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When cutting it can be frustrating to see that your choice of foods is very limited and that even supposedly ‘healthy’ options are high in calories.
We’re often asked about these healthy foods, and whether you can or can’t include them in your diet when cutting. One commonly asked question we get is can you eat honey when cutting.
Although honey is ‘healthy’ in terms of nutritional benefits such as antioxidants, it is high in sugar and calories (despite these being natural sugars).
As a result, it doesn’t lend itself well to cutting and can make it much harder to cut if it’s something you want to eat often. But does that mean it’s impossible to eat honey while cutting?
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Can You Eat Honey When Cutting?
You can eat honey when cutting so long as you account for the calories it contains. However, because honey is high in sugar and is calorie-dense, meaning it contains a lot of calories per gram, you may struggle to reach your calorie target and maintain a deficit when eating honey.
When it comes to cutting, the main focus is on calories. However, something else to consider is sugar consumption as this can have a big impact on cravings, which can make cutting that much harder.
Unfortunately, honey is high in sugar. This means that when you eat it, it causes a spike in blood sugar levels. As these levels come down people often find themselves craving sugary foods in order to spike those levels again.
So this high sugar content makes honey a less than ideal choice when cutting as consuming it can lead to cravings for more sugary foods.
What is Honey?
Honey is a food substance that is made by bees from the nectar of flowers. The honey from honey bees is the most popular variety and it’s available in supermarkets all over the Western world.
Due to its sweet flavor, honey is used in a lot of recipes. It can also be eaten on its own, or as a spread on toast.
So just because you’re trying to cut down on calories doesn’t mean that honey should necessarily be eliminated from your diet, as it does come with potential health benefits and can be a much better “treat” than other sugary foods with a low nutrient-density.
Per 100g, the nutritional value of honey is:
Honey is a calorie-dense food. This means that per gram it packs a lot of calories when compared to other foods. However, the figures in the above table aren’t likely to be a typical serving size.
If you’re adding a couple of spoonfuls of honey to your oats, using it as a sweetener for protein shakes, or spreading it on toast, then you’re more likely to have around 50-60 grams which would be around 150-180 calories which isn’t as bad as 304 calories!
There is also the added benefit that while honey is high in calories and sugar, it contains 0g of fat per serving, meaning that it leaves you with some opportunities to balance out your macros throughout the day with other food options.
Related – Do macros matter when cutting
The issue though is if you’re doing this multiple times a day. A couple of spoonfuls used a few times a day are quickly going to add up above 304 calories and is really going to affect your daily calorie intake.
How to Eat Honey When Cutting
Like I just said, a couple of spoonfuls of honey is more likely to be what people consume when they’re having honey. However, chances are you wouldn’t be eating honey alone – you’ll likely be having it with a shake, with food like toast or oats, or in a recipe.
As a result, honey can add a significant amount to your overall calorie intake.
The main issue with honey is that it’s not satiating, it doesn’t fill up your stomach or reduce appetite and it comes with a high-calorie count. These factors are far from ideal when cutting and for this reason, it’s not something you’d consider to be a good cutting food.
When cutting, each calorie matters but you don’t want to eliminate foods with potential health benefits. So I’d recommend considering your portion size.
30g of honey would only be around 90 calories. This can easily be adjusted for in your daily calorie intake. So long as you account for this and maintain a calorie deficit you should still see results when cutting.
So the important thing is to only consume a small amount.
You should also consider how often you’re eating it. Eating a couple of spoonfuls every day quickly adds up and will become a noticeable amount of your daily calorie intake. So consider just having honey once a day or even every couple of days.
There is also another way to get your honey fix without having to account for the same amount of calories. Although, it should be noted that with a lot of these alternatives the health benefits aren’t the same.
In the next section, I’ve highlighted some honey alternatives so that you can still enjoy the taste, without having to account for the same high-calorie intake.
Honey Alternatives When Cutting
When it comes to honey alternatives many people suggest foods like agave syrup or golden syrup. However, these aren’t suitable for cutting because they’re also high in sugar and in calories. So you’ll need to look into other forms of alternatives.
A good honey alternative is a low-calorie syrup. These products are great because they go well in drinks like coffee, as well as foods like oatmeal without adding a lot of calories.
See also – Can you drink milk when cutting
These low-calorie syrups promise to be equally sweet in taste, without having the high sugar content. They’re also a similar texture to honey, so you shouldn’t notice a huge difference when using these products.
In the UK/Europe there is a brand called SkinnyFood which offers a huge variety of zero-calorie syrups.
There is also plenty of low sugar and lower calorie honey substitutes. These offer a similar taste to honey and can be used to sweeten shakes or have with your oats.
These kinds of low sugar products are particularly good if you’re concerned about your sugar intake, as they are a much lower sugar alternative to regular honey.
Walden Farms does a variety of low carb, low-calorie syrups which are ideal for cutting (see the range here).
Honey has potential health benefits so eating a couple of spoonfuls every now and again doesn’t add a huge amount of calories to your overall intake.
However, honey isn’t an ideal food when cutting. It’s high in sugar which can cause cravings for sugary foods which in turn will make sticking to your cutting diet that much harder.
Honey is also calorie-dense. Although one spoonful isn’t going to add a lot of calories, consistently having honey quickly adds a lot of calories and could impact your fat loss progress.
There are other products that offer a sweet honey-like taste and a similar syrup texture without the same amount of sugar and calories that are much more suitable when counting calories while cutting.
These products will satisfy your sweet tooth without the added calories.