The Frozen Honey Trend on TikTok Is Concerning Dietitians
#HoneyJelly is trending on TikTok, but it can wreak havoc on your digestive system.
“Mom, can I do the honey-jelly-thing on TikTok?” my tweenage daughter asked recently. You've probably heard about TikTok trends like "honey jelly" and frozen honey. How harmful could these trends really be? (Honey is a health food, right?) After taking a closer look, I quickly realized that the trends in the viral video du jour can actually be harmful to your health. Here's why you shouldn't be making honey jelly or freezing your honey bear anytime soon.
Is Honey Jelly (or Frozen Honey) Healthy?
Honey Jelly and Honey Challenges, as dubbed by TikTokers, have morphed into several recipes (for lack of a better descriptor), but the method is simple. Pump honey (or worse, corn syrup) into a small plastic bottle; add a boost of flavor or color from candy or powdered drink mix; and pop in the freezer. Once set, you can seemingly "defy gravity," squeezing the partially frozen stalk of honey right into your mouth and then you can chew it... until it melts. The high sugar content of honey means it will never completely solidify, giving it that chewable, jelly-like consistency.
Sucking on gobs and gobs of frozen honey could be a recipe for disaster. Those concentrated doses of honey can do damage to your teeth, for one thing. Those calories and simple carbs easily add up — just 3 tablespoons of honey meets the daily limit for added sugar of 50 grams per day — which is generous for a 2,000 calorie diet. Those with diabetes need to be particularly careful since that potent dose of sugar will spike blood sugar levels like a rocket. Another very real consequence of gulping all that honey is the potential for very unpleasant digestive woes, including nausea, cramping and diarrhea. (When mixed with corn syrup this reaction may be even worse.)
But Isn't Honey Healthy?
Honey is a truly wonderful food. The gooey, golden, syrup is not only spectacularly sweet, it contains antioxidants, prebiotics to promote gut health and even trace amounts of vitamins and minerals. Honey is also profoundly soothing for a sore throat. Derived from flowers, the various varietals of honey take on specialized colors and flavors, making for a culinary adventure of possibilities. No matter what type of honey you choose, the nutritional composition is fairly standard with each tablespoon offering 60 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrates, made up of mostly fructose and glucose.
The beauty of honey is the delicious, sweet and floral flavor – making it a less processed way to add sweetness and flavor to beverages, sauces, marinades, oatmeal and baked goods. Since it is so sweet, a little goes a long way, making a trend like TikTok's honey jelly or frozen honey particularly unhealthy.
Honey is a wonderful thing, but too much (frozen or not), can do more harm than good no matter what TikTok has to say about it.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooks First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and Healthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.