WARNING! The first two paragraphs of this article are limited to describing as faithfully as possible the "Honey Diet" system; the author's nutritional comment is only available in the last paragraph.
What is it about?
The honey diet is a diet based on the alleged slimming effect of honey, to be substituted for all refined sugars in the context of a non-restrictive diet.
According to nutritionist Mike McInnes, creator of the system, the slimming effect of honey is a consequence of its metabolic and psychological impact. He believes that honey can act on two fronts: reducing the excessive desire for sweet foods and improving lipid catabolism.
The honey diet requires no calorie counts, no grammage, and no expensive food or supplements; allows you to lose up to 1,5kg in one week.
According to McInnes, most of the weight loss would occur during sleep, before which a spoonful of honey would have to be ingested.
The secret of this system is based, contrary to what one might imagine, precisely in the high percentage of sugars contained in honey. Of purely natural origin, the carbohydrates of this product react differently than the refined ones which, in significant quantities, tend to generate a real glycemic-insulin surge. In fact, the increase in blood sugar and insulinemia tends to hinder lipid disposal and increases the desire to consume other sweets, two extremely counterproductive aspects of weight loss.
Using honey it is therefore possible NOT to eliminate sweetened foods; on the contrary, it allows it to be used in spontaneously moderate quantities without the risk of negatively altering the metabolism.
What to Eat in the Honey Diet?
Let's briefly summarize the basic principles of the honey diet:
- Replace sugar with honey: sometimes, food sugar can have a more fattening effect than fats themselves. It is therefore necessary to eliminate discretionary sugar and all foods that contain it, replacing it with honey. Honey can be added to herbal teas, hot water (before going to bed), coffee, tea, bread, milk, yogurt, etc.
- Prefer unrefined carbohydrates: refined wheat flour and white rice, as well as the foods that contain them, can cause real spikes in blood sugar (therefore also in insulin). Wholemeal ones, on the other hand, being rich in fiber, guarantee satiety, a better metabolic impact and intestinal mobility. They must make up a little less than a quarter of the meal and can be used in alternation with legumes.
- Always consume protein foods, vegetables and fruit: lean protein foods, such as white meats, low-fat cottage cheese, egg white, wheat muscle, tofu and fish, must be present at every meal. The portion of vegetables is almost free, while the fruit should be consumed in two units per day, preferring the less caloric one. Protein foods and vegetables should make up over ¾ of each meal.
- Use milk and derivatives with fat, avoiding skimming: although it may seem strange, preferring skimmed dairy products can indirectly increase the share of sugars in them (e.g. the addition of sugar in yoghurt to 0,1g of fat ). However, they should be taken in moderation, that is: a yogurt or a jar of cottage cheese, and no more than half a liter of milk per day.
- Avoid junk food: This is the case with all snacks, fast foods, sweets, carbonated drinks and alcohol. The honey diet only works if you eliminate these products from your diet.
- Avoid complex carbohydrates one day a week: in addition to eliminating refined products and reducing total carbohydrates, it is also necessary to follow a full day of unloading; cereal derivatives can be replaced with fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, yogurt, nuts and other seeds.
- Eliminate potatoes: they are responsible for very high glycemic levels, often accompany large quantities of fats, toxic compounds (acrylamide, acrolein, polycyclic aromatic, etc.) and tend to hinder weight loss.
The honey diet is a basically high-protein diet. It doesn't rule out carbohydrates, but it drastically limits them. This is a system that cannot be adopted by those who practice intense and prolonged aerobic sports, as most of the subjects could experience the symptoms of hypoglycemia: weakness, low blood pressure, asthenia, irritability, impaired sleep-wake rhythm, etc.
The breakdown of energetic macronutrients is characteristic. It predicts the superiority of proteins over carbohydrates and lipids; moreover, due to the elimination of seasonings, total fats are reduced in a more than significant way.
At a guess, 50% peptides, 10-15% lipids and 35-40% carbohydrates are reached in the honey diet. It is rich in fiber and, depending on the amount of oil seeds and fish, can provide a sufficient amount of essential fatty acids.
The quantity of vitamins and mineral salts can be more or less suitable depending on the specific case; an accurate evaluation is however completely impossible, since the honey diet does not foresee the weight of the foods.
This system should not be used in clinical nutrition, even if the use of a few whole grains, derivatives and legumes could help a possible pathological condition of hyperglycemia (typical of type 2 diabetes mellitus) and hypertriglyceridemia.
It is completely unsuitable for the pregnant woman's nutrition and can create imbalances if adopted in old age.
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