Social media can teach us a lot. For example, that this double egg exists. Or that there’s a fun way to avoid penis shrinkage. However, it has its fair share of bad advice, and one trend on TikTok right now has medical experts – and possibly plumbers – worried about the potential consequences. The trend: frozen honey.
“I actually have seen the videos, a few times,” gastroenterologist and adjunct assistant professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York, Niket Sonpal, told Nexstar Media Group. “And the minute I saw it, my first thought was, 'That is a lot of sugar, that is a lot of honey, and that is a lot of diarrhea.’”
TikTok has been flooded recently with videos of users freezing plastic bottles of honey – the tag #frozenhoney has over 824 million views, while #FrozenHoneyChallenge has over111 million views. Once the honey is good and cold, the syrupy youths squeeze out a large chunk and take a tooth-achingly big bite.
But before you rush off to freeze a tub of delicious bee puke, there are a few things you should know.
“Think about it, you are eating nearly an entire popsicle of honey,” registered dietician Danielle Oldfield told Metro. “You wouldn’t normally eat an entire jar unfrozen.”
“Plus, most honey is not real honey. It’s actually sugar that is manufactured to look like honey,” she added. “They are processed substitutes.”
And as you may remember from, well, science, eating a shedload of sugar is not that good for you.
“Despite being ‘healthy’ honey is still a type of sugar, and still increases blood sugar,” Oldfield said. “Eating large amounts would spike sugar up very quickly causing the body to release large amounts of insulin followed by a substantial drop which leads to people feeling ill.”
This can lead to dizziness and nausea, she explained, as the fluctuating blood sugar levels mess with your metabolism. And yet, somehow, this isn’t the worst possibility the TikTokers are letting themselves in for. There’s also the small possibility of botulism – honey accounts for about one in every five cases of the potentially fatal illness.
There’s also the risk of something called fructose malabsorption. You may not have heard of fructose malabsorption, but it’s a surprisingly common condition. In fact, there’s a one-in-three chance you have it yourself. And if somebody with fructose malabsorption happens to eat a whole bunch of sugar in one go – say, by chomping down on a large frozen honey popsicle – the results can be… explosive.
“Apart from the obvious risks to the teeth of providing mouth bacteria with a sugary feast, and the resultant sensitivity of nibbling through such a mound of ice, the gut problems would bother me,” dentist Ollie Jupes told IFLScience. “Fructose intolerance is fairly common and can result in something called ‘osmotic diarrhea’.”
“Let’s face it, if you’re stuck on the lavatory for hours, how on Earth are you going to get to a toothbrush to clean the awful stuff off?”
Perhaps that warning explains some of the reactions captured on the social media platform.
“I feel sick now,” said one Tiktok user under a video of herself trying the trend.
“[Be right back] gotta go get my stomach pumped,” joked another.
So it’s up to you: if stomachache, nausea, toothache, botulism, and a whole bunch of diarrhea are worth the engagement and clicks – go for it. But if not, maybe sit this TikTok trend out.