People have used garlic and honey as medicinal therapies for thousands of years (
Ancient civilizations, like the Sumerians, used them for their healing properties and nutritional value, as well as to treat various diseases (
You may have even heard that a simple garlic and honey formula could help you lose weight.
This article explores the therapeutic properties of garlic and honey and discusses whether the pair helps with weight loss.
In addition to being tasty cooking ingredients, garlic and honey have other uses. Scientists have even studied the combination for its antimicrobial effects (
However, only a small amount of research has been done on the effectiveness of a garlic and honey formula for weight loss. To date, research has not found evidence to support this claim.
Still, scientists know that both garlic and honey are rich in health promoting compounds, so it’s possible that the two could indirectly support weight loss and contribute to optimal health overall.
To investigate the potential weight loss effects of garlic and honey together, scientists would need to do more research.
Nevertheless, you’re likely to see the greatest weight loss results if you pair garlic and honey therapies with approaches to weight loss that research has shown to be effective. These include exercising regularly and eating a nutritionally balanced diet.
Though both garlic and honey contain many health promoting compounds, there is little evidence to show they help people lose weight.
One recent analysis of studies looked at 13 studies that examined the effects of garlic supplements on body weight and related measurements. It found that garlic supplements had no significant effect on body weight (
In one study of 110 people with chronic liver disease, those who took 800 mg of garlic powder daily lost significantly more weight than those who took a placebo. It’s important to note that this study used garlic powder supplements, not whole garlic (
Another small study gave people with obesity a multi-ingredient supplement that included garlic daily for 8 weeks. Participants who took the supplement experienced significant changes in body weight compared with those who took a placebo (
In addition to garlic, this supplement contained raspberry ketone, caffeine, capsaicin, ginger, and Seville orange, so the researchers couldn’t say whether the garlic specifically had any effect (
Furthermore, the study participants simultaneously used other means of weight loss during the study, including a calorie-restricted diet and exercise training (
Scientists have done more studies on garlic and weight loss in animals. Most have used garlic oil or extracts rather than whole garlic.
A few of these studies found encouraging results. Garlic supplements suppressed weight gain and reduced body weight in the animals (
Garlic is a bulbous plant and a member of the Allium genus (
Its bulbs are low in calories but high in nutrients — especially allicin, flavonoids, and other sulfur-containing compounds (
Researchers think these compounds are responsible for the health benefits of garlic (
Some research suggests they could even have anti-obesity effects, like reducing fat accumulation and weight gain (
However, these results don’t indicate that a garlic and honey formula is effective for weight loss.
Garlic is rich in allicin and other sulfur-containing compounds that could have benefits for weight loss when people use them in combination with other healthy habits.
Some studies suggest that honey may also have benefits for weight loss, especially when people use it to replace other sweeteners that are higher in calories, such as table sugar (
One small study in 37 healthy adults compared the effects of consuming honey instead of table sugar daily over the course of 4 weeks. Those who consumed honey had a lower intake of calories, carbs, and sugar overall than the table sugar group (
In older study, people with type 2 diabetes were given a daily dose of honey for 8 weeks. The individuals who received honey had some decreases in body weight compared with people who didn’t get anything (
However, the people who received honey also experienced adverse changes to their levels of hemoglobin A1C, a long-term indicator of blood sugar levels (
Finally, another older study in 55 adults with overweight or obesity found that consuming 70 grams of honey daily for 30 days led to a 1.3% greater reduction in body weight and a 1.1% greater reduction in body fat, compared with consuming the same amount of table sugar (
Scientists have observed similar effects on weight in some animal studies that compared the effects of honey and table sugar (
Honey is a sweet liquid that bees make from flower nectar. It’s composed mostly of water and sugars (
A 1 tablespoon (20 gram) serving of honey contains approximately 60 calories and 16 grams of sugar, or nearly 32% of the Daily Value (DV) for sugar (
Because honey is high in sugar, it may seem counterintuitive that it could help with weight loss.
However, similar to garlic, it contains many vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that may account for the health benefits of honey (
Honey may have greater benefits for weight loss when people use it to replace other sweeteners that are higher in calories, such as table sugar.
You can prepare your own garlic and honey formula at home in just a few easy steps.
Follow these instructions to prepare approximately 2 cups (473 mL) of garlic and honey formula.
Choosing ingredients that are fresh and high quality may have the greatest benefits.
Some evidence suggests that raw, unpasteurized honey contains more nutrients than types that are more processed (39).
Plus, processed honey may not be pure. Companies often mix it with other sugars, sweeteners, and fillers, like high fructose corn syrup.
Some people may prefer chopped garlic in place of whole garlic cloves.
Chopping or crushing garlic before using it helps to activate allicin — one of the plant compounds present in garlic that researchers believe has health benefits (
If you notice bubbles forming in your jar after a few days or weeks, don’t worry — this is a normal result of fermentation that may occur.
You can use a garlic and honey formula in many different ways.
It’s safe to have a spoonful or two of the honey each day. You can also add it to tea and other beverages.
Some people might use the honey as an ingredient in sauces, marinades, and salad dressings or simply drizzled over vegetables, grains, and proteins as part of a main dish.
It’s best to use a homemade garlic and honey formula within 1 month of making it.
You can prepare a honey and garlic formula at home in just a few steps. Consider using raw, unpasteurized honey and crushing or chopping the garlic instead of adding whole cloves. Try to use the mixture within 1 month of making it.
Though eating honey and garlic is generally considered safe, people with allergies or intolerances to either ingredient should avoid garlic and honey formulas.
Even without an allergy, you may experience adverse side effects after eating whole garlic cloves, including (
Additionally, you shouldn’t give honey to infants because there’s a risk they may get a foodborne illness known as botulism (
Botulism is a risk for people of all ages. However, some groups are more susceptible. Older adults and those with compromised immune systems may also want to avoid honey (
You can easily make garlic and honey formulas at home and use them many different ways. These formulas are safe for most, but infants and immunocompromised people should avoid them.
Garlic and honey are each rich in natural compounds that may provide a multitude of health benefits.
However, there’s not enough research on garlic and honey formulas to fully understand how they influence weight loss.
Because honey is rich in sugar, consuming too much too often might actually hinder your weight loss efforts.
So, a honey-garlic formula may be most effective when you use it in moderation and to replace other sweeteners in the diet.
Pairing a honey and garlic formula with regular exercise and a nutritious diet will have greater effects on weight loss than using a honey and garlic formula alone.
Last medically reviewed on March 3, 2021
This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.
Our team of licensed nutritionists and dietitians strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.
This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.
People have used garlic and honey as medicinal therapies for thousands of years (