptake pathways, and so less likely to lead to a GI upset than sucrose.

As a healthier alternative to sports gels

Many athletes opt for sports gels to satisfy their carbohydrate needs prior to and during exercise. However, we firmly believe that honey is more effective. Energy gels usually contain maltodextrine and glucose (two forms of sugar) for a portable, mid-workout boost. But they can also be loaded with lab-made chemicals and additives. Honey is a quick and easy alternative, with added health benefits. A research study comparing honey with carbohydrate sports gels found that the performance was better for honey plus it is high in B vitamins and other minerals like potassium and iron, as well as the natural pro-biotics, antibiotics and antioxidants. While glucose in honey is rapidly metabolised, fructose is absorbed slowly. Because of the natural fructose, honey facilitates energy replenishment, muscle recuperation and enhancement of performance, while athletes consuming the same quantity of commercial glucose products for an energy boost are likely to exhaust earlier.

As a substitute for sugar-laden sports drinks

Store-bought sports drinks are loaded with sugar, containing about 51g, or suggested total daily allowance of sugar, in one bottle! It is easier (and cheaper) to make your own version by melting two tablespoons of honey in warm water, then adding citrus juice for flavour, and Himalayan pink salt for electrolytes.

To re-fuel post workout

Honey adds some readily available carbs after exercise; facilitates muscle recuperation and glycogen restoration after a workout and also regulates the amount of insulin in the body.

If you rely on other super-sweet ingredients to help you power through a long-distance run or HIIT session, try swapping them for raw honey instead – it’s cheaper, tastier and healthier!

See our raw honey range online here or pop into one of our kiosks in Times Square, Dubai or CitylandMall to taste our honeys, and choose the perfect one for you.