talkhealth meets... Mike McInnes

You'd be pushed to find a house without a pot of honey in the store cupboard. But, have you ever considered the health benefits of the golden gloop? 

Mike McInnes is an expert in all things honey for health after carrying out extensive research in the area. From protecting the brain to supplying your body with the right fuel, the benefits of honey are often misunderstood, or neglected all together. 

Before his Expert Interview, Mike answered our quick-fire questions...

Your background is in sports nutrition and in pharmacies, when did you realise the power of honey for health? 

My interest in honey began in my pharmacy years when I took up the study of sports nutrition. I realised that sport science was ‘liver blind’ and ignored the role of the liver (the brain’s only reserve fuel store) during exercise. My son and I developed a fuel that would replenish the liver (fructose is liver specific) and honey was the fuel we used (honey is a balance of fructose and glucose plus trehalose – this is two glucose molecules bonded).

We had terrific results – we were ridiculed in sport science quarters because earlier studies on fructose alone missed the balance. Soon however, they absorbed our ideas and now every sport energy fuel on the planet contains fructose. I took up the study of honey and its metabolism and although honey was regarded as the same as refined sugars in the same quantity in the western scientific canon other studies around the world told a very different story – they were published in western peer reviewed journals – and ignored.

Other than as an alternative to sugars, why is honey so good for our health? 

Honey is the most potent antidiabetic and neuroprotective brain fuel known to man. This is now abundantly clear to any open-minded researcher. The West is finally waking up – Canadians have found that honey protects the heart beautifully and a Polish study shows that honey opposes all the insults that result from a stoke that causes Alzheimer’s disease. 

Each of these studies confirm that the ancient beneficial molecules that the honeybee has sourced from 100 million years of coevolution with wildflowers (known as bioflavonoids and polyphenols) and they protect both the brain and the heart from refined sugar degradation. This protection is prevention – not treatment.

Why has the power of honey gone unnoticed by policy leaders? 

An American physician (Clinton Jarvis) published a book on honey in 1958 that said without scientific evidence that honey could cure a variety of diseases. It was a best seller, but the FDA seized and destroyed the book in 1960. From then until now, no academic or health professional would say that honey was different to refined sugars in the same quantity. Around 2000 new studies emerged around the world proving that honey bioflavonoids oppose every insult that refined sugars inflict on the human brain and body.

There are ongoing campaigns to save the bees, where do you stand on this? 

I am in favour of every effort to save the bees. I regard honey as the future fuel of human cognition – we will have to expand production to meet demand. This may cause problems for other pollinating insects – so we must find ways to protect all pollinating insects. There could be a future of honeybees pollinating crops in indoor vertical farming, thus not competing with other pollinating insects.

What affects do sugars have on our bodies that honey doesn't? 

Refined sugars in excess consumption are the most toxic food/fuel in any cell in the human organism. Excess consumption of refined sugars leads to obesity, diabetes type 2, Alzheimer’s disease and autism spectrum disorder. Each of these conditions exploded in incidence when the health institutions/government blamed fats for metabolic disorders. Fats were removed from foods and replaced with refined sugars – the result has been a global catastrophe. If we replace refined sugars in food and drink with honey, we may over time prevent these diseases.

What are your favourite ways to implement honey into health routines?

1. Begin with a tablespoon of honey before bed in a drink such as fruit tea. This provides the brain reserve (liver) with the fuel required to supply it overnight which prevents the brain from activating nocturnal stress which increases the risk of obesity, diabetes type 2 and Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Replenish the liver in the morning with honey – this avoids morning diabetes resulting from overnight stress physiology, known as the ‘dawn phenomenon’. 

3. Throw out the sugar bowl and never add refined sugar to tea or coffee – if you do so you are cooking and digesting your brain and degrading your cognition. Honey protects the brain from the high levels of sugar it contains and therefore enhances human cognition. 

4. If you exercise use honey as fuel before, during and after exercise. Refined sugars in sport drinks are contributing to exercise-induced motor neurone disease in athletes – six times the level of the general population.


Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.

Information written by the talkhealth team

Last revised: 23 November 2023
Next review: 23 November 2026