Talkback: Honey: The Facts

When I was young my Mum always used to give me mashed banana and honey when I was poorly. Now I use it as the perfect pre-run snack. 2 bananas,a forkful of honey then just mash. Ideally with a pint of water, 30-60 minutes before I set off. Sorted.


  • I always have Manuka honey in the house and during cold/flu season, I give my 3 yr old a spoonful every night - she rarely ends up with the snots/splutters that everyone else gets and if she does, her recovery time is quicker. 

    Its also amazing for upset tummies!

    I'm doing my first Half in two weeks time and haven't been able to get my fueling strategy right - sports drinks/gels just upset my tummy and leave me with cramps and a feeling that resembles a hangover!  I am going to try out honey tomorrow (doing a 10m forest run) and see how that works for me.

    Great article, thanks!!

  • I use honey as a cheap alternative to energy gels on longer runs: I mix it 2:1 parts water (easier to drink!) and put it in my small gel bottle. I find it gives me a psychological boost as well as more physical energy. I'm too tight to buy energy gels...
  • I love the stuff so I am definitely going to test it out on my long runs!

    Just need to work out a good way to take it with me but I am sure they are ways to do this without any hassle...

    Thanks for the inspiration RW! 

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    I'm not a massive fan of honey in porridge (prefer a good glug of maple syrup which my brother brings over from Canada!) but I can thoroughly recommend it for a using as a glaze in cooking.  I think my favourite combo is equal measures of honey and teriyaki sauce with a small dollop of English mustard - absolutely lovely on a grilled pork chop.
  • I'm a big honey fan but does anyone know how to stop it crystallising into sugar before the jar/tube is finished?

  • I am addicted to Manuka honey!

    My additive energy / hydration drink before I run is:

    I make a drink of 600ml water, desertspoonful of chia seeds, one of honey, juice of a lime and a pinch of salt .

    This keeps me going over 10k's

  • Hi Virgil_, according to the Honey Association you can make crystallised honey liquid again by sitting the jar in warm water for an hour or so. Hope that helps!
  • Alternative to reform crystallised honey, warm in the microwave.

    On long runs I mash Half a Banana with 3-4 teaspoons of honey & spoon into a small sandwich bag. Tie the bag with a knot, pushing the mixture into a corner. When you are ready for the boost, just bite the corner to pierce, then squeeze out. Make enough "Bombs" for 1 every 45-60 mins.

    I find it helps to keep you & your backback clean & unsticky, to tie a low & high knot in the bag.

    It's a good idea to time the Bomb taking so that you have it just before a Drinks Station & wash down with a swig of water.

  • Thank you both. Truly 'tis the food of the gods. (Read your classics if need be).
  • As a diabetic I am interested in learning more about the properties of honey and the impact on blood sugar levels. I understand it has a medium GI level. Any diabetics who use honey?
  • Hi Virgil

     ...if your honey starts to crystallise - stand the jar/tube in hot/warm water for about 10-15 minutes - usually does the trick.

     Good Luck..!

  • This article is BAD SCIENCE!!!! Reminds me why I never buy these trash-mags.
  • Nice to see honey back on the menu. The best for sore throats is Pine Forest (or Sapin in France which seems to be the only place to get it). Metcalfa is a huge immune system booster but difficult to find. It is possible to re-use gel sachets with a screw top and refill them with light honey.
  • I always enjoy a homemade smoothie of milk, banana, honey & oats after a training run, it really helps me re-coup on lost energy, and taste's amazing!
  • Explain why please?  Always happy to learn more from others who know more.  cheers!
  • The why question was with regards the bad science comment - sorry didn't write it in my reply!!
  • Phil_HPhil_H ✭✭✭

    The facts ... !

    Well, the difference in absorption between glucose and fructose is marginal, sucrose is merely 1 glucose molecule attached to 1 fructose molecule, so all sugars are pretty close there.

    What was _not_ mentioned is that like all things with a higher fructose level than glucose, it makes you fart, well a very high percenage of us anyway, as fructose intolerance is surprisingly common.

    As for eating honey on the run, well that's just plain stupid. The amount of sales of energy gels etc indicate that people want something thats utterly easy-peasy to eat.

    Interesting idea for an article but written for printing on chip-wrapping.

  • Thanks for that - interesting although I have to say I have so much confusion about fructose, glucose and sucrose  that I wouldn't be able to comment.  The one thing I know is that with all things especially sugars the closer to their natural state the better they are for you.  However difficult they might be to metabolise. So I guess honey is better than the gelpacks.  I heard some really bad stuff about fructose recently that has totally put me off anything with fructose in it! 

    I tend to agree with you about eating honey on the run but it obviously works for some people - takes all sorts!!

    Thanks for the reply though

  • Hi Virgil,

    crystallizing honey is a problem if you don't eat it fast enough! I usually sit the jar in a small saucepan of hot water for a few minutes, that does the trick but it will crystallize again later.

    Looks like a lot of people are getting interested in honey as a natural alternative to expensive , tummy upsetting gels. Hope the bees can cope with the demand! 

  • keep it warm
  • just microwave the honey for 20 seconds and it goes runny again
  • for honey on the run, buy 'honey stingers' they are sachets (like the gel sachets) filled with honey, different flavours and added ingredients like caffiene, guarana etc, they are easy to use, taste great!!
  • Good article!

    Sounds like a good alternative to the gels! a much cheaper and natural option aswell!

    Just got to find a way to take it with me on long runs! image

  • I have taken Honey on runs in medical sample containers.....ideal !!

  • imageGood idea Pat Hanson !

    does anyone else have any good suggestions for carrying honey on the run?

  • I've used honey on the run and its really good, simple and clean to use.  I pour it into a squeezy gel bottle and use that but you could always keep an old squeezy honey bottle and refil it for your long runs........... no mess then.  I actually prefer it to gels as I find gels can be stubburn to open and expensive.
  • The more you study what is actually in food the less you want to cook it.

    Microwaving creates very high temps and does not always cook evenly, we also know this because often microwaved food needs to "sit a while" to even out in temp. Once you get a food over 130 degrees you start to destroy vitamin C and the hotter you go the more you destroy. So for something like honey which is loaded in good stuff do a gentle heating in water that is JUST warm enough to do the job, well below boiling.

  • cure it by warming gently in a saucepan bain marie.


  • Facts can be confusing.  Bad science is when you make assumptions that are unproven.  All sugars are not the same.  It is silly to say that they are.  Look at actual studies of people who use various forms.

    The advantage of honey is due to it's other contents, besides the sugar.  Honey also contains a  type of yeast, which may acount for some of it's benefit for athletes.  The yeast and sugar combine to form carbon dioxide, but only after dilution (for example when you eat it).  The carbon dioxide then helps the cells of the body to be oxygenated.

    Science still hasn't even figured out all that is in honey.  We know that there are minerals and some vitamins, as well as some pelyphenols.  It varies widely, but generally speaking the darker the honey the healthier it is for humans.

    Here is more about the chemistry of honey for those intereseted.

Sign In or Register to comment.