Sugar in Honey
Honey is composed of mainly fructose and glucose, with fructose typically being in slightly higher amounts than glucose. Both sugars are monosaccharides. They are the simplest form of carbohydrate. Both are readily absorbed by the liver where they are metabolized. Glucose is the body's primary source of energy. Once in the liver, it can be immediately used for energy production, be transported to muscles for energy storage in the form of muscle glycogen, or may be stored in liver as glycogen for later use.
Fructose will rapidly get converted to glucose derivatives within the liver. Once converted, it goes through the same process as glucose to produce energy. Simple sugars are an important component in sports nutrition due to how rapidly they can be converted to energy. These sugars as well as other monosaccharides and disaccharides are the primary source of energy in most all sports foods and beverages.
Honey is superior in sports nutrition due to the glucose/ fructose combination. The athlete is able to absorb more at a time due to the body using different channels of absorption. This leads to faster rate of glycogen repletion. For example, if an athlete chose a beverage or supplement with solely glucose as the carbohydrate, he/she would only absorb 1 g carbohydrate per minute (60 g carbohydrate/ hour). If the athlete were to choose a beverage or supplement containing a mixture of simple sugars- as in honey, he/she would be able to absorb 1.7 g carbohydrate per minute (102 CHO/ hour).