By Tom Knox World-Herald Staff Writer
Honey has been lumped together with sugar as a simple carbohydrate that provides empty calories and promotes hypoglycemia, a blood-sugar disorder.
But recent studies indicate that honey might be an effective and inexpensive carbohydrate alternative to sports drinks, the Seattle Times said.
One trial gave 71 participants one of seven carbohydrate gels. Honey was found not to induce hypoglycemia, producing only a mild increase in blood sugar and insulin.
A second study gave protein shakes with different sweeteners to 39 subjects after intense weight training. The honey-sweetened shake was the only one to sustain blood-sugar levels over a two- hour period.
A third study involved nine competitive cyclists who received honey, glucose or a calorie-free placebo for each of three weeks, and then rode a simulated 40-mile time trial. With both honey and dextrose, the cyclists increased power and speed over the participants who had the placebo.
Researchers say these studies may indicate that honey could work as a “time-released” fuel for exercising muscles and may be a good source of carbohydrates to replenish muscles after a workout.
Researchers are also interested in possible uses of honey by diabetics or people on low-glycemic diets, which are less likely to cause sudden, sharp increases in blood sugar.
There may be a link between women who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and an increased risk of a heart attack over a long period of time, the Palm Beach Post said.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found the increased risk of heart attack to be about double over an extended period of time. The study involved about 114,000 women.