TikTok seems to be the home base for all sorts of unique food trends these days — who could forget the "sour patch grapes" fad? Now there's a new craze involving honey that's taking over the viral video app. And while it may appear to be chockfull of sweetness, some TikTokers have alleged that they dealt with seriously unpleasant digestive issues as a result.
But, let's back up a bit. If you've been browsing through TikTok lately, you may have come across the frozen honey trend (or frozen honey challenge), which, as the name suggests, involves putting honey in a freezer, either stored in its original jar, a plastic water bottle, or silicone molds. Once frozen for a few hours — some TikTokers also let the honey freeze overnight — users then document themselves taking a big old chunk to snack on, with the noise making for an endlessly satisfying ASMR sensation. Although this may sound like a tasty treat — some TikTok users have mixed their concoctions with corn syrup to make the honey less dense — a number of individuals have complained of digestive issues that sound anything but sweet. (Related: What Is ASMR and Why Should You Try It for Relaxation?)
For instance, TikTok user @Lalaleluu recently tried frozen honey with a warning in the caption that read, "Note to self: Don't eat three mouthfuls of honey in the morning. It will cause an urgent bowel movement." (Related: How to Deal with Stomach Pain and Gas (Because You Know That Uncomfortable Feeling)
Another TikToker, @thenostalgiaqueen, also gave the frozen honey trend a whirl and documented the process and her reaction in a video. The user, who identifies as Millie, felt "sick" for about 10 minutes and had a stomach ache for about 20 minutes after eating just a little frozen honey. "I wouldn't try the frozen honey trend," said Millie in a TikTok video. And yet another user named @averycyrus tried several different flavors of frozen honey, joking in a video's caption, "Brb gotta go get my stomach pumped 🤪." FTR: A follow-up video was also posted to her page, sans honey, using maple syrup and chocolate syrup instead. (Related: 'Sour Patch Grapes' Are the 3-Ingredient Snack TikTokers Swear Is Like Candy)
So, not to get all Oprah "what is the truth dot gif," but really, what is the truth when it comes to this trend? Christy Harrison, R.D., host of the Food Psych podcast and author of Anti-Diet, says that while the frozen honey trend is probably fine to try, eating too much might lead to the aforementioned gastrointestinal issues some TikTokers are reporting.
"I wouldn't say it's unsafe necessarily, and I'd hate to demonize any food — eating frozen honey can certainly be fun and delicious," says Harrison. "It's kind of like DIY honey candy, and I definitely see the appeal, but if you eat a large amount of it in one sitting, it's probably not going to feel great — the same as eating any large amount of candy. It might give you a stomach ache or other GI issues, and it can cause a fairly quick rise in blood sugar that might lead to a feeling of 'crashing' later (and that blood-sugar spike could certainly be concerning if you have diabetes)." (Related: "Nature's Cereal" Is the Fruity Breakfast Trend That's Taking Over TikTok)
Harrison says consuming a large amount of honey in one sitting can also cause diarrhea for some people. Additionally, "honey can cause botulism (a rare but serious, potentially fatal infection) in children under the age of one, so definitely don't try this trend on your baby," she says.
Wondering how something seemingly as harmless as frozen honey could lead to diarrhea? "Eating a lot of certain types of sugars or sugar alcohols in one sitting can cause what's called osmotic diarrhea, which happens when unabsorbed sugar remains in the intestines, causing them to draw in lots of extra water to balance it out," says Harrison, noting, "that inability to absorb all the sugars can cause bloating and cramping as well."
To be clear, "this wouldn't necessarily happen to most people if they ate a relatively small amount of frozen honey (equivalent to the amount of candy you might normally eat in one sitting), but there have been reports of people eating a fifth or more of a bottle of honey at a time, which might tip you over into having uncomfortable symptoms," say adds.
As with anything else, it seems frozen honey is pretty safe as long as if you're trying it in small amounts. "I wouldn't worry too much unless you have diabetes, though typically even people with diabetes can eat some amount of sugary food without driving their blood sugar too high," says Harrison. "In my view, a more helpful approach is listening to your body and learning to recognize the signs that you're satisfied (and if you have diabetes, seeing how that corresponds to your blood-sugar readings)." (Related: Trampoline Gymnast Charlotte Drury Opens Up About Her New Diabetes Diagnosis Just Before the Tokyo Olympics)
There's also a potential risk to your teeth. Given frozen honey is akin to eating a super chewy candy, it could be rough on tooth enamel, for those with fillings, or even the overall well-being of your chompers, if you're eating too thick and sticky of a substance. But overall, Harrison says she doesn't "see it having any long-term side effects if you're just eating it as a tasty dessert on a hot day, and listening to your body to tell you when you've had enough. But if you're feeling compelled to eat more of it than you want for clicks and likes, or if you're using it to deliberately give yourself diarrhea and engage in laxative abuse, that could definitely be harmful to your relationship with food."
TBH, "food-related trends on TikTok are often harmful (e.g. 'what I eat in a day,' 'dry scooping'), and compared to some others this one actually seems relatively tame to me," admits Harrison. "At least the frozen honey trend isn't a restrictive diet tip like many of these trends." The TL;DR; if you've got extra honey on hand, drizzling it on your snack or breakfast of choice might be a gentler — and equally tasty — way to enjoy some of its signature sweetness without requiring an immediate bathroom break.


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