Honey, Exercise & Athletic Performance

Is Honey good for Exercise?

Why honey is superior for Exercise & Athletic Performance

The consumption of energy giving substances before, during and after any form of physical exercise improves the individual’s performance and increases the rejuvenation of muscles. This is also associated with dietary supplementation from natural honey, which provides up to 17g of carbohydrates for every tablespoon consumed, giving much needed energy, therefore serving as an inexpensive substitute to commercially available sporting activities enhancers.

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The data obtained from the Sports Nutrition and Exercise Laboratory of one University show that honey can be used effectively instead of glucose for energy replenishment during physical exercise. The physiological actions of natural honey observed during this performance were a significant increase in heart frequency and a fairly constant blood glucose level. These suggest honey as a better substitute to glucose. The researchers improved on this preliminary investigation in another trial by administering low (honey) or high (glucose) glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrate gels on athletes, and testing them on the performance of cyclists travelling a distance of about 65 km. The results of the cycling event show that both the low (honey) and the high (glucose) GI substances caused increase in performance. However, the effect produced by eating natural honey surpassed that observed in the athletes fed with glucose. This aligns with other previous studies that natural honey consumption does not compromise metabolic and physical activities.

Natural Honey has been shown to decrease blood glucose level in hyperglycaemia such as diabetic subjects, plausibly due to the beneficial effects of fructose, and more importantly honey’s several phytochemical constituents. A very recent review of the hypoglycaemic effect of honey by some researchers conclude that, the synergistic effect of fructose and glucose constituents of honey might contribute to the low glycaemic response after a honey meal. These experimental and clinical trials show that honey is a well-tolerated liquid food.

Furthermore, honey can be an effective carbohydrate source and a better substitute to glucose for exercise and athletic performance, due to its constituent of various classes of sugars. People favour slow-burning sugars for sustenance as energy source during physical exercise. Honey is beneficial in this regard as it releases fructose slowly into the blood stream to produce a sustained energy boost and maintain homeostasis. The other major component of natural honey apart from fructose is glucose. Fructose and glucose are ketose and aldose sugars respectively with chemical structural differences, and consequently different patterns of metabolism, despite both being monosaccharides with quick burning tendency. It is important to note that glucose is rapidly metabolized for absorption into the blood system for energy provision. On the other hand, fructose absorption is slow, and will continue to sustain the individual with energy, while the glucose moiety burns out.

The various phytochemical constituents of honey also contribute to the progressive slow rate of fructose metabolism. In addition, honey contains disaccharides such as sucrose and oligosaccharides as well as other trisaccharides that are slow burning sugars. These could facilitate energy replenishment, muscle recuperation and enhancement of performance in athletes nourished with honey, while those relying on glucose for an energy boost might have been exhausted.

It is fair to say that the above research demonstrates natural honey’s superiority in exercise & athletic performance.

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Information obtained form the US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583289/?fbclid=IwAR3ODl6qU2nXarmfJpZf4hlkagfHiFANM1odeiexJKtTwoGD6gFfJqSFbSM

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