Viral trends pop up on social media almost every day, but a new one has raised some red flags among health experts — the #frozenhoney challenge.
TikTokers have swarmed their feeds with videos of putting honey in an empty bottle, freezing it and then pushing the liquid-turned-jelly out of the bottle and taking a bite.
The #frozenhoney hashtag has been viewed over 855 million times on TikTok, and some users have added corn syrup, food coloring and even candy to make it more “satisfying.”
But Dana Hunnes, a professor at the University of California’s Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health, said one of the biggest concerns is the concentrated sugar and carbohydrates found in honey.
“Depending on how much you’re taking in at one time, it could make you sick because it would pull so much water into the digestive tract that you could have diarrhea,” Hunnes told USA TODAY.
She said people already consume too much sugar and carbohydrates in their diet and does not recommend users following a trend that requires a lot of insulin being pumped out at one time, taxing the pancreas.
Trends on social media have caused some users to injure themselves in the past, and at other times have resulted in death.
In April, a 12-year-old boy from Oklahoma died after reports said he participated in a “blackout challenge,” a trend at the time where TikTok users choked themselves until they lost consciousness.
The level of peer presence on social media and how it affects adolescents has come into question as more trends continue to circulate online.
“These kids are being influenced at a level that’s beyond their conscious awareness,” Mitchell Prinstein, chief science officer at the American Psychological Association said.
Over the years, Hunnes has seen trends on social media involving foods that were detrimental to their health like the cinnamon challenge, where people snorted or inhaled the spice that could have damaged their lungs and throat.
She doesn’t recommend following up on food trends or participating in any eating contests, hot dogs included.
“We have so many reasons to never overconsume anything,” Hunnes said.