Research sponsored by the US National Honey Board has shown that honey is an effective energy producer for athletes looking for an alternative to other forms of carbohydrate.

IMAGINutrition reported on Monday that three clinical trials on the use of honey by athletes were conducted at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory. Lead researcher Dr Richard Kreider explained: "We wanted to see if honey would be a good source of carbohydrate for athletes in comparison to other forms of carbohydrate. Honey did as well or better in several areas."

All three trials were double blind and placebo-controlled, the researchers found that honey could provide a convenient energy boost for athletes because of its low glycemic index.

Kreider concluded: "Our first study suggested honey could operate as a 'time released' muscle fuel for exercising muscles. Our second experiment suggested that honey would be a good carbohydrate source to replenish muscles. However, our last study convinced us that honey can improve endurance exercise capacity."