While some research indicates that using honey in place of regular sugar may help with weight loss, it may not be because it increases your metabolism. If you're trying to lose weight by increasing the number of calories your body burns, you may be better off with regular exercise than adding honey to your diet.
What's in Honey
When it comes to calories and carbs, there's not much difference between honey and regular sugar. A 1-tablespoon serving of honey has 64 calories and 17 grams of carbs, compared to 60 calories and 12 grams of carbs in the same serving of table sugar. Honey, however, is a source of number of nutrients not found in sugar, including B vitamins, potassium, zinc, iron, antioxidants and amino acids. Due to the serving size of honey, these nutrients are found in small amounts.
Honey and Weight
When you replace your usual sugar with honey, it may help you lose some weight. A 2008 study published in the Scientific World Journal investigated the effects of replacing sugar with honey on heart health and weight in a group of people with elevated health risks. The study found the group that used honey instead of sugar lost a small amount of weight and fat. While it seems that honey may help in your weight-loss efforts, it's important to note that the weight lost in this study was only 1.3 percent and the fat lost only 1.1 percent. More research may be necessary before formal claims can be made.
Honey and Healthy Diet
No single food or pill can help you miraculously lose weight or burn fat. If you're trying to lose weight, however, you can make honey part of your plan as long as you keep your portions small and count it toward your overall calorie intake. You can add a tablespoon of honey to your hot cereal in the morning or use it to sweeten your container of plain nonfat yogurt. It also makes a healthy sweetener choice for your cup of afternoon tea.
Speeding Up Metabolism
Your metabolism is the rate at which you burn calories and is determined by your body composition, how much you exercise and the number of calories you need to maintain normal body functions such as breathing and brain activity. Genetics may play a role in determining your metabolism as well, according to a study published in Cell in 2013. The only way to increase your metabolism is to make your body more metabolically active by turning your fat into muscle, which basically means improving your overall fitness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic activity five days a week and muscle-building activity twice a week for improved fitness and health.
- Scientific World Journal: Natural Honey and Cardiovascular Risk Factors; Effects on Blood Glucose, Cholesterol, Triacylglycerole, CRP and Body Weight Compared With Sucrose
- Nutrition and Metabolism: Nutraceutical Values of Natural Honey and Its Contributions to Human Health and Wealth
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Honey, Sugar Granulated
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Staying Away From Fad Diets
- KidsHealth: Metabolism
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Cell: KSR2 Mutations Are Associated With Obesity, Insulin Resistance, and Impaired Cellular Fuel Oxidation