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Honey and Bee Pollen for Weightlifters

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The benefits of honey and especially bee pollen are one of the major talking points. They are often used by athletes as an ergogenic supplement to step up recovery and boost their performance. So what is special about honey and bee pollen? Are they actually so useful?

Honey and Bee Pollen for Weightlifters

What does honey consist of?

Honey mainly consists of simple carbohydrates such as disaccharides and monosaccharides. Also, it has a little bit of protein, some vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and polyphenols including bee pollen flavonoids. However, if it is heated and sterilized, even the slightest benefits vanish.

Only in case you eat 5 tablespoons of honey, you may cover 0,5-2% of recommended vitamins and minerals daily intake as long as you use raw unprocessed honey. Nevertheless, most shops usually distribute only sterilized honey that has been heated and purified from all pathogenic microorganisms possible in raw honey. 

By the way, do you know that using honey nearly equals adding sugar? For example, sugar is basically sucrose consisting of fructose and glucose. Honey only differs in the bigger amount of the second one. All in all, honey = sugar.

To conclude, it contains very few nutrients. The only way to get a sufficient amount of those is to consume kilos of honey.

But who can benefit from honey? Perhaps, heavy weightlifters with huge carbohydrates and calories need. One tablespoon of honey (21 grams) contains 17 grams of carbohydrates and 64 calories. Thus, having a slice of bread with a tablespoon of honey as a snack can help you increase the value of a meal and an overall daily nutrient intake. 

What does honey consist of?

However, you can’t be too careful because according to up-to-date recommendations, sugar shouldn’t overrun 10% of the daily calorie amount.  For example, if your norm is 2000 calories, you can consume 200 calories with sugar which equals 48 grams. But mind that apart from honey, a lot of other products, especially processed ones, are rich in sugar too. 


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What is special about bee pollen?

Bee pollen can be found in flowering plants. While looking for nectar, worker bees collect pollen and store it on their bodies and legs. 

Bee pollen is known to contain men’s reproductive cells as well as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, and even all 9 essential amino acids. However, don’t treat bee pollen as a rich source of protein as there are only 2 grams of it in a tablespoon (10 grams). Moreover, this nutrient isn’t as well-digested as other kinds of proteins.

Now, there are plenty of loud statements about bee pollen. It is believed to be conducive to endurance, strength, and performance. Some athletes even take it to improve their appetite. Yet, there is no convincing proof of its benefits.

Moreover, many doctors claim that some possible risks are more significant than bee pollen benefits. They are mostly concerned about allergies. People suffering from allergies to pollen are likely to react to bee pollen in the same way. Such reactions vary from light to lethal ones.

The most common symptoms include itchiness, edema, and dyspnea. In some rare cases, the ill may face the most life-threatening allergic reaction – anaphylaxis. Therefore, people dealing with asthma and similar allergies shouldn’t use bee pollen.

What is special about bee pollen?

Bear in mind that not all-natural products are harmless. In 2015, FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) recommended not to use particular vendors of bee pollen for losing weight. While analyzing some samples, researchers stumbled across sibutramine which was banned in 2010. Also, they found phenolphthalein – a chemical additive that is NOT approved in the USA.

In a nutshell, all the benefits of bee pollen haven’t been properly explored yet. You may try it out in case you don’t have any contraindications but don’t wait for a miracle anyway. You better pay attention to the quality and the number of your meals. Such alterations actually work – they improve performance, step up recovery and conduce to muscle gain.

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  1. Photos by @alexandermils, @nil_foto, @benyamin_bohlouli,

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Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Author: Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Experience: 21 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 200 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Oleksiy Torokhtiy is a professional athlete boasting 20 years of experience in Olympic weightlifting. With multiple European and World titles under his belt, he has showcased his prowess in two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012). Upon concluding his illustrious career, Oleksiy dedicated himself to coaching. By 2022, he had conducted over 200 weightlifting seminars worldwide. He is the visionary behind an international sportswear and accessories brand known for its motto, “Warm Body Cold Mind.” Additionally, he is an esteemed author and the creator of a series of training programs and eBooks.

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