Frozen honey is the latest TikTok trend, but can it make you sick?
When we think of honey, we think of cold-weather comforts — a drizzle on a steaming bowl of oatmeal or a spoonful in a hot cup of tea. Does honey have a place in the warm weather? According to TikTok, yes — in “frozen” form.
It’s a trend that’s going viral this summer for its chilly sweetness: Videos under the hashtag #FrozenHoney have over 826 million collective views.
Davey RZ, one of the first TikTokers to post about the treat, said he was struck with the idea to freeze honey in a bottle and eat it like a popsicle when he came across a video of someone eating a jelly-like frozen substance squeezed from a bottle.
“I tried to look for that recipe and ingredients but I could never find it anywhere,” he told me. “There were no YouTube videos on the recipe and nothing was showing up when I was Googling it.”
The rest … is sweet history.
“I keep my honey in the fridge,” he said. “So when I tried squeezing it out to try and make the jelly, I noticed it had the same effect I saw on YouTube. I threw the bottle of honey in the freezer and boom — I discovered the secret to making frozen honey jelly.”
And this “frozen honey jelly” has boomed across TikTok. Across the app, there are videos of different variations on the trend, from vibrant versions dyed with food coloring to sweet treats made by switching out honey for corn syrup and adding flavoring like powdered drink mix.
But Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, told NBC News there are some risks to trying the sweet trend.
“Honey is great, but having it in small amounts to sweeten is really a healthy relationship with food,” said Kirkpatrick. “Using it to get a lot of followers and a lot of attention and having it in excess amounts is crazy.”
According to the experts interviewed by NBC News, consuming high amounts of honey can lead to diarrhea, stomach cramping, bloating and other adverse effects.
Kirkpatrick said about 1 in 3 people have dietary fructose intolerance, also called fructose malabsorption, which means the cells in the intestines don’t absorb fructose the way they should, causing gastrointestinal distress.
There’s also a small risk of botulism for those who try the trend with raw honey, not to mention the possibility that the sticky substance could hurt people’s teeth, cause cavities and pull out fillings.
Against my better judgment, I decided to try the “frozen” honey trend at home, adding honey straight from my bear squeeze bottle to a small plastic water bottle and tossing it in the freezer for a few hours.
When it was time to squeeze the honey up from the bottle, I was surprised at how hard it was to get the cold, sticky substance moving upward.
“You have to bang it on the counter to loosen it up,” said my tween daughter, who has apparently been studying the trend on TikTok for weeks.
She was right: Once I gave the bottle a few taps on my countertop, it was much easier to squeeze.
I must admit, once I bit into the frozen honey, I … didn’t get it? It was cold honey, and not completely frozen, just thicker and more chilled.
I’m happy to report that I didn’t experience any tummy troubles due to my test run, but I probably won’t be making it again. You can thank me for trying it so you don’t have to.
EDITOR’S NOTE (Aug. 9, 2021, 1:52 p.m. EST): This article has been updated with information about the health risks of frozen honey.