The Hibernation Diet is an interesting book that features a honey-based diet at its core. This diet promises better sleep, weight loss, and increased energy achieved via “recovery biology.” The author claims that by focusing on the body’s recovery at night, weight loss results can be maximized. Theoretically, this can be achieved by eating a couple tablespoons of honey right before bed and completing a 15 minute exercise regimen 3 times per week.
Does losing weight by eating honey and working out 45 minutes a week sound too good to be true? Let’s talk about how this diet works...
How does it work?
McInnes, the author of The Hibernation Diet, states that restless sleep is a key driver of the current obesity epidemic. A former pharmacist, Mike spends much of his time studying sports nutrition, and specifically, energy partition and selection.
In a 2014 interview, McInnes remarks that although sleep is often thought of as a low-energy consumption period for the body, deep REM sleep cycles are high-energy burning times. However, inadequately-fueled energy stores in the liver (for the brain’s nightly REM activity) result in the body releasing both stress hormones - like cortisol, and orexigenic hormones - which activate hunger signals and disrupt deep sleep.
So, what’s his recommendation to optimally fuel up the liver? Honey. While he believes fruit and vegetables can also provide value if eaten right before bed, he calls honey the gold standard due to the amount of nutrients present in honey.
“Fruits are unlike honey because honey contains an army of nutrients, bioflavonoids, organic acids and others that ensure honey is not metabolized in the same way as refined sugars, which have none of these nutrients” - Mike McInnes
To maximize the benefits of this diet, ensure your honey is both raw and unfiltered. The Hibernation Diet does not witness the same results with pasteurized honey, which has been heated and removed of its unique set of nutrients.
3 Reasons to Consider Trying the Hibernation Diet
- Burn Fat:
Honey is comprised of a 1:1 ratio of fructose and glucose. What does that mean? It means that honey provides fuel for your body while you sleep (specifically, fructose for your liver and glucose to help to regulate your blood sugar levels). This allows your recovery and growth hormones, like somatotropin, to burn fat stores while you enjoy a restful slumber. Eating honey before bed for weight loss is an easy way to get your body on a healthy fat-burning cycle.
- Sleep Easy:
Eating honey right before bed eases the amount of cortisol fluttering throughout your body, which promotes a better night of restful sleep. Are you someone that wakes up sporadically all night long? Do you have night sweats or acid reflux that causes you pain? If you answered yes, that means your body is enduring stress while you try to sleep. By consuming honey right before bed, your body will be able to relax and focus on fueling your brain, burning calories, and replenishing the vitamins and minerals you need to be productive the next day.
- Wake Up Energized:
Though you may be sleeping while you reap the benefits of the hibernation diet, you can still store the vitamins and minerals you need to wake up refreshed and filled with energy for the day ahead. Raw honey contains vitamins B6, B1, B2, and B5, plus minerals like copper, iron, calcium, magnesium phosphorous, potassium zinc, sodium, antioxidants, and amino acids to power your body forward all day long.
Starting a Hibernation Diet
To start a hibernation diet, you can simply eat 2 tablespoons of raw honey before heading to bed, or mix/chase that amount of raw honey with a glass of cold to room temperature water. Some scientists argue in order to complement the diet, you should consider a fruit-based breakfast. This combination will help to reap the maximum benefits.
While infants 1 and under should never consume raw honey, everyone else should consider the hibernation diet a safe and natural approach to try to lose weight, get a quality night’s sleep, and realize improved energy levels.