Aim: This study was done to assess the impact of long-term consumption of table sugar and natural honey on the sex hormones and the biochemical implication of this differential effect. Materials and Methods: Fifty male and female rats (25 rats per sex) weighing 100–120 g were used for the experiment. They were housed in standard laboratory cages at room temperature (25°C), humidity of 50%–64%, and maintained on a 12:12 hour light/dark cycle in the animal house. After a 29-week period of feeding of equivalent quantities of natural honey and table sugar separately, body weight and plasma hormones were quantified in them. The diets were formulated to simulate average sugar composition of common sweetened foods and beverages. Results: The growth pattern observed showed that the diets significantly induced a gain in body weight with alteration of the serum levels of sex hormones. In the females, sugar-sweetened diets inhibited follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion at high dose but increased the levels of progesterone and estradiol while the consumption of honey-based diets inhibited progesterone and estradiol secretion but stimulated testosterone secretion at a low percentage. In female animals fed with high sugar concentration diet, the serum levels of LH and FSH were observed to be decreased with a decrease in the level of testosterone and an increase in estradiol level. The level of estradiol was found to be significantly higher in sugar-fed animals than the honey-fed groups in the females (p < 0.05). In the male, intake of the sugar-based diet increased the levels of LH, FSH, and testosterone and the consumption of honey at high concentration stimulated FSH and LH secretion while honey at low concentration stimulated testosterone secretion. Conclusion: This study has shown that excess and extended intake of table sugar alters the relationship between gonadotropins (LH, FSH), oestradiol, and testosterone in the female rats more than the Obudu natural honey. This exerts adverse effects on the reproductive function which is graver in females than the males.
honey, FSH, LH, testosterone, estradiol, sex hormones, sugar