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J Food Sci. 2008 Jan;73(1):H1-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00592.x.

The long-term effects of feeding honey compared with sucrose and a sugar-free diet on weight gain, lipid profiles, and DEXA measurements in rats.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand.


To determine whether honey and sucrose would have differential effects on weight gain during long-term feeding, 45 2-mo-old Sprague Dawley rats were fed a powdered diet that was either sugar-free or contained 7.9% sucrose or 10% honey ad libitum for 52 wk (honey is 21% water). Weight gain was assessed every 1 to 2 wk and food intake was measured every 2 mo. At the completion of the study blood samples were removed for measurement of blood sugar (HbA1c) and a fasting lipid profile. DEXA analyses were then performed to determine body composition and bone mineral densities. Overall weight gain and body fat levels were significantly higher in sucrose-fed rats and similar for those fed honey or a sugar-free diet. HbA1c levels were significantly reduced, and HDL-cholesterol significantly increased, in honey-fed compared with rats fed sucrose or a sugar free diet, but no other differences in lipid profiles were found. No differences in bone mineral density were observed between honey- and sucrose-fed rats, although it was significantly increased in honey-fed rats compared with those fed the sugar-free diet.

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