Remember that scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when Harry dodges thousands of flying keys in search of that one single key to the room with the giant chess board? (That was a long sentence! Deep breath.)
Yes, that one.
Well, if you’re desperately looking for that one single key to the door of no body fat…
…it’s best you be given a reality check right now. No one workout, diet, food item, or supplement can help you shed those extra pounds. It is a cumulative effect of different healthy lifestyle habits suitable to your body type that will actually help you inch your way to a fitter you.
Now that we have our expectations set in place, let’s address the questions you want answers to.
Can honey help lose weight?
When people talk about weight gain, they mostly blame it on too much sugar…
…or too much fat.
The logic is if you cut back on these, you’ll lose weight (or at least stop gaining weight).
Honey is also sweet (the sweet-toothed nod frantically). Then how does it fit into the weight loss equation?
Honey is sweeter than table sugar (at least twice as sweet). This means you’ll need to add a lot less of it to achieve the same level of sweetness as sugar. This translates to “less sweet” and hence less weight.
Also, unlike table sugar (merely empty calories), honey contains beneficial nutrients (B vitamins, potassium, zinc, iron, antioxidants, amino acids, minerals, and proteins) and antioxidants. This is definitely a one up from sugar.
Moderation is key.
A teaspoon of table sugar has about 16 calories, whereas one of honey has about 22 calories.
So, even though you’ll be decreasing your calorie intake by more than half, the number of calories you add on are effectively the same.
That just means you’ll need to restrict your honey intake to a bare minimum. However, this will also mean fewer nutrients per serving.
Does science back this claim?
Research has been conducted on individuals with elevated health risks and diabetics to study the effects of honey on body weight.1 2 It was concluded that honey causes a mild reduction in body weight (definitely no gain in body weight) while also lowering total cholesterol and cardiovascular risk factors and increasing the good cholesterol.
On the flip side, it does increase blood sugar levels, so it must be consumed with caution by diabetics and obese individuals.3
What about lemon?
- Lemon is rich in vitamin C.
According to a study, if you have sufficient levels of vitamin C, you will oxidize (read: burn) 30% more fat while exercising than individuals with low vitamin C levels. 4
This means that lemon helps in enhancing (emphasis on “enhancing”) the effects of exercise.
- Lemon contains polyphenols.
According to a study, lemon contains polyphenols that suppress weight gain and fat accumulation.5 Polyphenols do this by increasing the production of enzymes needed to burn fat. However, since this study was done on animals and clinical trials are yet to be carried out, don’t be a blind believer just yet.
Having said that, by drinking lemon water you probably won’t be getting any fatter, but it makes no promises of making you slimmer.
What’s the final verdict?
While honey can serve as a healthy sweetener in your food and beverages, it may only bring about insignificant changes in your weight or none at all.
While lemon is nutritious (vitamin C has so many health benefits) and low in calories, it suppresses weight gain and gives you faster results when you exercise.
There are no direct weight loss benefits from drinking honey and lemon in hot water.
Then how did this rumor even start?
- Water is needed for most biochemical reactions in the body. This essentially means that water will help keep your metabolism running even when your body is idling.
- It’s all about healthier substitutes. Lemon is low in calories, and both lemon and honey are rich in nutrients. A glass of lemon water with honey is any day better than a bottle of flavored soda or an indulgent milkshake (topped with extra chocolate sauce).
What else should you know?
Too much lemon could cause acid reflux and too much honey could spike your blood sugar. Again, moderation is key.
Go ahead, and sip on a refreshing glass of honey and lemon in hot water. Expect to be well nourished and healthier, just not thinner.
When you can satisfy your taste buds (tanginess of lemon and sweetness of honey) and thirst (it does make a refreshing drink) without compromising on your health, you can be sure your body will be forever grateful to you.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||N. Yaghoobi, Noori Al-Waili, M. Ghayour-Mobarhan, S. M. R. Parizadeh, Z. Abasalti, Z. Yaghoobi, F. Yaghoobi, H. Esmaeili, S. M. R. Kazemi-Bajestani, R. Aghasizadeh, Khelod Y. Saloom, and G. A. A. Ferns. Natural Honey and Cardiovascular Risk Factors; Effects on Blood Glucose, Cholesterol, Triacylglycerole, CRP, and Body Weight Compared with Sucrose. The Scientific World Journal. 2008.|
|2.||↑||Mohsen Bahrami, Asal Ataie-Jafari, Saeed Hosseini, Mohammad Hasan Foruzanfar, Mazaher Rahmani & Mohammad Pajouhi. Effects of natural honey consumption in diabetic patients: an 8-week randomized clinical trial. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 2009.|
|3.||↑||Katsilambros NL, Philippides P, Touliatou A, Georgakopoulos K, Kofotzouli L, Frangaki D, Siskoudis P, Marangos M, Sfikakis P. Metabolic effects of honey (alone or combined with other foods) in type II diabetics. Acta Diabetol Lat. 1988.|
|4.||↑||Strategies for Healthy Weight Loss: From Vitamin C to the Glycemic Response. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2005.|
|5.||↑||Yoshiko Fukuchi, Masanori Hiramitsu, Miki Okada, Sanae Hayashi, Yuka Nabeno, Toshihiko Osawa, Michitaka Naito. Lemon Polyphenols Suppress Diet-induced Obesity by Up-Regulation of mRNA Levels of the Enzymes Involved in β-Oxidation in Mouse White Adipose Tissue. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition. 2008.|