Hibernation Diet Links Sleep and Obesity

The recent revolutionary Hibernation Diet created by a British pharmacist and a nutrition expert caught my attention by making a powerful connection between poor sleep and obesity. It advocates incorporating mild resistance exercise and a healthy, balanced, and wholesome diet void of highly refined, processed foods such as white bread, pizza, burgers, chocolates, beer and sugar, and suggests taking a generous spoonful or two of honey at night, either as a warm drink, a smoothie or straight from the jar.

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This fascinating honey hibernation diet promises to help us sleep and lose weight at the same time by using our biology and working with our bodies, rather than against them - "recovery biology". A new approach to fat metabolism, it requires no straining from aerobics exercise, no wearing out on a treadmill and no pounding it out in the gym.

Sounds too easy, too miraculous or too far-fetched to be believable?

Natural honey when taken prior to bed is believed to be able to fuel the liver, speed up fat-burning metabolism, ease stress hormones and help us get a better night's sleep. This oldest natural sweetener also contains a wide variety of vitamins, including vitamins B6, B1, B2 and B5, and minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc, anti-oxidants and amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

This is what I learnt about the Hibernation Diet: due to its 1:1 ratio of fructose to glucose, honey is the most ideal food that can provide a fuelling mechanism for the body at night, keeping blood sugar levels balanced and letting your recovery hormones get on with burning fat stores. This proposition that honey reduces blood glucose level was published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in April 2004. However, to most people, eating before bedtime, in this case eating sugars seems to defy common sense. Moreover, eating late at night is often discouraged by many people who believe that during bedtime, metabolic rate is low and the body cannot burn calories and would easily put on weight. Being a honey enthusiast, I naturally wanted to know more about how the hibernation diet works scientifically for the good of the body.

hibernation diet image I read that when sugars are absorbed from the gut into the blood they are first absorbed by the liver, which is the only organ in the human body with the fructose enzyme to process this sugar. In the liver the fructose is converted into glucose, stored as liver glycogen or human starch, and released only if and when blood glucose falls.

Fructose also triggers the glucose enzyme in the liver allowing the liver to take in as much glucose as it requires. This has been referred to as the Fructose Paradox. In other words, fructose lowers the Glycemic Index of glucose; fructose enters the liver and opens the gate for glucose entry preventing a rapid rise in blood glucose. This natural blood glucose regulator found in fruits, vegetables and honey, regulate blood glucose levels and stabilize blood glucose to maintain a regular supply of glucose to the brain.

Some simple questions that the hibernation diet expert asks to check if the liver has fuelled up well for the night:

- Do you wake regularly during the night?

- Do you have night sweats?

- Do you experience acid reflux during the night?

- Do you get up to go to the bathroom during the night?

- Do you feel nauseous in the early morning?

- Do you wake up exhausted?

- Do you have a dry throat in the morning?

- Do you get night cramps?

- Do you feel weak in the early morning?

If "yes" is the answer for any of these questions, it could mean that instead of burning fat and repairing muscles, your body has produced a stream of stress hormones while you've slept. The hibernation diet also goes on to explain how fructose in honey fuels the brain which is the most energy demanding organ, burning up to 20 times the fuel of any other cell in the body. We become exhausted after having to concentrate for a lengthy period. That's why we often hear that mental exhaustion is worse than physical exhaustion. The brain needs glucose to survive, however glucose occupies a large amount of storage space and there is no room in the brain. And the liver is the only organ that can both store and release glucose into the circulation. This is why looking after your liver glycogen amount by ensuring that the liver and the brain are well provided for both in the day and at night is so critical. Any fall in blood glucose is detrimental for the brain. The adrenal glands to be activated and the adrenal hormones if overproduced can lead to conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, poor immune function, depression and other distressing health problems.

What I find inspiring to read is that we burn an amazing 70% fat during rest, 35% during low level exercise, 20% during moderate exercise, and a low 10% during intense exercise. During sleep we should burn fats. However, if the liver is not fuelled prior to bed, we release stress hormones from the adrenal glands which raise our heart rate and blood pressure. These hormones instead of burning fat, degrade muscle and bone. The liver must deliver 10 grams of glucose every hour -- 6.5 to the brain, 3.5 to the kidneys and red blood cells. As the liver capacity is only 75 grams, most people go to bed with a depleted liver, activating the adrenal glands and do not recover. And if you do not recover you do not burn fats. The hibernation diet essentially aims to encourage people to reap the benefit of your body's own natural recovery system and optimize their recovery biology or fat burning biology, as explicitly termed by the author who believed that this diet is not only to a healthy weight but unlocking energy resources you never know you had. So, if you interested to have a more in-depth account of this honey diet, check out the book "The Hibernation Diet" in which you will find details of the suggested diet plans for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the different types of resistance exercises described in clear steps.
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A Honey Fan Wrote...

