honey is good for sports performance

Honey benefits for athletes

The honey benefits for athletes have been recently demonstrated by many studies. Honey is a simple, effective and inexpensive carbohydrate alternative to the highly-refined sugars found in other sport drinks and bars.

Richard Kreider, Professor and Department Head, Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University, previously Chair of the Department of Health, Human Performance & Recreation at Baylor University and Director of the Exercise & Sport Nutrition Lab and Center for Exercise, Nutrition and Preventive Health (are you impressed? well, he has a Curriculum Vita of 60 WORD pages!), conducted three studies that showed how honey can improve endurance exercise capacity.
All studies demonstrated that honey could be another option for endurance athletes, and possibly strength athletes, for improving athletic performance.

Test No.1


Test No.2

2Test No. 3


In “Honey and Sports nutrition: Report for the American Honey Board”, 2001, Kreider highlights that it is important for athletes to maintain a consistent blood-sugar level throughout their exercise and competition. It is known that a high-glycemic index can cause spikes in blood sugar and energy. Honey has a moderate glycemic index (he measured it as 43 out of 100, where he placed white bread) but it should not be ingested once in large quantities.  All researches on honey and sport nutrition show that it is recommended to adapt the amount of honey to the body weight and to be be ingested at specific times.

Before exercise: 

  • 4 hours before exercise: take 4 g per kg body weight
  • 1 hour before exercise: take 1 g per kg body weight
  • 10 minutes before exercise: take 0.5 g per kg body weight

During exercise:

  • take 30-60 g can be taken every 1 hour

After exercises:

  • within 15 minutes take dry honey + whey protein, in 3:1 ratio, for optimal recovery. Athletes should consume about 1 g per kg body weight. Repeat this procedure for the next 4 to 6 hours.

It is known that after physical exercise or competition, carbohydrates should be supplemented by protein. Dry honey + whey protein is more effective than protein + glucose or maltodextrin. Honey and whey, 3:1, may help to inhibit protein catabolism after the exercise.

Of course the researches continue, and we can find honey and all the other products of the hive, in all products of sport nutrition. But in my opinion the quantity of honey that should be taken is quite large, if we take 4 g per kg body weight it would meand for a 70 kg body, 280 g of honey. And that is really a lot! I think it’s better to combine it with pollen, and take the benefits from the both.
But if you can eat that much and, especially if you have that much honey, then go ahead and win the competition!

 Related articles:
• Can bee pollen boost the sport performance?
 What is the best bodybuilding supplement?

sunflower bullet

Stefan Bogdanov, Bee Product Science, feb 2014

8 thoughts on “Honey benefits for athletes

  1. Can we use organic as I am preparing for half-marathon and I daily take 1 tb spoon of organic honey for recovery? Is it good or I should go for raw honey.

    1. Usually organic honey is raw, but if you find it on supermarket, then it probably isn’t. In the US all organic honey is imported, so it can be then pasteurized and sold as organic to raise its price.
      From what I’ve read, raw honey is better then organic honey, even if it may still contain some trace elements or pesticides in it. It is also very important to be fresh. Meaning in its 3 months after the harvest.
      Here are some articles that can help: Organic honey vs regular honey
      What is organic honey?
      What is the difference between pure honey and raw honey?
      Bottom line, raw fresh honey is the best, but if you can’t find some from a trustful source, then go for organic honey (even if it’s pasteurized).

  2. Very informative. It seems honey has many uses as well. I wish I knew this sooner as I am an active person. Thanks for the great info. best of luck in the future.

    1. Hi Michael,
      Combine pollen with honey, and please let us know if you noticed some improvement. 🙂

      I believe that we will win! 🙂 right? Bee pollen is our best ally!

  3. Great information! I always knew honey was healthy, but this has only helped to reinforce that fact. Thanks 😀

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