Effects of Post-Exercise Honey Drink Ingestion on Blood Glucose and Subsequent Running Performance in the Heat

Asian J Sports Med. 2015 Sep;6(3):e24044. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.24044. Epub 2015 Sep 28.


Background: Glycogen depletion and hypoglycemia have been associated with fatigue and decrement of performance during prolonged exercise.

Objectives: This study investigated the effectiveness of Acacia honey drink as a post-exercise recovery aid on glucose metabolism and subsequent running performance in the heat.

Patients and methods: Ten subjects participated in this randomized cross-over study. All subjects performed 2 trials. In each trial, all subjects went through a glycogen depletion phase (Run-1), 2-hour rehydration phase and time trial running phase (Run-2). In Run-1, subjects were required to run on a treadmill at 65% VO2max in the heat (31°C, 70% relative humidity) for 60 min. During 2-hour rehydration phase, subjects drank either plain water (PW) or honey drink (HD) with amount equivalent to 150% of body weight loss in 3 boluses (60%, 50% and 40% subsequently) at 0, 30 and 60 min. In Run-2, the longest distance covered in 20 min was recorded for determining running performance. Two-way repeated measured ANOVA and paired t-test were used for analysis.

Results: Running distance in Run-2 covered by the subjects in the honey drink HD trial (3420 ± 350 m) was significantly (P < 0.01) longer compared to plain water PW trial (3120 ± 340 m). In general, plasma glucose, serum insulin and osmolality were significantly (P < 0.05) higher in HD compared to PW during the rehydration phase and Run-2.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that rehydration with honey drink improves running performance and glucose metabolism compared to plain water in the heat. Thus, honey drink can be recommended for rehydration purpose for athletes who compete in the heat.

Keywords: Blood Glucose; Exercise; Ingestion.