A regular visitor of Benefit of Honey wrote to me and shared about his positive experience in using the hibernation diet and I am excited to post it here for all(with his permission of course!):

"I have been practising the hibernation diet for twenty months, and I'm still getting a wonderful effect on weight loss (My Weight Chart). All I exactly have to do is to consume honey one hour before bed as well as to have healthy meals everyday. I usually take two tablespoonful of honey or three and literally "it works while I sleep". I weighed 85.6kg at the beginning of November in 2006 when I began this diet. After twenty months, my weight hovers around 70kg these days. I lost about 16kg without doing any exercises in only twenty months! It's amazing! In addition it helps me get up immediately in next morning by taking honey before bed. Fueling the liver with honey before bed is really beneficial. Also, I happened to take a blood test half a year before I started the diet, the amount of triglyceride or neutral fat in the blood was 585mg/dL. It was a shocking value. And recently I took a blood test again. The result showed that the amount of neutral fat has drastically dropped to 157mg/dL in only two years! I believe it is an effect of the hibernation diet.

When it comes to the meals, I usually have a slice of toast, a vegetable salad, and of course honey as a toast spread almost every morning. And for dinner I often have the Japanese style meal, which may somewhat be traditional, mainly rice, vegetables, fish, tofu and so on.

Among other benefits, I was able to integrate this diet very easily and comfortably as part of my lifestlye and the best thing is I could actually continue with the diet for so long. What I do to lose weight and stay healthy is to just consume honey before bed!"

Fumi, Japan

Final Note:

The honey hibernation diet is neither a mystical cure nor hype. Read the book to get a more in-depth understanding on the science behind the hibernation diet. The rationale for eating honey before bedtime has much to do with liver care and our fat metabolism during sleep. This write-up is not suggesting honey as a weight loss panacea (which does not exist). The last thing I want to do is to get on the nerves of those who for some reasons have gained no benefits and concluded it as a bunch of hoopla. If you think you have tried it hard enough but to no effect, move on folks. I too don't have an answer. What I do know is many have experienced weight loss as one of the positive "side effects" over time (next to sleeping better, better general health and immunity). The honey diet is not intended as a magic diet or one-time programme, but a way of life based on good science, followed in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle to derive far reaching health benefits.

More Related Articles

1) How the Hibernation Diet works for reducing weight: How to Sleep and Lose Weight at the Same Time?

2) The Honey Revolution by Dr Ron Fessenden crushes well-known myths and theories about dieting: Health and Nutrition: 5 Jolting Findings.

3) How to use honey to fuel your liver for the night, burn body fats when you sleep and, speed up fat metabolism: Honey Diet for Hibernation.

4) Let your child sleep optimally and enjoy great physiological recovery at night for better health, immunity and memory: Hibernation Honey for Kids.

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        Dominico Orolfo, Yemen     20/06/2016 @02:02:26

: Hi my name is Dom, at first I was quite a bit doubtful about the magnificent effect of honey. Im currently living here in Yemen where honey is what they called "liquid gold". Someone askéd me to buy honey and I was convinced to try some. After a week I noticed that my weight decreased, I become more active at work, I feel I'm younger 5 years back. I bought the type of honey which is the most expensive one. It's name is "sidir honey" with lots of medical benefits it gives once you take it. Try to order this type of honey. I assure you it's the best type of honey.

        Ruth, Benefits of Honey     07/06/2016 @ 09:43:09

AL, raw honey is most ideal, any floral varietal, single varietal or multi/blended varietals. We are not aware of any concerns related to taking specific types of honey during a particular season.

        AL Hong, Hong Kong     06/06/2016 @05:07:28

Hi, is there any preferred or specific name of honey that can be used for the hibernation diet, which you can easily find in Asian country, because I was told that there are some honey that are produced in summer or winter and are not suitable to take in a different season. Are there any honey that I can take during the whole year and what are there names so I can buy them on the supermarket. Right now I just bought an Eucalyptus honey. Is this good to take for the both the hibernation diet and the morning cinnamon honey drink? Thanks.

        Mary, United States     11/05/2016 @12:32:03

I found a tablespoon honey before bed helps me sleep more soundly. It got rid of a cold sore in half the time this past winter. We used to eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches as a child.

        Joann Labastida, The Philippines     17/03/2016 @23:58:32

I start using honey for 2 week before going to bed, now I lost 2 lbs. and still continuing. I love it.

