This summer has been hot! In fact, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), July 2021 was Earth’s hottest month on record. With the temperatures up, many people are looking for creative ways to cool down.
On TikTok, a recent trend known as the #FrozenHoney Challenge has garnered over 1.2 billion views as of Aug. 23. In several videos, TikTok users can be seen freezing bottles of honey — sometimes mixing it with other sugary concoctions like corn syrup and Kool-Aid — and then eating the sticky substance. Now, there are several news headlines and social media users claiming the frozen honey trend can cause health problems. The VERIFY team asked health experts to weigh in.
Can the frozen honey TikTok trend cause health problems?
- #FrozenHoney TikTok Challenge
- American Heart Association
- Charmaine Jones, MS, RDN, LDN, Owner of Food Jonezi
- Amy Kimberlain, RDN, LDN, CDCES, National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Dr. Tricia Quartey-Sagaille, DMD, FAGD, CEO of Noble Dental Care and Spokesperson for the American Dental Association
Yes, the frozen honey TikTok trend can cause health problems, such as cavities and stomach issues.
WHAT WE FOUND
Amy Kimberlain, a registered dietitian nutritionist and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells VERIFY that eating anything in excess is not always a “good” thing — honey included. She says while honey is typically used to sweeten food and sometimes can be considered a “healthier sugar alternative” because of its antioxidants, it is simply another form of sugar and people should be mindful of how much they are consuming.
In relation to the frozen honey trend, Kimberlain says it can be compared to eating a lot of candy all in one sitting and eating the frozen concoction does not have any nutritional benefits.
“Honey is sugar. Eating too much sugar, in general, is not something I would recommend for a healthy treat and of course, if consumed frequently (as is shown in the trend) it could potentially lead to someone consuming an excessive number of extra calories, which could lead to weight gain. Also, having too much sugar at once does lead to a rise in blood sugar,” said Kimberlain.
The American Heart Association recommends women eat no more than 100 calories a day of added sugar, which equals around six teaspoons. For men, the nonprofit organization recommends they eat no more than 150 calories of added sugar per day, or around nine teaspoons. According to the USDA, one tablespoon of honey — which is equal to three teaspoons — contains 17.2 grams of sugar or around 64 calories.
Charmaine Jones, a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Food Jonezi in Washington, D.C., also tells VERIFY she does not recommend eating large portions of frozen honey because it could lead to gastrointestinal issues.
“When you eat so much sugar at once, the first thing that happens is that you actually overstimulate your gastrointestinal system, which is your gut. When you do that, it causes diarrhea, it causes nauseousness, it causes bloating and gassiness because a lot of times your system cannot absorb all that sugar fructose at once, so it causes this malabsorption. So no, you definitely don't want to eat a blob of honey at one time, especially with extra sugar, too,” said Jones.
Dr. Tricia Quartey-Sagaille, a general family and cosmetic dentist and spokesperson for the American Dental Association, says trying the #FrozenHoney trend could potentially lead to tooth decay and long-term tooth damage if consumed too often.
“I saw the videos and I was mortified. It can absolutely cause cavities. What we worry about with these sugary things is the bacteria in your plaque will produce acids that attack your teeth. So 100%, it can cause cavities, especially when you start adding in Kool-Aid and all these other things,” said Dr. Quartey-Sagaille. “Honey is sticky, and it's full of sugar — it just stays in all the wrong places. We always try and tell people to stay away from sticky foods, especially things like honey. I definitely don't recommend that anybody freeze honey and consume it.”
Kimberlain, Jones and Quartey-Sagaille all warn against trying any food or nutrition-related trends on TikTok and other forms of social media without consulting a doctor, registered dietitian nutritionist or dentist first.
“I do always say consider the source. Make sure if you are following a food trend, or taking some nutritional advice that this person is credible, that this person is a registered dietitian. If you’re not really sure about the information, it is always good to talk to your personal registered dietitian or your health care team or doctor,” said Jones. “Everyone's body is different. If you’re a person that has an underlying condition like diabetes or has an issue with weight gain, you don't want to follow these bizarre TikTok trends.”