Benefits of Honey for Gaining Weight

When you're trying to pack on the pounds, the trick is to eat high-calorie, nutrient-dense foods. Adding about 500 calories to your regular diet each day can help you put on about 1 pound a week, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group. Combine that with strength-training exercise to make sure you're putting on weight in the form of muscle, not fat.

Honey is calorie dense but not nutrient dense. (Image: Alekseyliss/iStock/GettyImages)

The benefits of honey for gaining weight aren't as good as you might think. Honey is a calorie-dense food, it's not very nutrient-dense. You can use honey sparingly to add sweetness and calories to your foods, but you want to be sure not to go over the recommended daily limit for added sugars.

More Calories Than Sugar

The benefits of honey for gaining weight is its calorie content. A single tablespoon provides 64 calories. That's more than granulated sugar, which has 49 calories per tablespoon. You'll get more bang for your buck if you add a tablespoon of honey to your protein drink than a tablespoon of sugar. In addition, raw and processed honey may have antibacterial activity akin to antibiotics and could provide an alternative treatment against certain pathogens, according to a study published in Biotechnology Research International in December 2010.

The Drawbacks of Added Sugars

Even though honey is natural, it's still sugar — just like table sugar. It contains a lot of calories but few nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Even raw honey provides nothing but carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Eating too much added sugar can have deleterious effects on your health. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in April 2014 determined that the more added sugar in your diet, the more likely you are to die of heart disease. No amount of weight gain is worth that risk.

Know Your Limits

You can still include a little bit of honey in your weight-gain diet, but it should not make up the bulk of your calories. The American Heart Association recommends men get no more than 150 calories from added sugars per day and women get no more than 100 calories from added sugar per day. That's about 1 1/2 and 2 1/3 tablespoons of honey per day, respectively — just enough to sweeten your morning coffee or afternoon cup of tea and perhaps a midday smoothie.

Better Options for Weight Gain

Many other foods are both nutrient-dense and calorie-dense and are better for weight gain — and your health — than honey. Chunky peanut butter with no added sugar, for example, has 94 calories per tablespoon. It also comes packed with protein and healthy fats. Dried apricots without added sugar are a calorie-dense source of vitamins A, B3 and E and the minerals iron and potassium. Other recommended foods for weight gain are whole nuts and seeds, olive oil, high-protein meats and whole grains.

To help get the calories you need to gain weight, consider eating small, frequent meals or plan to eat a few snacks in between your meals.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.