        Bill Wetherholt, United States      16/03/2016 @22:18:13

I have been a fan of honey for a very long time. Had a bad hip, did the vinegar & honey with water two time a day for 5 or 6 wks and I was walking from the parking lot into the plant where I work and I told my son who was walking with me,"hemy hip isn't hurting anymore. I believe it was the honey and vinegar and no one will convince me other wise.So, tonight I will do the spoon full of honey at bedtime regularly and maybe in a few months I'll lose the 10 # I have been trying without success.

        Rwothomio Innosent, Uganda     23/01/2016 @04:04:39

I want to learn more so that I can be able to cure myself naturally.

        Rafiq Abdul-Wakil, Saudi Arabia     15/12/2015 @01:37:59

I want to lose weight.

        Wagulisiiye Singa Timothy, Uganda     04/11/2015 @15:25:36

Hibernation Diet boosts the human body systems.In young children above 4 years, it aids brain development.

        Stephanie Bugeja, Australia     24/10/2015 @17:54:44

I'm currently 96 kg and 21 and I'm really short. I've had enough of feeling crap looking crap and always waking up tired sick and exhausted I'm going to start this today so I am going to do lemon honey water in the morning before I eat and 3 tablespoons at night and see how I go hopefully this can kickstart me losing the weight.

        Benedicta Deegbe, Ghana     29/09/2015 @03:16:35

I am glad I found this website and I have drinking living the honey and cinnamon in warm water every morning on the empty stomach before my breakfast . I do have pains and stiff knee hope it will work for me because my weight is 127kg

        Chris Ndubuisi, Cameroon     07/08/2015 @17:58:18

Taken honeybefore bed really help me recover fast from a long time illness. I was taken it just that I love to take it not that I knew it will help my red blood cells to fight the illness. I just notice that when I started taken honey I sleep better and wake up in the morning stressless. Then I started to search the. Work or important of honey in human body. It is really amazing.

        Abdulkareem Haruna, Nigeria     29/06/2015 @05:27:56

I am very glad I came upon your website. I have been drinking two 14 oz glasses of apple cider vinegar since April. It appears the missing item was honey. I will be getting my hands on some raw honey and take it with my water, 2 tsp of Apple cider vinegar, and 2 tsp of honey after a large meal and at night I will begin taking 2 tbl spoons of raw honey, bed time. I read via the science behind how the honey (at night) is stored in our fat cells and utilized as energy while we sleep. And as a result we lose weight. I will share my result within a two-week period. God Bless.

        F. Terry Weeks, United States     11/06/2015 @17:23:41

I am very glad I came upon your website. I have been drinking two 14 oz glasses of apple cider vinegar since April. It appears the missing item was honey. I will be getting my hands on some raw honey and take it with my water, 2 tsp of Apple cider vinegar, and 2 tsp of honey after a large meal and at night I will begin taking 2 tbl spoons of raw honey, bed time. I read via the science behind how the honey (at night) is stored in our fat cells and utilized as energy while we sleep. And as a result we lose weight. I will to ou my result within a two=wekk period. God Bless.

        Kevin Lessard, United States     05/06/2015 @08:46:35

I tried taking honey with my aloe vera juice last night and today I weighed 2 lbs less then yesterday!

        Polina, Greece     30/05/2015 @15:39:27

The ancient Greeks believed that honey was the nectar of the Gods and the elixir of longevity. Even today, most Greeks consume at least two cups of yogurt with one tablespoon (not teaspoon) of high quality honey including walnuts - one after a large meal and another before bedtime. It works wonders! And all the hype about avoiding honey when on a candida therapy is simply misinformation. Honey is anti-fungal so it cannot worsen candida symptoms.

        Cindelyn Pacis, The Philippines     23/04/2015 @ 10:10:48

Hi, this is my first night drinking honey before going to bed. I'm hoping this will really help reduced my fats...Anyways I'm having fun reading your sites.

        Andréia Stelet, Brazil     13/04/2015 @ 18:02:39

I have been drinking a mix of warm water first thing in the morning before breakfast, with a 30 min interval, and also before lunch. I have a terribly bad sleep and have been fighting obesity for many years. I already have a balanced nutrition with very few results. Never had diabetes or high cholesterol, benefits from my diet. Last night I had the best night in years. What did I change? I had a table spoon of honey and sprinkled some cinnamon over it. Then I decided to read about, so surprised I was with it and came to your page. I will report the development after a few weeks since I don't intend to stop doing it after having a wonderful night of sleep. Thanks!

