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J Nutr. 2002 Nov;132(11):3379-82.

Substituting honey for refined carbohydrates protects rats from hypertriglyceridemic and prooxidative effects of fructose.

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Centre de Recherche en Nutrition Humaine d'Auvergne, Unité des Maladies Métaboliques et Micronutriments, INRA, Theix, 63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France.


Recent findings indicate that a high fructose diet has a prooxidant effect in rats compared with a starch diet. Because honey is rich in fructose, the aim of this study was to assess the effect of substituting honey for refined carbohydrates on lipid metabolism and oxidative stress. Rats were fed for 2 wk purified diets containing 65 g/100 g carbohydrates as wheat starch or a combination of fructose and glucose or a honey-based diet prepared by substituting honey for refined carbohydrates (n = 9/group). The same amount of fructose was provided by the honey and fructose diets. The hypertriglyceridemic effect of fructose was not observed when fructose was provided by honey. Compared with those fed starch, fructose-fed rats had a lower plasma alpha-tocopherol level, higher plasma nitrite and nitrate (NOx) levels and were less protected from lipid peroxidation as indicated by heart homogenate TBARS concentration. Compared with those fed fructose, honey-fed rats had a higher plasma alpha-tocopherol level, a higher alpha-tocopherol/triacylglycerol ratio, lower plasma NOx concentrations and a lower susceptibility of heart to lipid peroxidation. Further studies are required to identify the mechanism underlying the antioxidant effect of honey but the data suggest a potential nutritional benefit of substituting honey for fructose in the diet.

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