Honey as an Energy Source
is an excellent source of glucose and fructose and is easily assimilated in the
human body because it has been predigested: bees temporarily store the nectar in
a special part of their stomachs, where it is partially digested. The bees'
digestive fluids contain enzymes that transform the nectar into honey.
glucose units are either used directly for energy, and converted to pyruvate and
APT through glycolysis,
or joined together to make glycogen – a storage form of carbohydrate. When
more energy is required, the liver converts glycogen into glucose, which is
delivered by the bloodstream to muscles and most importantly the brain. The
overall reaction that occurs on metabolism of glucose is:
Glucose + 2Pi + 2ADP + 2NAD+ ---->
2 pyruvate + 2NADH
2H+ + 2H2O
fructose units are also rapidly incorporated into the glycolysis cycle. In
muscle and adipose tissue, fructose can be phosphorylated by hexokinase to
fructose-6-phosphate, which then enters glycolysis. Alternatively, in the liver
fructose id phosphorylated via the fructose-1-phoshate pathway forming
glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate, which also enters glycolysis.
developments in the world of athletics mean that it has become fashionable for
athletes for ingest carbohydrates prior to, during and/or following exercise in
the form of a gel. Since honey is a unique, naturally occurring combination of
various sugars and antioxidants in a gel form, it has become a very popular
replacement to the many sports gels available on the market to fuel strenuous
exercise. Recent clinical
studies have shown that honey performs as well as glucose in sustaining
endurance and power.
may also help muscles recuperate faster after training. Using honey as the carbohydrate source,
researchers found that when it is combined with a protein supplement, subjects
maintained better glucose levels, or blood sugar levels, which
is an important part of post-workout recovery. Honey was also shown to have a
more favourable profile than typical carbohydrates on hormone metabolism and
performance, thus leading to quicker recuperation after exercise.
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