What happens if we eat honey in empty stomach?

Honey is a popular natural sweetener that has been used for thousands of years. Some people advocate consuming honey on an empty stomach to utilize its health benefits. But what really happens when you eat honey before breakfast or any other meal?

Does eating honey on an empty stomach help with weight loss?

Some proponents claim that eating honey on an empty stomach can promote weight loss. The theory is that the natural sugars in honey can provide an energy boost to rev up your metabolism and help you burn more calories throughout the day. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support this claim.

One small study found that consuming honey water on an empty stomach increased the metabolism of healthy adults. Participants who consumed honey water burned more calories than those who consumed regular sugar water.[1] However, this was a very short-term study looking at immediate effects.

Overall, there is no good evidence that eating honey on an empty stomach boosts metabolism or aids weight loss. Any potential benefits are likely negligible.

Can honey curb appetite?

Some people claim that honey can suppress appetite. The thought is that the sweet taste may signal to your body that you’ve consumed energy, helping you feel full.

A few animal studies suggest honey may offer mild appetite-suppressing effects. However, human research is lacking.[2]

While honey may have some impact on appetite-regulating hormones, it’s unlikely to substantially reduce overall calorie intake throughout the day.

Does it enhance nutrient absorption?

Honey is sometimes said to enhance the absorption of nutrients when consumed on an empty stomach. But there is no scientific research to support this claim.

Honey is predominantly composed of the sugars glucose and fructose. It contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals but no compounds known to improve nutrient absorption.[3]

Overall, there is no evidence that eating honey on an empty stomach improves nutrient uptake.

Does it regulate blood sugar?

Some claim that consuming honey on an empty stomach can improve blood sugar regulation, especially for people with diabetes. Yet, evidence is lacking.

In one study, healthy people had better blood sugar responses after consuming honey compared to regular sugar or artificial sweeteners.[4] However, this was a small, single-dose study.

In people with diabetes, research reveals mixed effects. Some studies show honey bettering fasting blood sugar but worsening post-meal levels, while others show no benefits.[5]

Most experts recommend against consuming large amounts of honey on an empty stomach, especially if you have diabetes. More research is needed on honey’s effects on blood sugar.

Could it harm blood sugar control?

There are some concerns that eating honey on an empty stomach could impair blood sugar control, especially for people with diabetes.

Since honey is high in sugar, consuming it first thing in the morning may overwhelm your body with a large influx of sugar before any other nutrients. This could negatively impact blood sugar levels.

More research is needed, but those with diabetes should be cautious and monitor their blood sugar carefully if consuming honey on an empty stomach.

Does it relieve gastritis?

Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining. Some believe that honey coats and soothes the stomach, relieving gastritis symptoms like pain and indigestion when consumed on an empty stomach.

A few studies hint at possible benefits. One found that honey decreased stomach acid secretion in rats with gastritis.[6] Another showed that honey may prevent the growth of Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria linked to gastritis.[7]

However, more research is needed before strong conclusions can be made.

Could it irritate the stomach lining?

On the other hand, some worry that honey’s acidic pH may irritate the stomach lining, especially when consumed in its raw, unpasteurized form.

One study found that raw honey did not protect against alcohol-induced gastritis in rats, while processed honey did.[8] The processing may destroy harmful enzymes that could potentially aggravate gastritis.

So while honey shows promise for treating gastritis, its effects likely depend on the type of honey and the cause of gastritis. More studies in humans are needed.

Does consuming honey on an empty stomach have laxative effects?

Some people claim that eating honey on an empty stomach has a laxative effect and helps relieve constipation.

Honey’s laxative effects are mainly attributed to its osmotic effects. It contains sugars that attract water into the colon, potentially stimulating bowel movements.[9]

A few small studies have found that honey produced mild laxative effects comparable with certain medications. However, it provided no significant benefit versus placebo in treating constipation.[10]

Therefore, honey may provide some mild laxative relief but is unlikely to have major effects on chronic constipation without other remedies. More research is needed.

Risk of blood sugar crash

There are some concerns that honey’s laxative effects could cause a crash in blood sugar levels since it’s rapidly absorbed in the gut.

This may be a particular risk for people with diabetes. For safety, anyone with diabetes should closely monitor blood sugar when consuming honey on an empty stomach.

Does it improve skin health?

Honey contains several compounds that may benefit skin health, including antioxidants and antimicrobials.[11] Based on this, some claim that eating it on an empty stomach provides a concentrated dose of these beneficial compounds, which may enhance skin health more than eating it with food.

However, no studies have tested this theory directly. More research is needed.

Potential benefits for wound healing

Several studies have found that applying honey directly to the skin improves wound healing, preventing infection and stimulating healing and skin cell regrowth.

The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compounds in honey likely contribute to its wound-healing properties.[12]

While research is lacking, it’s plausible that consuming honey may provide additional wound-healing benefits by delivering antioxidant and antimicrobial compounds through the bloodstream.

Does eating honey on an empty stomach have other health benefits?

A few other alleged health benefits of consuming honey on an empty stomach include:

  • Boosting immunity. Honey contains antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds that may support immune function.[13] However, human research is lacking.
  • Soothing coughs. Honey may relieve coughs, especially from upper respiratory infections. The thick consistency can coat and soothe the throat.[14] That said, most studies have used it as a single dose at nighttime.
  • Providing antioxidants. High-quality honey contains various antioxidants, including phenolic compounds like flavonoids. Antioxidants combat oxidative stress linked to chronic disease.[15] Still, how much eating honey boosts antioxidant status remains unclear.
  • Improving memory. A few studies note modest benefits on memory, cognitive function, and brain health from consuming honey.[16] But human research is limited.

While these potential uses are promising, more human research on the health effects of consuming honey on an empty stomach is needed.

How much honey should you consume on an empty stomach?

There are no official recommendations on how much honey to consume on an empty stomach.

Most studies have used between 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 grams) diluted in water. Larger doses may cause blood sugar spikes and stomach discomfort, especially in those with diabetes or gastritis.

It’s best to start with small amounts like 1 teaspoon (5 grams) and monitor your tolerance. Adjust the dosage as needed. Though safe for most, excessive consumption may produce adverse effects.

Additionally, children under one year should avoid honey due to the risk of infant botulism. Consult your healthcare provider before adding it to your routine.

Bottom line

Some claim that eating honey on an empty stomach provides unique health benefits, but scientific support for this is limited.

Potential benefits include blood sugar regulation, increased antioxidant absorption, improved skin health, and relief from constipation or gastritis. However, human studies are lacking.

Risks are generally low but may include stomach discomfort, blood sugar spikes, allergic reactions, and botanical adulteration in raw, unpasteurized honey.

There are no official dosing guidelines, but start with small amounts and monitor your body’s response. Those with diabetes should be especially cautious and consult a healthcare practitioner before adding honey to an empty stomach.

While eating honey on an empty stomach is likely safe for most people, there is no miracle cure-all. Any positive effects are likely marginal at best.

The bottom line

Consuming honey on an empty stomach may offer modest health benefits but is unlikely to be a miracle cure. Potential benefits like regulating blood sugar, improving skin health, and relieving constipation need further human research.

Risks seem minimal but may include blood sugar spikes and stomach discomfort. Those with diabetes should be extra cautious. There are no official guidelines but start with 1 teaspoon (5 grams) and monitor your body’s response.

Overall, eating honey on an empty stomach is likely safe for most people but needs more scientific support to substantiate many health claims.

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