HONEY IN SPORT
The benefits of honey in sport
Honey is mainly composed of glucose and fructose (one of the nutritional keys for an athlete), there is a large variety with very variable colors depending on the range.
When you buy your honey, make sure it is 100% pure on the label of the jar.
Honey is used in many sports drinks like waiting drinks (before exercise), exercise drink (during exercise), recovery drink (after exercise), energy bars but also energy gels (homemade energy gel, energy gel with spirulina…), sports energy compote, sports energy cream…
Tip: for recipes containing sugar, it is possible to replace the latter with honey in a smaller quantity because it is sweeter than the sugar itself. It is a sweetener (product with a sweet taste or sweet flavor) appreciable at this level, because it reduces the energy intake of the dish. Also, honey can replace a part where all the sugar in jams, jellies, ...
The carbohydrates ("sugars") in honey are made up of very little sucrose and maltose, which allows it to have a low glycemic index.
Honey is therefore interesting for energy intake before exercise (avoiding hypoglycemia, low blood sugar level), during exercise (thus optimizing power intake) and after exercise ( in order to potentiate glycogenic regeneration (in other words glycogen) and muscle reconstruction) in athletes.
At the micro-nutritional level, honey contains almost no vitamins and minerals.
Its real benefit remains its higher sweetening power, which allows a lower consumption of interesting carbohydrates when practicing ketogenic diet (the diet must have about 90% fat, 8% protein and 2% carbohydrates) or reduced carbohydrates as part of a diabetic diet or for weight loss.
Finally, while not pretending to be a drug, honey has many virtues which vary according to the variety.
Without going into detail, depending on the variety, the properties of honey can be for analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, toning, stimulating, sedative, healing, relaxing, expectorant, revitalizing ... So, the best is to vary the different honeys during the year in order to fully benefit from their virtues.
Conclusion on honey
In sports nutrition, we will find honey for this privileged contribution both in glucose and in fructose, but also for its intermediate glycemic index, and especially its natural and unrefined side (attention however to honey from China concerning this last point). Also many sports brands whose products are based on honey are based on the "Made in France" (because assembled in France) but whose honeys often come from eastern Europe and not only from France. So be careful, because manufacturers are good at deceiving the consumer.
Finally, each athlete is unique and the individual characteristics of each make that the environment (dietetic, psychological, physical, technical, tactical, ...) will never be identical. Remember to adjust the food intake according to the specific needs of each athlete. Keep in mind: what applies to one does not necessarily apply to the training partner!
Dietitian Nutritionist of sport and clinic
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