All credits to Everyday Health:
A recent TikTok food sensation making the rounds sounds sweet on the surface: Freezing a water bottle full of honey gives it the consistency of taffy and makes an easy, squeezable treat that’s as natural as the nectar itself. The hashtag #FrozenHoney has racked up more than 683 million views with #FrozenHoneyChallenge topping 91 million. But before you fill your water bottle up, know that this trend is sticker than it appears, and one potential downside includes gastrointestinal distress.
According to those partaking in the challenge, frozen honey is a delicious and fun treat. Just fill a plastic bottle or popsicle mold with honey and optional add-ins, like corn syrup for a thinner consistency or food coloring or powdered drink mixes for visual appeal. Then wait anywhere from eight hours to overnight. The result? A supposedly delicious glob of frozen, chewy honey that elicits an ASMR response directly before melting in your mouth.
Avery Cyrus, a TikTok influencer with 6.5 million followers, discussed her experience with frozen honey in a video dubbed "Brb gotta go get my stomach pumped" that has been viewed over 15 million times. “I’m going to try this frozen honey thing,” she tells her fans, noting that it’s “supposed to be super-satisfying” and remarking about “how cool” it looks. “After you take a bite it starts melting,” she explains, squeezing globs of the traditional honey followed by blue and then red (“It’s corn syrup and Kool Aid” she notes). At the end of the video she looks ill as she admits her honey buffet was simply “too much!”
Another influencer who goes by Lalaleluu also added a cautionary warning to her video with over seven million views: “Note to self: Don’t eat three mouthfuls of honey in the morning, it will cause urgent bowel movement.”
Are There Any Benefits to Eating Frozen Honey?
The benefit of eating frozen honey, according to the millions of people trying it, is that it is fun and might taste good if you like honey. There may be a few other benefits, per experts.
Honey Is Packed Full of Antioxidants and Prebiotics
Jackie Newgent, RDN, plant-forward culinary nutritionist and author of The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook, notes there may be a few other health benefits. “It’s a surprising source of health-promoting antioxidants and gut-friendly prebiotics,” she reveals. While prebiotics may encourage digestion and gut health, antioxidants “may help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and support your immune health,” adds Keri Gans, MS, RDN, nutrition consultant and author of The Small Change Diet.
It May Help You Refuel Post-Workout
Because honey is full of sugar — a whopping 17 grams (g) per tablespoon — and sugar is a carbohydrate, “if you grab a couple tablespoons of frozen honey after an intense workout, it can be helpful for refueling your muscle glycogen,” notes Newgent. Glycogen is fuel for your muscles, and replenishing it soon after a workout with a carbohydrate source is essential for muscle recovery, according to research published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine.
Are There Any Risks if I Try Frozen Honey?
Unfortunately, sucking frozen honey out of a water bottle may harm your health, but “it really depends on how much a person is consuming,” explains Gans. A standard serving size of honey is 1 tablespoon (tbsp), but when you’re squeezing it out of a water bottle you’re likely not stopping at that amount.
Honey Is High in Calories
Newgent notes that honey is high in calories, with a whopping 60 — ”all from sugar” — in a single 1-tbsp serving. “If frozen honey becomes a regular thing for you, it definitely can lead to weight gain when indulging in it on top of your regular eating repertoire,” she points out.
Honey Is High in Sugar
As previously mentioned, just one serving of honey contains 17 g of sugar. Newgent points to American Heart Association recommendations, which recommends just 25 g of added sugar per day for women and 36 g for men. “It’s best for most women to have no more than 2 tbsp and most men to have no more than 3 tbsp of honey a day,” Newgent says.
It Can Spike Blood Glucose
Because of honey’s high sugar content, anyone with prediabetes or diabetes should avoid this TikTok trend, per Newegent, who maintains it can seriously impact blood glucose. “At minimum, it may lead to headaches from a possible spike in blood glucose in otherwise healthy people,” she notes. An excess of sugar in one’s diet can eventually lead to chronic inflammation, adds Gans.
It Can Upset Your Stomach
And like many TikToker’s have learned the hard way, if you consume too much frozen honey you may find yourself running to the bathroom. “Due to its fructose content, if you get carried away and consume even just one-fourth of a typical water bottle’s worth of frozen honey, you may experience bloating, stomach cramping, or diarrhea,” Newgent states. This is primarily due to fructose intolerance, a malabsorption condition that has become more prevalent over the last few decades with the increased consumption of beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.
Dabbling in the frozen honey TikTok viral trend isn’t going to kill you. However, consider it a slightly healthier alternative to munching on a candy bar. “If a person loves the taste of honey, and is looking for something sweet, they should simply keep their portion in check and enjoy,” suggests Gans. “But, if they already have a diet that is high in added sugars they might consider passing on this trend all together.” And unless watching frozen honey ooze out of a water bottle sparks joy, you can also avoid the trouble and snack on crystallized honey or honeycomb instead.
To minimize any potential negative side effects, she recommends avoiding bottles of it, as they are showing on TikTok, trying to stick to the serving size of one tablespoon. “You could freeze the honey in ice cube trays to create smaller servings.”