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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.


hibernation honey diet image 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.

Post Your Experience with the Hibernation Diet Here.

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Postings on The Hibernation Diet

Note: Please give some time for your post to appear as there is a monitoring of posts to weed spams out of the system. Only posts relevant to the topic will be published. Thank you!

        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.


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.




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

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