T Nation

baby, HONEY, darling


how does honey rank as a carb source? I have been adding it to post workout protein shakes for a carb source after i read fruit is not all that good post workout. i've always heard it is much better than table sugar but was wanting more of an expert or semi expert opinion/explanation on honey as a carb source.


I'm curious on this too, as I also add honey to my post-workout shakes. I remember from an article a while back (Carb Roundtable, maybe) that Berardi or one of the other nutrition gurus "recommends" honey, although that was as specific as it got.


It's pre-workout that you want to take it.

There's nothing wrong with fruit post-workout, as in your first PWO meal. Just minimize the fiber-rich ones.


um.... yes there is a problem with fruit post workout. Fructose!
A) It doesnt rasie insulin anywhere near as well as straight glucose.
B) It fills liver glycogen first not muscle glycogen.
i know ther may be some benefits of honey postworkout but i'd keep to the Surge myself
Save the fruit for other times of the day.


nobody know about he benefits or drawbacks of honey? surely


I heard honey might help raise testosterone levels, but this came from some dubious herbal source, and even if it does, I doubt it does that much.


i use it to sweeten my oatmeal, makes a damn fine taste


Honey will not raise your T levels.

Berardi does NOT recommend honey for PW, as the sugar in it is not optimal for the insulin spike you want. Whetu did a good job of listing the reasons above. In this case, actually, table sugar would probably be better than honey, as it hits your system faster.

Basically, if you're taking Surge PW, the only thing that you should be adding to it is creatine, if that. If you're taking a straight protein powder, (a) make sure that it's whey rather than casein, and (b) add some simple sugars to it for your carbs. Maltodextrine is usually recommended, as it's cheap and gets absorbed quickly.


My roommate and I were discussing this recently and I came across this article on the AST site. Perhaps this answers your question?

A research study recently presented at the annual National Strength and Conditioning Association meeting strongly suggests that combining honey with a protein supplement after training may boost post-workout recuperation and favor better blood sugar maintenance after exercise.
Protein supplements are widely used to increase one's intake of dietary protein. Protein need increases among individuals engaged in intense activities such as weight training, running, step aerobics and many competitive sports. Previous studies have shown that a combination of carbohydrates and protein supplement has been shown in to boost muscle energy recuperation and may favor better response to training. "We were pleased to find that powdered honey promoted favorable changes in post-exercise markers of metabolism equal to that of the current standard, maltodextrin," says Dr. Richard Kreider, lead investigator of the study and Director of the Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory at the University of Memphis. "We also found that the group receiving honey as the carbohydrate source did not display the typical drop in blood sugar 60 minutes after taking the other forms of carbohydrates. These findings support our previous study on honey."

The current study involved a group of 39 weight-trained athletes both male and female. Subjects underwent an intensive weight-lifting workout and then immediately consumed a protein supplement blended with sugar, maltodextrin, or honey as the carbohydrate source. Only the honey group maintained optimal blood sugar levels throughout the two hours following the workout. Additionally, subjects taking honey showed favorable changes in a hormone ratio that indicates a positive muscle recuperative state. "Our data suggest that honey functions well in all of the aspects associated with post-workout recuperation and energy repletion. In addition, honey appears to stand out as perhaps even a better source of carbohydrate to ingest with post-workout protein supplements," added Dr. Kreider. "In addition to promoting muscle recuperation and glycogen (carbohydrates stored in muscle) restoration, honey-protein combinations also seem well suited to sustain favorable blood sugar concentrations after training."

What's in honey that imparts these important effects? How would honey work as a transporter for creatine? These are some questions that could further the research into this area of increasing the results you get with weight training.


And by first post workout meal, I'm referring to your first solid meal, not your shake. Nothing wrong with a piece of fruit at this point. Nothing at all.


"However, a moderate daily intake of fructose, especially from fruits, is encouraged. Just be sure not to consume fructose around exercise time. It has been shown time and time again to cause GI distress, increase ratings of exertion, and cause higher serum cortisol levels when consumed in conjunction with exercise. Fructose is found naturally in many fruits, berries and honey (foods that I highly encourage consumption of) as well as some dietary supplements, but in Western society most people get fructose from processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup."

  • John M. Berardi, Carb Roundtable part 2

This is the paragraph I was referring to. It becomes clear that honey may not be optimal post workout.


this might help you answer this question and another when would be the best time to have honey.
Composition of honey:
18% Water
35% Glucose (Dextrose)
40% Fructose (Levulose)
4% Other Sugars
3% Other substances


Thanks Hood, very helpful!