Effect of honey on glucose and insulin concentrations in obese girls

Eur J Clin Invest. 2019 Feb;49(2):e13042. doi: 10.1111/eci.13042. Epub 2018 Nov 16.


Background: Childhood obesity represents a major health problem of our century. The benefits of natural products, such as honey, in the management of obesity have gained renewed interest. In this study, we investigated the effect of honey on glucose and insulin concentrations in obese prepubertal girls.

Materials and methods: Thirty healthy obese girls aged 10.55 (±SEM:0.34) years with a mean body mass index (BMI) above the 97th centile for age (28.58 ± 1.40 kg/m2 , BMI z-score 2.96) underwent a standard oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) followed by an oral honey tolerance test (OHTT) 2 weeks later. Both solutions contained 75 g of glucose. Subsequently, subjects were randomized to receive either 15 g of honey or 15 g of marmalade daily, while both groups complied with dietetic instructions. Six months later all subjects were re-evaluated with an OGTT and an OHTT.

Results: At the end of the study, all subjects demonstrated a significant reduction in BMI (27.57 ± 1.40, z-score: 2.54 vs 28.58 ± 1.40 kg/m2 , z-score: 2.96, P < 0.001), however, there were no significant differences in BMI and all parameters tested between the group that received honey and the control group. The areas under the concentration-time curve for glucose and insulin for the entire population were significantly lower following ingestion of honey than glucose solution (P < 0.001) both at the beginning and at the end of study.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that honey does not have an effect on stimulated plasma glucose and serum insulin concentrations compared with the standard glucose solution in obese prepubertal girls.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus type 2; honey; insulin resistance; obesity; overweight.

Publication types

  • Equivalence Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Honey*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Pediatric Obesity / blood*
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Glucose