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    There are many messages out there about sugar and all the foods that count or don’t count as sugar. One “sugar” has stood the test of time as not only a sweetener but an ancient therapeutic agent. That sweetener is known as “liquid gold,” the “nectar of the gods,” or simply “honey”! 

    If you’re here, you may be new to fasting or trying to decide if it’s right for you. Maybe you’ve been intermittent fasting for a while but have heard about honey and its beneficial properties, so you’re here to find out, does honey break a fast?  

    Craving the “nectar of the gods” while fasting? Dive into our guide on honey — from ancient therapeutic uses to whether it’s a fasting friend or foe. Get the buzz with SIMPLE’s insights!

    If you’re new to fasting, do us a favor and check out this list of people that we recommend avoid fasting:

    • If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive.
    • If you are living with type 1 diabetes.
    • If you are on prescription medications.
    • If you are under the age of 18 or 80 years or older.
    • If you are extremely active.
    • If you have a body mass index (BMI) < 18.5.
    • If you have an eating disorder or a history of one (or are at risk of developing one).

    All clear here? OK! Now, check in with your doctor — all clear there, too? Good!

    Welcome! You can start by taking our SIMPLE quiz and checking out all of our resources, like “What to eat during intermittent fasting” and “What you can drink while fasting,” to help you on your way. 

    Now, back to your initial question: does honey break intermittent fasting? 

    What is honey? 

    Before we get to whether honey breaks a fast or not, we need to understand what honey is. Honey is a natural sweetener synthesized in a multistep process in the hives of bees from the nectar they collect from flowers and plants. It comes in different varieties, such as wildflower and orange blossom. Its components depend on the plants and region where the bees gather their nectar. 

    Nutritional value

    Honey has been used for centuries for its therapeutic properties.[1] The bee’s process of turning nectar into honey breaks the nectar down from sucrose into glucose and fructose.[2] It also adds the good bacteria lactobacillus, antibacterial enzymes, and trace amounts of minerals and electrolytes, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, and iron, among others. 

    Will honey break a fast?

    When you’re in a fasted state, your blood sugar doesn’t rise to trigger an insulin response. This is how intermittent fasting can promote weight loss. It forces your body to use fat stores as fuel. It’s also how intermittent fasting and insulin resistance relate. By giving your body a break from having to manage its blood sugar levels, fasting has been shown to help prevent or improve insulin resistance.[3] 

    Honey’s sugar and caloric content, approximately 60 calories per tablespoon and 17 g of carbohydrates, is above our <10 calorie threshold for what breaks a fast. So yes, consuming honey does break your fast.

    Health benefits and possible drawbacks of using honey while intermittent fasting

    Benefits of honey during fasting 

    • Anti-inflammatory — Honey is high in polyphenols and flavonoids, strong antioxidant compounds that prevent inflammation.[4]
    • Improved fasting BG — The anti-inflammatory properties reduce oxidative stress and aid in improving fasting blood sugars, possibly boosting the effect of intermittent fasting on blood sugar.[5]
    • Cardio-protective effects — Some research shows honey can help improve blood pressure and blood lipids.[6]  

    Drawbacks of honey during fasting

    • Increased blood sugar — Honey has a high glycemic index, which means a small amount goes a long way and will quickly raise blood sugars.
    • Small servings — Because it’s loaded with sugar, people usually end up having it in such tiny amounts that the beneficial vitamins and minerals don’t really get a chance to make a significant impact. 
    • High caloric content — Too much honey can quickly derail any weight loss or blood sugar control goals you may have for intermittent fasting. 

    Tips on using honey during a fast

    Although honey sounds great, it seems like it would be a little tricky to include it in your diet while intermittent fasting. How can you possibly have honey while fasting and still reach your fasting goals? Here’s how: 

    • You might be wondering, does even a teaspoon of honey (~20 calories) break a fast? Yes, it will. So, remember to include honey during your eating window, not during your fasting window. 
    • Include honey in moderation. Start with replacing your regular sugar intake with honey instead of adding to the sugar you already consume. 
    • Pair it with foods that contain high fiber, protein, or healthy fats, especially if you are living with diabetes or insulin resistance. This can help slow the absorption of sugar and prevent spikes in blood sugar. 
    • Include it before exercise or physical activity to help your blood sugar return to normal more quickly.