America's National Honey Board (NHB) has developed a sports beverage formula which it claims has similar nutrient profiles as major branded versions. The new formula also has a higher level of potassium than most other sports drinks.
"Some of our preliminary research shows that honey could be an effective pre-workout energy source that does not induce hypoglycemia," said NHB director of scientific affairs, Marcia Cardetti.
"As part of this same research, we have also seen that using honey as a carbohydrate source during exercise significantly improved performance and power during endurance cycling trials."
Another study suggests that combining honey with a protein supplement may boost post-workout recuperation and favour better blood sugar maintenance after exercise.
These and other studies led the organisation to investigate a sports beverage supplemented with honey. "Athletes are already using honey as a source of energy," Cardetti explained. "We are applying it to a potential product that will also help in the replenishment of fluids."
The formulas currently include a honey and orange and honey and lemon option. NHB claims that each delivers a nearly equivalent amount of carbohydrate and calories to manufactured sports beverages, with a superior delivery of potassium, averaging 85mg compared to an average 40 mg for other popular products.
"We are also excited about the taste," Cardetti said. "The honey and fruit combination make this deliciously refreshing and thirst-quenching."