Belly fat is a common problem that many people face. Excess abdominal fat, also called visceral fat, is linked to health issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. People are always looking for natural solutions to reduce belly fat, like drinking honey water.
What is Honey Water?
Honey water is simply a mixture of honey dissolved in warm water. Some people drink it early morning on an empty stomach because it may offer health benefits. The combination is low in calories and rich in antioxidants.
Raw, organic honey is considered the healthiest type to use. It provides small amounts of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins. Yet nutrients vary based on the bees’ nectar source.
Honey is about 80% sugar, half of which is fructose. Table sugar is 50% fructose. Though fructose in moderation is unlikely to be harmful, large amounts can increase belly fat storage.
So a little honey water is fine, but it’s best to avoid drinking large quantities. For weight loss, you’ll want to watch your total daily calorie and sugar intake.
Does Honey Promote Weight Loss?
Some people claim that honey can reduce belly fat and promote weight loss. However, the evidence is mixed.
In one study of 48 overweight people, honey did not lead to greater weight loss over 12 weeks compared to table sugar. Both groups were advised to follow a low-calorie diet.
Another study found that rats fed honey gained less weight and body fat than those fed table sugar, but the quantities were extremely high and not realistic for humans.
In a study comparing low-calorie diets, one group was given honey while the other had sugar added to their yogurt. After 31 days, both groups saw similar reductions in body weight, body fat, waist size, and hip size.
Overall, research does not support claims that honey aids weight loss better than refined sugar.
Other Potential Benefits
Here are other ways honey water may benefit your health, though more research is needed:
- May relieve coughing. Honey may act as a natural cough suppressant, especially in children.
- Contains antioxidants. Honey is a rich source of phenolic acids and flavonoids, which act as antioxidants.
- May improve cholesterol. Honey may mildly lower triglycerides, total and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
- Helps heal wounds. Applying medical-grade honey to wounds and burns may accelerate healing.
- May relieve acid reflux. Honey may coat your esophagus and provide relief from heartburn.
- Provides probiotics. Raw honey contains probiotics that may help populate your gut with healthy bacteria.
Keep in mind that many of these claims are based on a small number of studies. More research is needed on honey’s effects on weight, belly fat, and overall health.
How to Use Honey Water
Here are some popular ways people consume honey water, with tips for preparation:
Empty Stomach Drink
Drinking honey water on an empty stomach is said to help burn fat and metabolize sugars. Here’s how to make it:
- Add 2 teaspoons (10 grams) of raw, organic honey to a glass of room temperature water.
- Drink the mixture immediately upon waking, at least 30 minutes before breakfast.
- Aim for a maximum of 2 tablespoons (40 grams) of honey per day to avoid adverse effects.
Some claim that honey before bed helps metabolize fat overnight. There’s no solid evidence to support this. However, if it helps you sleep, then it may benefit your waistline indirectly. Here’s one recipe:
- Heat 8 ounces (240 mL) of water just until warm, not boiling.
- Add 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 grams) of honey and stir until dissolved.
- You can add a squeeze of lemon, dash of cinnamon, or a mint leaf for flavor.
- Drink about 30 minutes before bed.
With Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar and honey are commonly combined. The mix is tangy, tart, and sweet. It’s said to help burn fat, though evidence is lacking:
- Add 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 grams) of raw honey to a cup of warm water.
- Add 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 mL) of apple cider vinegar.
- Stir well and drink once daily, such as in the morning.
- Pour it into a reusable water bottle to take on the go.
For another popular combination, simply add some fresh lemon juice:
- Squeeze 1/2 a lemon into 8 ounces (240 mL) of warm water.
- Stir in 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 grams) of honey until fully dissolved.
- Add ice cubes, if desired.
- Drink it cold or warm.
Downsides of Honey Water
Despite the health claims surrounding honey water, there are some downsides to keep in mind:
- High in sugar and calories. Honey contains 17 grams of sugar and 64 calories per tablespoon (21 grams), so drinking too much can make you gain weight.
- May cause cavities. The sugar in honey can feed cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth.
- Not safe for infants. Honey can contain botulism spores, which infants’ digestive systems cannot handle.
- Allergy risk. Those allergic to bee pollen should avoid honey.
- Blood sugar effects. Honey spikes blood sugar, so those with diabetes need to be cautious.
As a treat in moderation, honey water is likely fine. But it’s best not to go overboard.
There’s no standardized dosage for honey water. Remember that honey is high in sugar and calories if you drink large amounts.
As a general rule, it’s best to stick to 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 grams) of honey per day.
For children ages 1–5, the maximum is 1 teaspoon (5 grams) per day. Infants under one year should not have honey due to botulism risk.
If you have diabetes or are on a carb-restricted diet, talk to your healthcare provider about appropriate honey intake.
Many people drink honey water because it’s favored as a natural weight loss aid. However, there’s no good evidence that proves honey reduces belly fat or promotes weight loss.
Replacing sugar with honey may offer marginal nutrition benefits. But keep in mind that honey spikes blood sugar, so moderation is key.
Excess calories from any added sugar can easily sabotage weight loss efforts. Pay attention to your total daily calorie intake for the best chance of reducing belly fat.
Other Evidence-Based Ways to Lose Belly Fat
Here are some proven strategies to effectively shed stubborn belly fat:
Increased physical activity helps burn calories and shed excess fat. Do cardio and strength training to target belly fat.
Follow a Balanced Diet
Focus on whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Limit processed foods, sweets, sugary beverages, and alcohol.
Chronic stress causes elevated cortisol levels, which increases belly fat. Try meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or walking to manage stress.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Lack of sleep is linked to weight gain. Most adults should aim for 7–9 hours of quality sleep per night.
Mind Portion Sizes
Eating too much, even if it’s healthy food, can lead to weight gain. Control portions to reduce excess calorie intake.
|Vegetables||1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked|
|Fruits||1 medium piece or 1/2 cup chopped|
|Grains||1/2 cup cooked (size of a hockey puck)|
|Lean protein||3 ounces cooked (deck of cards)|
|Cheese||1.5 ounces (4 dice)|
|Butter or oil||1 teaspoon|
Try Intermittent Fasting
Going extended time periods without eating may help reduce belly fat. Consider a daily 16-hour fast with an 8-hour eating window.
Drinking more water may promote fat loss. Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid daily.
Honey water will not help you lose belly fat or weight any better than plain water. Focus instead on sustainable, healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes to trim down your waistline.
That said, honey water in moderation can be a tasty low-calorie beverage. Just be mindful of your total calorie and sugar intake for the day.