        Sandeep Ellawala, Sri Lanka     16/03/2015 @ 22:08:18

I tried Hibernation Diet a couple of years back for about 6 months when I was under a lot of stress trying to balance my studies, a demanding job, and a bad relationship. My intention was rather on stress release rather than loosing weight. I remember getting good sleep and relieved stress while I was trying this. I cannot remember the exact reason why I lost touch with it. But I am going to start again. This time the intention is stress release as well as weight loss.

        William Wetherholt, United States     03/03/2015 @ 17:22:36

I'm familiar with the honey at bedtime, although I didn't maintain that, also the honey & vinegar concoction, now I can attest to its benefits on a personal note. I had pain in my hip that put restrictions on my walking. I went on the Honey/vinegar and 8 oz of water. I did that for about 5 wks, then I noticed no more pain when I walked any distance or length of time on my feet. So, I'm going to try this honey with lime or lemon and a glass of warm water in the morning and two spoons of honey an hour before bedding down for the night.

        Justin Weeks, United States     08/01/2015 @ 22:57:32

I recently read an article about honey and cinnamon as a great way to prevent all kinds of sicknesses and to help with weight loss and mental sharpness. I am currently at 230 pounds 5 foot 5 inches tall and going to college and having trouble retaining information, trouble waking up, trouble focusing, and trouble losing weight I am really hoping that the hibernation diet mixed with green tea and cinnamon will help with most of my problems and to help lead a healthier life.

        Suzan Raganya, South Africa     26/11/2014 @ 05:20:30

I have read about the hibernation diet and I believe that it can work for me. The science behind it makes a lot of sense to me. I want to start experimenting with this special diet for the benefit of losing weight in a long run. Thank you.

        Ruth, Benefits of Honey     10/11/2014 @ 09:50:31

Catherine, direct from the spoon or mixed with water is fine.

        Catherine, United States     04/11/2014 @ 12:46:47

How is the tablespoon of honey taken? Do you mix, or just eat (swallow) from the spoon?

        Patty Bee, United States     01/11/2014 @ 15:59:31

I just bought some raw honey at a local roadside stand. I was looking up benefits of honey and came across this page. I will start taking 1 tbsp of honey a half hour to an hour before bed and will post back as I notice changes or not.

        Ruth, Benefits of Honey     27/10/2014 @ 15:29:01

Niharika, based on the Hibernation Diet recommendation, honey alone before bedtime is recommended.

        Niharika Rao, India     24/10/2014 @ 10:59:48

Do we need to take only honey before bed or honey and cinnamon drink to burn fat while we sleep?

        Mohammed Wahiduzzaman, Saudi Arabia     24/09/2014 @ 02:34:54

I am going to start it from today onwards and expecting to express my experience after few days.

        Ruth, Benefits of Honey     12/09/2014 @ 12:12:31

Homeopathy Sux, read Mike McInnes' The Honey Diet and Dr Ron Fessenden's The Honey Revolution. You can get them from Amazon. A couple of related links:
The Honey Diet Book
Honey Diet for Hibernation

Chapter three of The Honey Revolution explains how the way honey metabolises and affects the body is different from sucrose and HFCS. There is something superior in honey that enables the liver to metabolise fructose in a way that is not found in other refined sweeteners. The idea of taking 1 tbsp of honey (half to one hour) before bedtime has a lot to do with liver health (an area that has been much neglected) which is linked to the metabolism of fats during recovery mode. It is not a one-time program but a great lifestyle recommendation for those who are looking for better health and body immunity. It's not a diet that guarantees weight loss, but many people have experienced the ease of losing weight as one of the "side effects" from the diet (next to sleeping better, better general health and immunity) in a few weeks or months.

        Bobby Boy Homeopathy Sux, United States     11/09/2014 @ 16:05:22

Other than the addition of eating honey every night, the Hibernation Diet's suggested eating plans and training suggestions are very similar to those of other healthy eating diets, so there is no real way to tell whether it's the honey or the healthy eating and exercise that might cause you to lose weight. While honey is a nutritious food, containing significant amounts of vitamins B1, B3, B5 and B6 as well as high levels of L-tryptofan, eating sugar late at night could be inappropriate for diabetics. There is no scientific proof the hibernation diet works. Read more : http://www.ehow.com/facts_7322880_hibernation-diet-work_.html

        Mitesh, India     14/07/2014 @ 23:23:47

This is such a good remedy, I feel good after using this. Now I get sound sleep. Thanks for providing good remedy information.

        Mary McCann, Ireland     04/06/2014 @ 06:31:59

I have just decided to try this method. I have bees ,they are not fed sugar, the honey from them is without match. I will report back.

        Hasan, Pakistan     25/05/2014 @ 14:50:03

I'm definitely going to try this remedy very soon.

End of "Hibernation Diet Links Sleep and Obesity", back to "Health Benefits of Honey"

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